Exercising For Knee Health

There are many situations in which a knee injury requires surgery, however, there is one significant, non-invasive method that may help you avoid it altogether, and that’s exercising!

But If My Knee Hurts, Why Exercise?

Exercise is a great way to prevent injury, strengthen, and rehabilitate injured joints.  Knee, hip, and core strengthening exercises in particular are an effective way to keep the legs strong. Being the most used joint in the body, the knee can benefit from strengthened and well-stretched muscles around it – preventing AND alleviating pain.

In fact, The Arthritis Foundation states that exercise may be the most effective way to treat osteoarthritis without surgery!

Exercising For Knee Health

What Exercises Are Safe?

When it comes to an exercise plan for joint pain, the best course of action should always be decided upon between you and your doctor. However, the most important first step is simply getting started! We know there are a ton of exercise gurus out there; don’t feel overwhelmed! Start with these 4 basic surgeon-approved movements that offer special consideration for knee health.

  1. Leg Lifts
    • These should be done lying flat on your back on the floor, keeping one leg bent and the other straight. 
    • Slowly lift the straight leg without bending the knee. 
    • Keep the toes pointed toward the ceiling and stop when the leg is about 12 inches off the floor. 
    • Hold for 5 seconds (then gradually increase your time as you are able).
    • Repeat with the opposite leg.
  1. Step Exercises
    • Use a large, sturdy stool or exercise platform no taller than 6 inches. 
    • Step up onto the stool with the right foot and allow the left foot to hang behind. 
    • Slowly bend the right knee to lower the left foot, and hold it in place for 5 seconds.  
    • Return the leg to a straight position and repeat as you are able. (Do not lock the knees.
  2. Quads Stretches
    • Lift one foot behind the body and grab the ankle with one hand.
    • Keep the back straight and your knees close together.
    • Gently pull the heel close to the buttocks without forcing it or causing pain.
    • Hold for up to 30 seconds and then slowly lower the leg.
    • Repeat with the opposite leg.
  1. Hamstring Stretches
    • Stand up straight with the feet no more than shoulder-width apart.
    • Slightly bend at the hips and extend the right leg out a few inches in front of the body. (The left leg can slightly bend as well)
    • While keeping the back straight, slowly bend forward as far as possible without causing pain. Hold for 30 seconds.
    • Repeat with the opposite leg

After any exercise, stretching is imperative to keep the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy.  Our joints need that flexibility in our muscles in order to maintain their range of motion. Without stretching, muscles shorten and become tight, causing weakness and limited extension when you use them. 

Exercising For Knee Health

In the end, taking care of our body will allow our body to function well for us.  No surgeon wants to perform surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary.  Oftentimes, non-invasive remedies such as exercise, physical therapy, and/or injections will be attempted first.  Stay ahead of your joint pain by taking things into your own hands.  Exercising is the one thing you can do for yourself that requires only the investment of time. 

Here at TJN Orthopedics, we like to look at exercise as a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you ate! Keep moving and stay motivated with some help from Dr. T.  He looks forward to helping you on your path toward healing from joint pain. Visit our office at:

250 Lombard Street 

Thousand Oaks, CA 91360