Midtown Manhattan 36 W 44th St Ste 914 New York, NY 10036

Knee Exercises

Standing quadriceps stretch

Knee Quadriceps Stretch Exercise
  1. Bend the knee of your leg that you want to stretch.
  2. Grab the foot of that leg with your hand on the same side and bring it back toward your buttock until you feel a gentle stretch across the front of your thigh and hip.
  3. While you take your foot back, make sure to keep the top part of your leg straight, so that your knee is pointing to the ground rather than sideways.
  4. Keep breathing and hold the stretch for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
  5. Release and repeat on at least two to four times.
  6. Breathe deeply and hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, release and repeat on the left leg, this time holding your ankle with your right hand. Stretch each leg one to five times in a stretching session.

Calf wall stretch

Calf wall stretch knees bent Exercise
  1. Stand facing a wall about two feet away.
  2. Stretch out your arms up to your shoulder height and place your hands on the wall for balance.
  3. Step the leg (that you want to stretch) back and keep it straight.
  4. Keep both feet flat on the floor.
  5. Push down on the rear foot with your toes somewhat pointed in as you lean into the stretch.
  6. As your body leans into the stretch, slightly bend your front leg at the knee joint until you feel a stretch in the back leg.
  7. Hold this stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  8. Aim for at least 5 sets of 4.
  9. Switch legs and repeat. If you have any discomfort, try standing a little farther from the wall and see if that helps. If not, stop the exercise and touch base with your therapist.

Hamstring wall stretch

Hamstring wall stretch Exercise
  1. Lie down on your back within a doorway with your legs straight on the floor.
  2. Lift, bend, and place your unaffected leg through the open door onto the wall.
  3. Gently slide your foot up the door until that leg is completely straight and your heel touches the wall. You must feel a gentle stretch down the back of your leg.
  4. Hold the stretch for a count of 1 minute.
  5. Keep working up the minutes little by little until you can stretch for as long as 6 minutes.
  6. To further beef up the stretch, keep your shoulders down, push the heel on the floor down, and lift your good heel resting on the wall a little away from the wall.
  7. Then, slowly slide your foot down from the wall returning to the starting position, with the leg flexed on the wall.
  8. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
  9. Switch legs and repeat with your other leg. Relax whenever you must.

Straight-leg raises to the front

Knee Straight leg raises to the front Exercise
  1. Lie face up on your back.
  2. Gently squeeze your core muscles. Be sure to keep breathing while doing this.
  3. Keeping your knees straight, slowly lift one leg up about half a foot (15 cm) off the floor.
  4. Hold that leg in that position for two to three seconds, and then slowly lower it back to the floor.
  5. Repeat the above steps for the opposite leg.
  6. Slowly do at least 10 to 15 reps, alternating and relaxing between both legs.

Straight-leg raises to the back

Knee Straight leg raises to the back Exercise
  1. Lie face down on your tummy.
  2. Gently squeeze your core muscles. Be sure to keep breathing while doing this.
  3. Keeping your knees straight, slowly lift one leg up about half a foot (15 cm) off the floor.
  4. Hold that leg in that position for two to three seconds, and then slowly lower it back to the floor.
  5. Repeat the above steps for the opposite leg.
  6. Slowly do at least 10 to 15 reps, alternating and relaxing between both legs.

Straight-leg raises to the inside

Knee Straight leg raises to the inside1 Exercise
  1. Lie on your affected side (i.e., your side with the affected leg).
  2. Brace your unaffected leg by lifting and placing that foot on a chair or flex your unaffected knee and bring that foot in front of your affected knee.
  3. While keeping your affected leg and your hip on that side straight, squeeze the muscles on the front of that thigh.
  4. Then raise the injured leg about 15 centimeters off the ground.
  5. Hold it in the air for about 5 seconds, then slowly lower both the legs.
  6. Relax and repeat.
  7. Do at least 8 to 10 repetitions.

Quad sets

Knee Quad sets1 Exercise
  1. Sit or lie down on a firm bed with your affected leg straight. Place a small, rolled-up towel under your knee. Bend your other leg, with that foot flat on the bed.
  2. Tighten the thigh muscles of your straight leg by pressing the back of your knee down into the towel.
  3. Hold for about 6 seconds, then rest for up to 10 seconds.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  5. Switch legs, and repeat steps 1 through 4.

