Knee Pain Relief Exercises & Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo
By Bryan Wright
Hey everybody it’s Doctor Jo, and today I’m going to show you some stretches and exercises to relieve knee pain. So let’s get started. When you have knee pain the main muscles that you want to stretch are the ones that go around the knee joint. So that would be your calf muscles underneath here cuz they cross up on top your quad muscle because it’s attached to that knee cap or patella, your hamstrings which come and cross the other side, and your IT band on the side which also crosses the knee. So since all those muscles cross the joint when they’re tight, they can cause pain in the knee. To start off we’re going to stretch the calf muscles. There’s a lot of different ways to stretch them, but I like to use a stretch strap and when you’re stretching your calf or down at your foot, I like to have it propped up a little bit, or if you’re on a couch or a bed make sure your heel is off the edge because that will just help you stretch a little bit more. So I just kind of like to prop it up, that’s just a pool noodle, just so you have some extra movement there and it’s not rubbing on the floor. If you’ve got a stretch strap, that’s great if you don’t, you can use a dog leash, you can use a towel, or you can use a belt, but you want it to be something firm not one of those resistive bands. Place it about at the ball of your foot, and relax your foot and then pull towards you. So you’re not actively moving it towards you, you’re pulling with that strap towards you. So just go till you feel that stretch underneath there. You want to feel tension, you want to feel pressure, but you don’t want it to be painful because you’re going to hold it for 30 seconds, so if you’re like this and it hurts the whole time, you’re pulling too much so then take a little bit of pressure off of it because you want it to be that hurts so good not just hurt so hurt. So after the 30 seconds, give it a little break maybe a 10 second break, and then do a total of three of those. So just a nice pull, get that stretch in there, you might feel it underneath the knee, you might feel it right here, or you might feel it all the way through, so again holding for 30 seconds doing that three times. While I’m sitting here what I also think is really really good for the knee especially if it’s painful is to move that kneecap or that patella around to mobilize it because a lot of times this is tight and if it’s the quad muscle’s tight, and just that whole joint is tight, that kneecap pushes down into the femur bone and causes a lot of pain too, so having extra movement there really helps. So with the patella mobs, what you want to do is just kind of grab that kneecap, sometimes it’s hard to find, people have smaller ones people have bigger ones, but try and just place your fingers all the way around it, and then just start off moving up and down. So you don’t want to push downwards while you’re doing it you just want to move it this way because you don’t want to push it into that joint. It might be really hard to move it at first you might feel a little bit of grinding or some crunching noises, I even have a little bit in mine and that’s called crepitus. As long as it’s not painful, that’s pretty normal. This feeling for some people is kind of icky, some people have that feeling, so if you can do it that’s great, if you can’t that’s okay, but I really think it helps loosen up that whole kneecap in that joint. You want your muscles to be completely relaxed while you’re doing this. If you’re if your quad’s tight, you can’t really move that kneecap because it pulls it tight, so make sure you’re nice and relaxed. After you go up and down, then you’re going to go side to side. I usually just place my fingers on the side and then push back and forth like that, so you can see mine moves pretty well. If you have knee pain or joint issues, it’s not going to move quite that easily, but you want to do a firm push, but again not painful, so if it’s painful, don’t push quite as hard because the more you stretch, the more that’ll loosen up. So just do that for about one or two minutes, you can alternate going up and down, side to side back, and forth. Another great way to help relieve knee pain is to get a knee sleeve like a compression sleeve. The folks at For-Knees sent me their knee sleeve, and what’s great about knee sleeves is when you put it on, there’s some compression in there. If you have a little bit of swelling in your knee, this helps work that swelling out of the knee, that compression gives, I like to call it like a little hug. It just gives that nice compression feeling, it makes everything feel good in there, it helps keep stuff staying in place a little bit, but it’s not a brace where it does all the work for the muscles, so it just helps it out a little bit. And if you are into alternative medicine, this sleeve is extra special because it has magnets in it, so it’s really nice if you’re into that stuff. This is a great sleeve to have because it has that extra component in there and you can see that, you know, it stays in place because it’s got a little more elastic here to keep it in place, so that’s nice. So go ahead and lie down. The next one is a hamstring stretch and again there’s a lot of ways to stretch your hamstrings, and you can check out my hamstring video if you want a different way, but the one that I like the best is again using a stretch strap, so using the dog leash, a belt, a long towel, but something that’s nice and firm. Take the loop, put it around your foot here. You can go a little bit lower for this one because this is stretching the hamstring and not necessarily your calves. You want to relax your leg, you’re not actively lifting your leg up, you’re using the strap to lift the leg up because it’s a stretch so you want those muscles to be as relaxed as possible, so just start pulling it up, try and keep that knee straight. It might be hard if it hurts, but you want to keep it as straight as you can because that’s going to help stretch those hamstrings. If you can only go to here, that’s fine get that stretch where you need it, you don’t want it to be painful, you want that tension to be in there where you’re