Battling Knee Pain: Tips And Exercises To Try At Home

Knees are one of the most commonly injured joints on our body. Think about it. How many of your favorite athletes have you read about having a knee injury lately? Knee injuries are definitely not limited to athletes. A study by Nguyen and colleagues found that frequent knee pain affects 25% of adults. That’s a huge number.
The high injury rate of the knee is largely due to the many parts of your body that make up and affect it. The knee, or to get technical the tibiofemoral joint, is composed of three bones: the femur, tibia, and the patella. There are also three main groups of muscles that attach to and control the movement of the knee: the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles. Together these muscles are responsible for stabilizing and protecting the knee. Your hip muscles also help to stabilize and control the movement of your knee, specifically the muscles that abduct (move away from the body) and adduct (move toward the body).
If these muscles are strong and loose, the likelihood of developing knee pain is significantly decreased. So the key to battling knee pain is making sure all of the muscles that help stabilize and move the knee are balanced and strong.
Listed below are several ways to help alleviate and prevent knee pain.

Warm up/Cool down

It is important that your muscles are loose and warm prior to performing any type of exercise. I recommend loosening up all the muscles of the leg with a foam roller first. Your quads, hamstrings, calves, and iliotibial band can all be “rolled out” with the use of a foam roller. Roll the muscles out again after your exercises are completed to help prevent them from tightening back up after working out.


Adding these exercises will help strengthen the muscles we talked about above and prevent knee injury. It is recommended that you exercise 3-4 times a week in order to see changes in your strength. Foam rolling can be done every day (or more!) if desired.

Ball Squeezes (Hip Adduction)

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Place a small medicine ball in between knees. Your back should remain flat throughout this exercise.
  • Contract your pelvic floor muscles, or kegel, and squeeze the ball, holding for five seconds.
  • Raise your hips off of the table or ground by pushing up through your heels.
  • Your butt should no longer be on the table or ground. Hold for five seconds.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
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Clams (Hip Abduction)

  • Lie on your side with hips and knees stacked. Bend both knees and keep your heels together.
  • Open your knees like a clam and hold for 5 seconds. Close slowly.
  • Don’t roll backwards through the pelvis. Keep your heels together.
  • For an advanced version of this exercises, add a resistance band just above your knees.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
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Squats (Quads)

  • Place feet shoulder width apart with your toes pointed out at a 45 degree angle. Weight should be placed through your heels.
  • As you begin to squat, bring your hips back like you are sitting in a chair that is too far behind you. While squatting, try to move your knees out.
  • Go as low as you can, then push back up through your heels.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.


Single Leg Bridge (Hamstrings)

  • Lie on your back, keeping the entire back flat on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the ground with weight through the heels.
  • Lift one leg up with the hip at 90 degrees and contract the abdominals.
  • Push through the heel on flat foot to lift the hips off of the floor into a bridge.
  • Hold for 3 seconds at the top of the motion and slowly lower back down.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.