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The 8 Best Exercises For Knee Pain


Knee pain is relatively common, and can happen suddenly or develop over time. Whether your pain is from a sporting injury, bursitis, osteoporosis, or overuse, there’s good news— there are exercises you can do to help ease the pain.

This blog explores what can cause knee pain and the 8 best exercises you can do to reduce your pain. For further information or to book a physiotherapy appointment to assist with your knee pain, contact our knowledgeable team at NDPE today.




What Causes Knee Pain?

Many factors can contribute to knee pain, and generally can be grouped into 3 groups:

  • Injury: Whether it be a sporting injury, fall, or other accident, injuries can cause damage to many parts of the knee. These include the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Bursitis, the inflammation of fluid-filled sacs in the knee that cushion it, is another injury-related cause of knee pain.
  • Arthritis: Osteoporosis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and septic arthritis can contribute significantly to knee pain.
  • Other causes: Other causes of knee pain can include patellofemoral pain syndrome (pain around the kneecap, often due to its misalignment) and referred pain, often from the hip or lower spine.

If you’re experiencing sudden and/or severe knee pain or have additional symptoms such as swelling, bruising, or your knee ‘giving way’, we recommend you visit your physio for an examination prior to commencing any exercises.

The 8 Best Exercises for Knee Pain

Knee strengthening exercises strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee, which provides support. This knee support helps to reduce pressure and strain on the joints, alleviating pain.

Leg lifts/straight leg raises

Lie flat on the floor, using a yoga mat for cushioning. Keep one leg bent and one leg straight out in front of you. Raise your straight leg off the floor to the same height as your bent knee, and pause for 5 seconds. Lower your leg to the starting position, and repeat with the opposite leg.

Standing hamstring curls

Stand facing a wall, or use the back of a chair so you can lean on it for support. With your feet hip-width apart, lift one foot up and bend your knee so that your heel points toward the ceiling. Keep your upper body still and hips pointing forward. Hold this pose for 5 seconds, return to your standing position, and repeat with the other leg.

Half squat

Stand/crouch in a squatting position, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. To keep your balance, put your hands on your hips or in front of you. Slowly squat down around 30cm, or where you find is about halfway to a full squat. Pause for 5 seconds and then push yourself back up to a regular standing position using your heels.

Stepping exercises

Using a short stepping stool, or other sturdy piece of equipment about 15cm high, stand next to it and step up with one foot. Allow the other foot to follow behind, but don’t let it come to rest on the stool. Hold for 5 seconds before returning both feet to the ground. Repeat on the opposite side, stepping up with the other foot first.

Single leg-dip

Using two high-backed, stable chairs, stand in between them with their backs facing inwards towards you. Lift your right leg about 30cm high, keeping your knee straight, and slowly bend down with the opposite leg. Hold for 3-5 seconds and repeat with the opposite leg.

Wall squats

Stand against a wall, with your head, shoulders, back, and hips flat against it. Step both feet out by about 50-60cm, then slowly and gently slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Hold for 5 seconds, slide back up, and repeat.

Calf raises

Stand in front of a wall or a chair with its back to you for support. With your feet shoulder-width apart, lift both heels off the ground so that you’re standing on the balls of your feet. Slowly lower yourself back to a regular standing position and repeat.

Leg extensions

Sit on a firm chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Contract your thigh muscles and lift one leg as high as possible while still keeping your buttocks on the chair. Pause, return to the starting position, and repeat with the opposite leg.

Need Treatment for Your Knee Pain?

Before starting any exercises, you should visit your local physiotherapist at NDPE for a comprehensive knee assessment. We’ll identify the cause of your knee pain and suggest a tailored treatment program to help you reduce pain and get back to what you love!

At Northern Districts Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic, we have a team of experienced physiotherapists ready to help you strengthen your knee and get you back on your feet. Whether you’re experiencing acute (symptoms for less than six weeks) or chronic (symptoms for more than six weeks) knee pain, our team can assist.

To book an appointment, give us a call on (02) 9874 8410 or click below to book an appointment.

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For extra reading:

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SRC Health Support Recovery Comfort
AOK Health Pty Ltd Australian Physiotherapy Association Corporate Work Health Australia The Orthotic Group Vasyli Medical

Northern Districts Physiotherapy

Northern Districts Physiotherapy & Sports Clinic was established in 1995 and consists of an energetic team of highly qualified and experienced professionals who take the time to understand ...


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