We use our knees for just about everything we do like walking, running errands, exercising, playing with our kids, and doing chores. That’s why we need to take care of them and do what we can to keep them strong. If you’re an athlete or a weekend warrior who goes on 10-mile hikes or competes in a race every weekend, it’s even more important for you to take care of your knees. Dr. Steven E. Nolan in our Sugar Land, Texas, office, recommends the following seven knee-strengthening exercises.
Resistance bands are like long, thick rubber bands. They come in different levels of resistance based on your strength and your needs. This is a great exercise for strengthening the glutes, which then stabilize your pelvis and hips as you walk or run. When everything works together like this, there’s more stability in the knee joint.
To do this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and place the resistance band around your ankles. Get into a slight squat position and slowly walk sideways for 10 steps and back the other way for 10 steps. Repeat this two or three times.
The quadriceps is a group of four muscles in the thigh that help support the knee. Stretch them after walking around for a few minutes and warming them up. Never stretch them when they’re cold, because you could cause an injury.
To do this exercise, hold on to a wall or the back of a sturdy chair for balance if needed. Bend one leg back toward your bottom and grab your ankle to help pull it closer. You’ll feel the stretch in the front of your leg.
Use a stability ball to complete this exercise. Place the ball against your lower back and against a wall. Bring your feet hip-distance apart and step out. Bend with your hips and knees and feel the ball moving down the wall. Slowly move back up. Repeat this for three sets of 10 repetitions.
Lunges can be done forward, backward, and side-to-side. Remember to always keep your knee in alignment with your toes. If doing a forward lunge, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step forward, then bend both knees and slowly lower your hips to the ground. Focus on remaining stable as you complete 10 lunges, three times.
These are easy to do anywhere, and they help with balance and stability. Put your weight onto your toes and lift your feet off the ground. Repeat 10 times to complete a set, and aim for three sets.
If you do the quadriceps stretch you must do the hamstring stretch to keep both muscle groups evenly stretched and limber. If your hamstring is too tight, it could make the back of your knee hurt.
Work the hamstring by sitting tall and stretching your legs out in front of you. Keep your feet straight, not flexed, and reach out toward them. You should feel the stretch in the back of your leg. Another variation of this is to lie on the floor, keep your legs straight, and use a towel around your foot to pull your leg closer.
This is exactly what it sounds like. You step up onto a sturdy metal box, a platform, or a chair, and back down again. Do 10 repetitions, three times.
By adding these seven exercises into your routine a few times a week, you keep your knee joints strong and help prevent a sports injury like a torn meniscus. If you need surgery, Dr. Nolan offers knee arthroscopy and many other orthopedic procedures in our state-of-the-art office. Request an appointment online or call 281-720-6910 today.