Knee Physio Exercises

Updated April 17, 2017

The knee is vulnerable to injury because it is used extensively. It is a complex hinge joint composed of four bones: the femur or long bone in the thigh, the tibia or shin bone, the fibula in the lower leg and the patella (knee cap). The bones that make up the knee joint are bound together by muscles, ligaments and tendons. Strains and tears to the ligaments and muscles in the knee joint occur due to falls, accidents, sports injuries, overuse and osteoarthritis. Physiotherapy exercises for the knee help prevent and treat knee injuries and pain by strengthening the muscles and ligaments to better support the knee. Individuals with knee injuries and pain should perform these exercises under the supervision of a physician or physiotherapist.

Heel Slides

This exercise is recommended by David Edell, a sports therapist in Richmond, Texas, to strengthen the muscles and ligaments of the knee joint. To do the heel slides, the patient sits on a smooth surface with the knees bent and her feet flat on the floor. Then, she pulls the heel of the injured leg as close to her buttocks as possible. Then, the patient slides her foot down on its heel to slowly extend the leg, using her hands to gently press the knee down. This exercise is repeated 20 to 30 times, two to three times a day.

Leg Raises

This exercise is recommended to strengthen and the quadriceps muscles for improved knee support. The quadriceps muscles extend from the upper thigh to the knee joint. The patient lies face-up on a floor mat with a round pillow or a rolled up towel beneath the knees. Next, he raises his heels slightly off the mat while keeping the back of the knee touching the pillow. The patient keeps his heels raised for a count of three to five and then lowers them to repeat the exercise. This movement causes the thigh muscles to tense and stretch and strengthen the knee joint.

Prone Knee Bends

This physiotherapy exercise helps to keep the knee joint strong and flexible in patients who experience pain when walking and climbing stairs. The patient lies on her stomach on a floor mat with her legs extended. Then she raises one leg while bending the knee as far as possible. The patient holds this position for five seconds before relaxing and repeating the exercise 10 to 15 times with each knee.

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About the Author

Noreen Kassem is a hospital doctor and a medical writer. Her articles have been featured in "Women's Health," "Nutrition News," "Check Up" and "Alive Magazine." Kassem also covers travel, books, fitness, nutrition, cooking and green living.