As temperatures drop, it may be a little harder to get out of bed every morning. This is especially true if you suffer joint pain, and even more if the pain is in your knees! But what if I told you there was a way you could limit knee pain so you could practically jump out of bed every morning? And it doesn’t involve big pharma’s solution to everything—drugs.
The Key to Knee Pain Relief
Your knees have a big responsibility—they keep you upright and are therefore subject to a lot of weight. They’re basically supporting everything above them. But by learning how to take the pressure off of your knees, you can prevent pain and injury, and boost your quality of life. (Not to mention avoid taking harsh pain or anti-inflammatory medications!)
The key to pain relief in your knees involves strengthening the muscles around them. Your quadriceps (the large muscle group between the knee and hip on the front and sides of your legs), your hamstrings (the muscle group at the rear of your leg from just above the back of the knee to your bum), your glutes (your bum muscles), and calves (the muscles on the rear and side of your legs below the knee) work together to hold you up, better than your knee joint does.
To strengthen these muscle groups, I have some exercises for knee pain that you can do at home.
Knee Pain Exercise #1: Chair Squat
Place a chair in front of you and stand behind it. Hold each side of the backrest (at about belly-button level) and step back so your arms are almost fully extended, leaving only a slight bend at the elbow. Plant your feet firmly and flat on the ground, about shoulder-width apart. Begin to slowly bring your hips back, causing your knees to bend. Keeping your back as straight as possible and with your chest out, bend your knees until you feel tension in your hamstrings (typically about a 90-degree bend). At that point, push your feet into the ground and return to a standing position. During the descent, make sure your knees are not out further than your toes. As you get stronger, you can eliminate the support chair. Perform 8-12 repetitions.
Knee Pain Exercise #2: Calf Raises
Using the same chair, place your hands at the top of the backrest and stand a few inches behind it. With your knees slightly bent, push the balls of your feet into the ground so your calf muscles contract and pull your heel off the floor. Hold it for one second and then slowly lower your heel and repeat. Perform 8-15 repetitions.
Knee Pain Exercise #3: Hip Raises
To strengthen your hamstrings, lie down with your back flat on the floor. Bend your knees so they are about 90 degrees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Keeping your shoulders and feet firmly planted; raise your hips off the ground so you feel a contraction in your hamstrings. Hold at the top for about one second, and then bring your hips back down in a controlled motion. Perform 8-12 repetitions.
Knee Pain Exercise #4 Glute Raises
Lie flat on your stomach with your legs extended. While keeping one leg extended behind you, lift the other leg off the ground, hold it for one second and then slowly return it to the starting position. Do 10-15 repetitions per leg.
Banish That Pain in Your Knee
Performing these exercises two or three days per week can make it easier to stand longer, while preventing pain caused by added pressure on your knee. To build and maintain the muscles you’re exercising, try to include at least one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, per day, in your diet.