According to the American Osteopathic Association, knee pain is the number two source of chronic pain, and over 1/3 of Americans report being affected by the condition. The knee is one of the largest joints in the body, and although it is also one of the most easily injured, sometimes the cause of knee pain is as simple as muscle weakness, tightness, or imbalance. What exercises can you do to find knee pain relief?
Anatomy of Knee Pain
The knee is one of the largest joints in the body, and is made of 3 bones, an abundance of soft tissues like bursae and cartilage, and is held together by a web of tendons, ligaments and muscles. While a lot of knee pain can be caused by injury or the wear and tear of aging or activity, some knee pain is a result of weakness or tightness in muscles or tissues that support the knee or the areas above and below it. The following exercises can support different areas and serve as knee pain treatments if they are implemented into your exercise regimen.
Get the Glutes on Board
A surprising weak link when it comes to knee pain is the glutes, or the large muscles that make up your seat. The glutes are responsible for rotating the thighs inward or outward, which has much to do with the correct alignment of our legs when it comes to movements like walking, running or jumping. When these muscles are weakened from sitting too much, the knees take the brunt of the forces of movement instead of the large, strong muscles. To strengthen your glutes for knee pain relief, try a Side-Lying Leg Lift:
- Rest on your right side, and begin by stacking your bent knees. Bend your bottom elbow and use the hand to support the head, and place your top hand on the floor in front of the belly for stability.
- Extend the top leg long, and flex the foot toward the knee.
- Slowly raise the straightened top leg to about shoulder height, and slowly lower it. Complete up to 10 reps, and then repeat on the left side.
Cue Your Quadriceps
According to Dr. Willibald Nagler, MD, a physician specializing in rehabilitation medicine at New York Hospital, “Strengthening the muscles around the joint protects you from injury by decreasing stress on the knee.” The “quads” are the group of strong muscles that lie on the front of the thigh above the knee, and they work to extend the lower leg and to support the knee joint. The partial squat is a great exercise for building strength to relieve knee pain:
- Place a sturdy chair on a level surface, and stand about a foot in front of the chair, facing away from it with the feet about hip width apart and the toes pointed forward.
- Inhale to feel long in the spine, and with an exhale, take the navel in toward the spine, fold at the hip crease, and start to sink the seat about halfway down toward the chair. Keep the knees behind the toes!
- Inhale to slowly rise to standing, and then repeat about 10 times.
Strong calf muscles on the back of the lower leg act as a base of support for the knee joint, aiding in stability and mobility. An exercise like heel raises will not only work to engage the calf muscles, it will also assist in developing better balance:
- Stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart. It may help your balance to rest the fingertips on a chair or wall here!
- Rise up onto the balls of your feet, keeping the torso upright over the hips.
- Maintain a high, strong lift for 1 to 2 seconds, then slowly lower the heels. Repeat 10 to 20 repetitions.
Synergy Health Offers Knee Pain Treatments In Naples
The team of medical professionals at Synergy Health will create a comprehensive plan to help heal and strengthen your joint to provide true, long-term knee pain relief. With options like chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage therapy, non-surgical pain relief methods and more, we look forward to getting you on the path to recovery. Call us today to learn more about what an individualized treatment plan will include for you!