A chiropractor is also called a doctor of the spine. While this is a helpful descriptor, it might convey the false impression that chiropractors can’t help with other areas of pain. Dr. Casselman has an array of experience helping patients with pain beyond the back and neck, including knee pain. If you struggle with chronic or severe knee pain, come see us at Pinnacle Chiropractic in Highlands Ranch, and in the meantime, here are six knee exercises to help strengthen your knees.
What You Knee-d to Know
First things first, let’s have a few words on knees. The knee is one of the body’s largest joints. The ligaments of the joint connect the tibia in the shin and the femur in the thigh, and tendons connect corresponding muscles. The patella—the kneecap—is a round bone that protects the joint. Knee-strengthening exercises focus on strengthening the leg muscles around the knee itself since there are no muscles within the joint. Strong leg muscles above and below the knee can better support your knees.
Knee pain is common in athletes (especially those who play high-impact sports) and increases in frequency as people age. Often, weakness in or injury to the calves, quads, glutes, or hips is the underlying cause of knee pain. Stronger leg muscles can relieve pressure and strain on your knees, allowing you to be more active and experience less pain.
Knee Exercises That Can Be Done at Home
The knee exercises listed below are general suggestions, so not all of them may not be right for you. If you experience pain during any of these exercises, stop and seek professional help in your journey to strengthen your knees.
Knee Exercise #1: Quadriceps Lifts
We start with exercises that can be done from a chair. Sit up straight with both feet flat on the floor and engage your core. Extend one leg in front of you, toes pointing upward. As you can, raise your thigh off the chair slightly then lower it. Repeat the lift a few times before switching to the other leg.
Knee Exercise #2: Hamstring Stretches
Your hamstrings are the group of muscles at the back of your thighs. They can be engaged even when you are lying down. Lie on the floor, your back flat against the surface (this is where exercise mats are helpful), and straighten both legs, also against the floor. Engaging your core and hamstrings, lift one leg toward your chest. Wrapping your hands behind your thigh can help to pull the leg up. Pull until you feel a slight stretch but not pain. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat the process 2-3 times for both legs.
Knee Exercise #3: Calf Raises
Calf raises are done by standing straight, legs about shoulder width apart and toes facing forward, and gradually raising up on both toes. Gently return to having your feet flat on the floor, then repeat several times. To adjust which muscles are engaged, do some lifts with your toes facing either in toward each other or outward at an angle.
Knee Exercise #4: Step-ups
Step-ups are good for strengthening quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors. For this exercise, you will need a sturdy platform or a stair step. Step up on the platform with one foot, your knee at a 90° angle, then step up with the other foot. Step down again, also one foot at a time. Do 30 or so repetitions for each foot.
Knee Exercise #5: Chair Squats
To strengthen your hamstrings, stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and facing forward. Raising your arms for balance, squat as though you were going to sit down. If you feel pain in your knees, do not squat all the way down: try about 10 inches. Do not let your knees pass over your toes. Hold the squat for bursts of 10 ten seconds, and repeat in several sets.
Knee Exercise #6: Side Leg Raises
Leg raises are done by standing straight and lifting each leg to the side in turn. You can hold onto a chair for balance. Keep the knee of the lifted leg slightly bent and hold it up for a few seconds. Do this 10 to 15 times on each side in several sets.
Knee-d Some Help?
These knee exercises will help to strengthen the muscles in your leg and reduce knee pain, but a chiropractor can help diagnose and treat real underlying knee conditions. Chiropractic care can further relieve pressure around the knee by treating sources of swelling. If you experience clicking in your knee, we may be able to do something about that too.
You don’t need to wait for your knee pain to become unbearable before you visit a chiropractor For more tailored care and knee exercises, come see us at Pinnacle chiropractic.