feeling a good stretch, but no pain. The further you come up, the more you’ll feel the stretch but if your knee starts to bend as you come up, take it back down. You want to keep that knee as straight as you can. If you want to stretch your calves while you’re stretching your hamstrings, you can pull your toes up, and that will stretch the whole leg, but if you want to focus on those hamstrings just relax that whole leg and then hold that stretch for 30 seconds, come back down, give it about a 10-second break, and then come back up. So do three of those hamstring stretches for thirty seconds. The next one is an IT band stretch. The one on the side, and so again there are several ways to stretch the IT band, but I like the strap because it’s easy and if you’ve already got the strap on your foot you can just continue to stretch and not have to really change anything. I like to put this one down because you’re going to come up kind of into that hamstring stretch, but don’t go quite as high, you don’t want to start feeling a big stretch, and then drop it across your body until you feel that stretch on the side. Some people will feel it in the butt area, but that’s because the IT band kind of comes all the way up into that hip, so you’ll feel that stretch, and the lower you go the more stress you feel. If it’s more in the back, try coming forward again bringing it up just a little bit more and then come over again, and you might feel it all the way down in the knee, anywhere here or up in that hip area or all at one time. If it’s really tight, you’ll feel that a lot, so again holding that for thirty seconds, coming down, taking a break, and doing three of those. So come up first, and then across your body, and just let that hang for that stretch. And then the last stretch is going to be for your quad muscle. Again there’s a couple different ways you can do it, you can stretch on your side you can stretch on your stomach, I like stretching on my stomach because then it holds your quad in place because you want it to be a pretty straight line position. So this time, I like if you have a loop on your strap to put it all the way around your leg down at your heel, and then take this or the strap before you, turn over, and bring it up high because what you’re going to do is when you turn over, you’re going to have it around you like this. Again just relax that leg, and start bending at your knee, and then pull it up towards your bottom as far as you comfortably can. So again you might be here, and you’ll feel that stretch, but the closer you can get to your bottom, the better it will stretch, but again don’t don’t force it don’t go so hard that you can barely hold it for five seconds, you want to hold that stretch for about thirty seconds, and then relax it, and then do that three times. Come in all the way up and holding that stretch. After you do those stretches, if you want to strengthen your hamstrings you stay in the same positions, and then this time it’s the active movement, so you’re strengthening the hamstrings. So not the quads but you’re kind of doing the same movement, so when it’s active, you’re strengthening the hamstrings, and you’re just bringing it up now as far as you can and slowly coming back down. If you have a lot of knee pain, I would start off not with any resistance or any weights, but if you can do 20-25 of these, and that slow controlled motion, not fast, but nice and controlled little push on the end there, then you can add a 1 pound ankle weight and work your way up from there. The last exercises are going to be standing up. For calf strengthening you can do a simple exercise of just going up on your toes or a heel raise. If you’re a little bit off balance, make sure you hold onto something like a sturdy chair or countertop, and then just lift up on your toes, whoa!, and come back down. A little bit slower than that, so coming up and then nice and slow coming back down, so again if you feel like you’re popping it back down, make sure that you’re holding on to something, and then nice and slow coming back down. Just start off with ten of those, if it feels okay then the next time, do two sets of ten, and then work your way up to two sets of 15 or 20. And then the last one is going to be for the quads and the hamstrings, and it’s a simple squat. Squats work great for the legs, knees, hips, all that to keep it nice and strong. Again if you feel a little off-balance, or if your knees are really bothering you, make sure you put a chair behind you, and use the chair so if you get down then you can’t come back up you can just sit down into the chair, and you can also use it as a target, but then as you get stronger, you can take that chair away and use nothing behind you, but make sure that you start off with that so you have support. You want your feet to be about shoulder width apart, and you want your toes pointing forwards. Make sure you bend at your hips and your knees, and keep those knees behind your toes, so it’s not going forward like that because that’s putting a lot of pressure on your knees, if you have knee pain that’s going to hurt. Make sure you stick that booty back behind you, keep your back straight, and bend at your hip so you’re coming back this way, and coming back up. If you want to use your arms as a balancer, you can. Coming back up. You don’t have to go super deep to start off with, you can do a little mini squat, come back up, but if you have that chair behind you, use it as a target. If you don’t feel your butt tapping onto that chair, you’re probably going too far forward. If you can’t see your toes, then you’re probably going too far forward, so make sure you can see your toes as you go down. Your weight is even on your feet, so even on the front and the back, they’re not shifted forward or shifted back on your heels, so just nice and smooth down and up. So again just start off with 10 of those, and same thing, work your way up from there. Those were your stretches and exercises for how to relieve knee pain. If you’re interested in purchasing the For-Knees compression sleeve, you can click up here, and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel clicking down here. Remember be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.