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Looking for knee pain stretches? Try these three effective ones

Woman with knee pain

Search engine results are awash with advice about effective stretches for knee pain, so what makes this post any different from the thousands of others out there? It’s backed by the knowledge built up by more than 400 physical therapists.

Physical therapists are trained to treat many types of musculoskeletal pain, including knee pain. That’s one reason why they can so effectively help many of the 40 million Americans who report having knee pain annually. Here are three of the stretches that many physical therapists may use for knee pain:

  1. Standing calf stretch

Purpose: Tightness in your calf muscles can cause your knees to take on more stress when you move, which can increase your pain. The standing calf stretch is designed to reduce calf muscle tension and decrease knee stress and pain.

How to perform the standing calf stretch:

  • Place your hands on a wall at about shoulder height.
  • Take one step backward with your affected leg.
  • Keeping your back straight, push your heel down into the floor until you feel a stretch in your calf. You can also bend your other knee to tilt your body forward and increase the stretch.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Switch legs and stretch your unaffected leg for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat the stretch until you’ve done it two to three times on each leg.

2. Figure four stretch

Purpose: The figure four stretch can be helpful for knee pain sufferers because it’s designed to stretch the buttock muscles and reduce strain on the quads and knees. This can result in reduced knee pain.

How to perform the figure four stretch:

  • Lie down on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent.
  • Cross your affected ankle over your other knee.
  • Clasp your hands around the back of your unaffected thigh.
  • Gently pull your leg toward your chest until you feel a stretch in your affected buttock.
  • Hold this stretch for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Switch legs and use the same steps to stretch your other buttock.
  • Stretch both sides until you’ve targeted each one two to three times.

3. Supine hamstring stretch

Purpose: Tight hamstrings are a common factor in people who are experiencing knee pain, and the supine hamstring stretch can be useful for easing hamstring tightness and decreasing knee pain.

How to perform the supine hamstring stretch:

  • Lie down on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent.
  • Slowly raise your affected leg toward your chest until you can clasp your hands behind your thigh.
  • Straighten your leg as much as you can; then slowly pull your leg toward your chest.
  • Stop when you feel a moderate stretch in the back of your thigh.
  • Hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Return your affected leg to the starting position, and stretch your other leg.
  • Your goal should be to do the stretch two to three times for each leg.

Agile Virtual PT offers stretches and other treatment options for your knee pain

Stretches for knee pain can be useful, but they’re far from the only treatment options that physical therapists offer for this issue. At Agile Virtual PT, our team of more than 400 licensed clinicians can build you a personalized plan to address knee pain. It’s easy to start getting our help for your knee pain. You just have to sign up for a free virtual screening with us.

Contact our team today for more information about our knee pain treatment services or to schedule your free virtual screening.