An estimated one in five adults experiences knee pain at one time or another. There are many reasons for knee pain, some that require more attention than others. In addition to bearing our full weight as we walk or run, knees allow for an incredible range of movement. They are supported by ligaments and muscles throughout the lower part of the body, and stiffness or strain in any of these supporting tissues can cause knee pain. The good news is that sometimes, dedicated stretching cannot only alleviate knee pain but can prevent it from getting worse and sometimes, even happening in the first place!
For minor knee pain due to exertion or strain, these stretches can help you feel better and reduce the likelihood of future bouts with knee pain.
Stretch your hips – hips serve as the crossroads for many muscles that support and move your lower body. Most of the muscles that connect to the femur and tibia bones that make up the knee joint begin at the hip. Keeping hips flexible and strong will take the pressure off your knees and relieve pain. How to do it:
- Stretch out your hip flexor by kneeling on the floor on one knee.
- Place the opposite foot in front of you with your foot lined up below the knee, facing forward.
- Lean forward, keeping your back straight and feel the stretch in your hip.
- Hold up to a count of 10 if there is no discomfort.
- Switch positions and repeat with the opposite knee.
Stretch your glutes – strong glutes that are not stiff and tight help take the pressure off your quads and knees when you move. This can prevent knee pain as well as give you some firmness in your derriere.
- While lying on your back, lift your legs off the ground.
- Cross one ankle over the opposite leg at the thigh.
- Grab the back of that thigh and pull towards your chest until you feel a stretch.
- Switch sides and repeat.
Stretch your hamstrings. Hamstrings are a strong muscle that runs from the knee to the hip along the back of the thigh. A strained hamstring can contribute to or cause a knee injury. Keeping them loose and flexible can prevent these types of injuries.
- Stretch the hamstrings while standing up.
- Place one foot forward of the other, with the heel on the floor and toes pointed up.
- Bend at the waist while putting pressure on your heel to stretch the hamstring in your leg that is straight.
- Switch legs and repeat.
Stretch your calf muscles – your calves’ ability to flex serve as shock absorbers relieves the back of the knees from tension and stress. Knee pain on the back of the knee can be helped through calf stretches.
- Position yourself in front of a wall.
- Stand with one leg slightly in front of your hips and one behind you.
- Bend the front knee and lean forward to touch the wall.
- Keeping the back leg straight, lean your weight back until you feel a stretch in the calf and hold it while it feels comfortable.
- Repeat with the other leg.
Seeing a physical therapist is a foolproof way to find what will work best for your body. If that’s not possible, make sure to let your doctor know before beginning any stretching routine. Stretches should feel good! But if there is an injury that needs additional or a different type of treatment, you need to see your doctor right away. If you feel sharp pain or can’t put any weight on your knee, get to your doctor as soon as you can for a diagnosis.
Proper self-management solves many minor joint and muscle pains and soreness. Being aware of what your body can do and how you can make it easier to accomplish your goals keeps joints working well with little or no pain. When you do have an injury or chronic pain, the expert conservative orthopedic physicians at Tarpon Orthopedics can help. Call (972) 596-1059 for a consultation today in our West Plano, North Plano, or Addison, Texas locations.