Exercises to Strengthen Knees
Strengthening the muscles that support your knee keeps knees healthy, reduces stress on the knee joint and helps to prevent injury. Strong quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh and hamstring muscles in the back of the thigh enable the knee joint to bend, straighten and absorb shock. Strengthening exercises strengthen the muscles to help support the knee. Before strengthening exercises, warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of low impact activity like walking or cycling.
Straight-Leg Lift. Lie on your back with one leg bent and the other straight. Tighten the thigh muscles in your straight leg and slowly lift it until it is about a foot off the floor. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Slowly lower your leg to the floor. Repeat 10 to 20 times on each leg.
Single-Leg Dip. Place chairs on both sides of you for balance. Plant your weight onto your supporting leg. Lift the other foot and bring the heel up toward your buttocks. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Slowly lower your leg. Repeat 10 to 20 times on each leg.
Hip Raise. Lie on your back on the floor. Bend knees keeping feet on the floor. Heels should be close to the buttocks. Push off with the heels and lift the hips toward the ceiling and hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Release and repeat 10 to 20 times.
Wall Squat. Stand with your head, back, and hips against a wall. Step your feet out about 2 feet from the wall, hip-width apart. Slowly slide down the wall until you are almost in a sitting position. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and slowly slide up. Repeat 10 to 20 times. Hold the position longer as you get stronger. Gentle stretching after strengthening exercises reduces muscle soreness and keeps muscles long and flexible.
Quadriceps Stretch. Hold on to a wall or the back of a chair for balance. Lift one foot and bring your heel up toward your buttocks. Grasp your ankle with your hand and pull your heel closer to your body. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Keep your knees close together. Stop bringing your heel closer when you feel the stretch.
Hamstring Stretch. Sit up tall with both legs extended straight in front of you. Your feet are neutral, not pointed or flexed. Place your palms on the floor and slide your hands toward your ankles. Hold for 30 seconds. Keep your chest open and back long. Reach from your hips. Stop sliding your palms forward when you feel the stretch. DOC’s orthopedic surgeons, PAs, and physical therapists will provide an exercise program customized for each guest patient. Building muscle strength takes time. DOC may increase the number of exercise repetitions or add weight to an exercise based on your progress.
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