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Best Exercises to Relieve Knee Pain

If you suffer from knee pain, exercise may be the last thing on your mind. However, exercises may reduce the painful symptoms if you’re suffering from knee pain due to arthritis or knee injury like a meniscus tear. We consulted Dr Vijay Kumar Sohanlal, a senior specialist in joint replacement and orthopaedics at MGM healthcare and Mahi Clinic in Chennai, for his expert advice on the best exercises to relieve knee pain.    

Several exercises can reduce knee pain, but they should be performed after consultation with your healthcare expert. As a thumb rule, you should discontinue the exercise if you feel discomfort or there is an increase in pain. Also, have a yoga mat or some other cushioning mat when doing these exercises.

Strengthening Exercises

Dr Kumar mentioned that when you exercise the muscles around the knee, it reduces the stress on the knee joint. So, it may be helpful if you incorporate the exercises that focus on your hamstrings and hip muscles.

You can target your glutes and quadriceps (quads) without straining your knees through half squats. Make sure you understand the posture properly from a trained coach. Static quadriceps exercises can be done by keeping a folded towel underneath your knee and pressing it and a stepper exercise where you stand on one leg over the brick or staircase step. Heel raise is another exercise that can be beneficial. This is a simple exercise that requires you to stand straight on the ground and then raise both of your heels till you are on the padded area (ball of the feet) before the toes. The muscles at the back of your thighs are called hamstrings and they are involved in bending your knees. You can do hamstring curls to target these muscles and make them stronger.

Usually, leg extensions are done using weight machines, but you should do them without any additional weight while sitting on a chair. You work on your quads when you do this exercise. Some other exercises are straight leg raise and side leg raise.  


This one requires no introduction and can be done almost anywhere. Walking helps you in rebuilding joints and strengthening your legs.

Stretching Exercises

Apart from strengthening your muscles, it is helpful to make them more flexible. This is achieved by including hamstring stretches, calf and quad stretches.

Swimming Exercises

This is an excellent exercise as your knees are not strained by your body weight. Water is more resistive than air, so your muscles work harder without hurting. Doing so regularly can tone up the muscles around the knees, giving the much-needed strength to your knees.

Dr Sohanlal explained that if the pain or stiffness affects your normal movement, it’s best to consult an orthopaedic doctor to prevent further damage. The pain could be due to a condition that requires expert intervention. Dr Sohanlal mentioned that it could be a ligament injury, knee-cap damage, synovitis, osteoarthritis, or any other condition that may not be clearly understood without proper diagnosis Dr Sohanlal advises that there are many more exercises that can help improve joint strength, but it’s always better to get a proper diagnosis before starting therapy. He has been providing orthopaedic treatment to patients who consult him for knee pain related to a meniscus tear, ligament injury, osteoarthritis or just overuse. He says, sometimes a simple physical therapy can heal his patients and at other time surgery may be required. So, the first step recommended is to consult an orthopaedic expert like Dr Sohanlal and ensure a safe recovery.

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