Let’s face it, knee pain is no fun. You feel it when you are doing the most basic, unavoidable daily actions, like standing up from a sitting position or walking down the stairs. Knee pain can even make exercise feel impossible.
The good thing is, there are physical activities that can help. One of these exercises is stretching. Not only will stretching improve your flexibility and overall fitness, it will also help relieve your knee pain by loosening the muscles around the knee.
Here are three leg moves that are ideal for anyone with knee pain.
Supine hamstring stretch
A great stretch for anyone with knee pain is the supine hamstring stretch. Start by lying on your back and bend both of your legs in 45 degree angle. If that hurts or if your are wearing knee pads that restrict your movement, then bend your knees to a degree that is comfortable. Continue by lifting one of your legs up and angle your foot so it is parallel to the ceiling. You can modify this by leaving the lifted leg slightly bent at the knee.
Place your hands behind your thigh and below your knee. Use towel for assistance if you can’t reach that with your hands. Slowly pull the leg towards you until you feel a stretch in your leg muscles, hold the position for about 30 seconds or so. Return your leg to the bent position and repeat on your other leg. Do about 2 or 3 repetitions with each leg.
Chair Knee Extension
Another stretch that you can do for knee pain is the chair knee extension. This targets your knee and will help you regain the ability to fully straighten your knee after an injury or help to keep full range of motion.
Start by sitting on a chair, back straight, and place the heel of one of your legs on a stool or second chair in front of you with your knee slightly bent and your toes pointing to the ceiling. Then slowly straighten that leg, keeping your muscles relaxed, until you feel a stretch at the back of your knee. Hold the position for a few seconds and then relax your knee back in the bent position.
If it hurts to fully straighten your knee, start with a slight bend in your leg then work up to full extension. Do 10 to 12 reps with each leg.
Wall Calf Stretch
Calf stretches are great for stretching your calf muscles while simultaneously strengthening your knees banishing the knee pain once and for all. Stand 2 feet away from a wall and place your hands on the wall. This will help with balance and deepening the stretch. Place the ball of your foot against the wall, heel on the floor (you may need to bend your back leg if your calf is tight). Gently straighten your back leg until you begin to lean into the wall. You should feel a stretch in the calf of the leg that is against the wall.
Hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds. When you’re ready, ease back into standing straight. Make sure you don’t pulse while you are leaning into the wall and that you are coming in and out of the stretch slowly. Repeat the same with the other leg.
There are many different leg exercises and stretches that you can do to alleviate knee pain. Always be mindful of your body and modify your activities accordingly. Pain isn’t an excuse not to work out, rather it is a reason to try new exercises and to explore a different side of fitness.