Hamstring curls

Knee Hamstring curls Exercise
  1. Lie down on your tummy with your leg straight on the floor.
  2. Engage your glutes and continue to breathe.
  3. Slowly lift your affected leg up, bending your knee up and bringing your foot up towards your hips as far as you can. If bending your knee to this point hurts, try bending it to a lesser extent.
  4. Hold for a count of 5.
  5. Slowly lower your leg back to the floor.
  6. Complete 12 to 15 reps.
  7. If your doctor and physical therapist recommends, you can add a weight of less than 5 pounds to your ankle. Adding a weight will activate your hamstrings without having you to bend your knee more than 1 foot from the floor.

Heel raises

Knee heel raises1 Exercise
  1. Stand with your feet flat on the floor, about hip-width apart.
  2. If you feel unsteady, lightly hold with your hand on a chair, wall, table, or counter.
  3. Keeping your knees straight, raise both heels such that you’re standing on your toes. Make sure that you feel pressure on the inside of your big toes rather than the ends of your feet.
  4. Hold for a count of 6 seconds.
  5. Then, slowly lower your heels back to the floor.
  6. Aim for at least 8 to 12 reps. Do at least 2 sets a day initially and then work yourself up from there.

Heel dig Bridging

Knee Heel Dig bridging Exercise
  1. Sit with your affected leg bent at your knee and your good leg straight on the floor.
  2. Place your hands palm down on the floor behind you to maximize support.
  3. Dig your heel into the ground to activate your hamstrings (the muscles on the back of your thigh) on the bent leg.
  4. Hold for a count of 6 seconds, and then relax.
  5. Return to the starting position with your leg bent at your knee.
  6. Aim for at least 8 to 12 reps.
  7. Switch sides and repeat steps 1 through 5 on the other leg.

Half-squat with knees and feet turned out to the side

Knee Half squat with knees and feet turned out to the side Exercise
  1. Stand upright with your feet about shoulder-width apart and turned out to the sides, and your arms by your sides with palms in.
  2. Engage your core, draw your belly button in towards your spine, and tighten your glutes.
  3. Keep your chest lifted and back flat.
  4. While transferring your weight onto your heels, push your hips back, and slowly bend your knees to lower into a half squat position. Make sure no to let your knees go in front of your toes as you squat (you must be able to see your toes while lowering yourself down).
  5. To keep your balance, you may also stretch out your arms in front of you.
  6. Slowly return to the upright posture to a count of 3.
  7. Aim for at least 8 to 12 reps.

Step up

Knee Step Up 1 Exercise
  1. Position a one-step stool in front of you. Have a stable object like the back of a chair near you so you can hold it to steady yourself.
  2. Slowly step up on to the stool with your affected leg. While stepping up with your affected leg, avoid putting pressure on your good leg, and use your affected leg to step up.
  3. Then bring your good leg up to the stool.
  4. Keeping your gaze straight, step up with your affected leg and then your good leg back to the stool.
  5. Repeat the above steps at least 8 to 10 times.

Step Down

Knee Step Down1 Exercise
  1. Position a one-step stool in front of you and stand on it. Have a stable object like the back of a chair near you so you can hold it to steady yourself.
  2. Slowly step down from the stool with your affected leg. While stepping down with your affected leg, avoid putting pressure on your good leg, and use your affected leg to step down.
  3. Then bring your good leg down from the stool.
  4. Keeping your gaze straight, step up with your affected leg and then your good leg back to the stool.
  5. Repeat the above steps at least 8 to 10 times.

Lateral step-up

Knee lateral step up Exercise
  1. Stand to the side of a step, or the bottom of a staircase.
  2. Plant your affected foot on the step while keeping the good leg on the floor.
  3. Then, step your good foot up to level with the affected foot and as you do this, use your affected leg to raise the other foot. For this, you’ll have to bring your knee in line with the toes of your foot and hip above your knee as much as you can.
  4. You can also take your toes off the ground and then step up. Be wary just to raise and level the foot of the unaffected side rather than putting it exactly on the step with the affected leg.
  5. Then maintaining the same position of your affected leg — i.e., the knee in line with the toes of your foot and hip above your knee as much, step down with the unaffected foot.
  6. Continue alternating for a complete set. Aim for at least 8 to 12 reps per side daily.

Shallow standing knee bends

Knee Shallow standing knee bends Exercise
  1. Stand with your feet separated shoulder-width apart. If need be, rest your hands on a chair or counter for support.
  2. Squeeze your hips, then slowly bend both knees, lowering yourself such that you squat a bit just like you are about to sit in a chair. The bend in your knees should not be too much that they go past your toes. Also, make sure that your pelvis is not tilting forward or backward, and your heels stay firm on the floor.
  3. Hold for a count of 5 to 10 seconds.
  4. Then, rise slowly to a standing position.
  5. Repeat at least 8 to 10 times while relaxing between each repetition.

