5 Knee Exercises to Reduce Pain and Injury
When your knees hurt, it’s hard to exercise. Knee pain that you experience during, or after, exercise can be enough to deter you from even trying. If you’re a woman over 55, you’re at a greater chance for developing osteoarthritis (OA), the wear and tear type of stress that occurs to joints with age. Women more than men experience OA, potentially due to wider hips and biomechanics that result in more potential stress on the knees. Knee strengthening exercises can help both prevent and alleviate chronic pain to some degree.
Find the Pain Source
It’s important to first consider the cause of your knee pain. Then, explore the options for correcting the source of the problem so you can reduce pain and injury. If you’ve had an acute injury, see your physician for a diagnosis before you begin knee exercises.
Unless you’ve had trauma directly to the knee, knee pain is often a symptom of another problem. Pain in one joint can be caused by problems with the joint above or below it. In the case of the knee, look to your ankle and your hip. Is there a history of injury or lack of range of motion with either joint? Both the ankle and the hip should be more mobile joints while the knee should be stable. If you’ve lost some mobility where you should have it, your body may beg, borrow, or steal it, and the stress begins to appear in another joint.
Try this simple ankle assessment on both ankles. Point and flex your foot, rotate it around as if you were drawing big circles with your toe, and try to turn the soles of your feet toward each other and away from each other. Do you have less range of motion in one ankle than the other? If so, does that happen to be the same side the knee pain occurs?