Knee flexion with heel slide

Knee Knee Flexion with heel slide Exercise
  1. Lie down on your back on the floor with both your legs bent at your knee joints.
  2. Slowly slide the heel of your affected side back towards your hips, keeping your heel on the floor.
  3. Then draw your heel even farther by crossing your other foot around the ankle of your affected side.
  4. Hold for a count of 6 seconds.
  5. Relax and repeat at least 8 to 12 times.
  6. Switch legs and repeat steps 1 through 4, even if only one of your knees is affected.

Short-arc quad

Knee short arc quad Exercise
  1. Lie on your back with your knees fully straightened out.
  2. Place a large rolled-up towel or a rolled-up blanket under the affected knee or the knee that you want to strengthen.
  3. Press the back of your knee down on the rolled-up bolster. This will tighten your quad muscle while you slowly straighten your knee all the way out. Ensure that the back of your knee is in contact with the folded bolster at all times.
  4. Hold your leg straight for about 3 to 6 seconds.
  5. Slowly lower your leg back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for a count of ten while taking short breaks in between repetitions.
  7. You may do 4 sets of short-arc quad before switching to the other leg.

Terminal knee extension

Knee Terminal knee extension1 Exercise
  1. Grab a long resistance band and tie its ends together to form a long loop. Securely attach one end of the loop to a sturdy object.
  2. Loop the other end of the exercise band, stand with the exercise band behind the knee of your affected leg a bit above the joint line.
  3. Slightly bend your knee a bit against the band to release the muscle in the back of your thigh called biceps femoris. Be sure to avoid letting your knee go too far.
  4. Then, push your affected knee back against the resistance band.
  5. Hold for about 5 seconds, then go back to the starting position with your knee slightly bent.
  6. Relax and repeat the above steps at least ten times.

Wall slide with ball squeeze

Wall Slide With Ball Squeeze 01 Exercise
  1. Stand up straight with your shoulders and back against a wall. Spread your feet shoulder-width apart. Move your feet forward enough from the wall such that when you slide down, your knees do not get ahead of your ankles.
  2. Position a small, 9-inch stability ball between your knees. Next, slowly slide down the wall into a mid-squat so that your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Squeeze the ball between your knees to activate your inner thigh muscles. Hold the squeeze for a count of 10-20 seconds, then slide up back.
  4. Relax for 5 to 10 seconds.
  5. Do at least 8 to 10 reps.

Hamstring set heel dig

Knee Hamstring Set heel dig1 Exercise
  1. Sit with your affected leg bent at your knee and your good leg straight on the floor.
  2. Place your hands palm down on the floor behind you to maximize support.
  3. Dig your heel into the ground to activate your hamstrings (the muscles on the back of your thigh) on the bent leg.
  4. Hold for a count of 6 seconds, and then relax.
  5. Return to the starting position with your leg bent at your knee.
  6. Aim for at least 8 to 12 reps.
  7. Switch sides and repeat steps 1 through 5 on the other leg.

Hip adduction

Knee Hip Abduction Exercise
  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Cushion your knees by placing a small pillow between them.
  3. For support, you may place your hands lightly on the floor behind your hips.
  4. Squeeze your knees together squishing the pillow between them.
  5. Hold for a count of 6 seconds, then release for 10 seconds.
  6. Do at least 2 sets of 10.

Hip abduction

Knee Hip Abduction1 Exercise
  1. Sit on the floor with your involved knee against a wall.
  2. Bend your affected leg at your knee joint while keeping the good leg straight.
  3. Put a pillow between the outer side of your knee and the wall.
  4. For support, you may place your hands lightly on the floor behind your hips.
  5. Squeeze the pillow against the wall by pushing on it with the outside of your knee.
  6. Hold for a count of 6 seconds, then release for up to 10 seconds.
  7. Do at least 2 sets of 10.

Straight-leg raises to the outside

Knee Straight leg raises to the outside1 Exercise
  1. Lie on your side such that your injured leg is on the top.
  2. While keeping the affected leg straight, squeeze the muscles on the front of that thigh.
  3. Keep your hip and your affected leg aligned with the rest of your upper body.
  4. Raise the injured leg about 12 inches off the ground.
  5. Hold the top leg in the air for about 5 seconds, then slowly bring it down.
  6. Relax and repeat.
  7. Switch your position and repeat the above steps with the good leg as well.
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