A program that includes stretching can help increase knee strength and mobility. You can try exercises that work the glutes, hamstrings, and abductors to reduce soreness and keep the muscles long and limber. This article looks at exercises and stretches as part of a program to reduce knee pain. It also explores other treatments and explains when to see a doctor.

Can stretching relieve knee pain?

Knee pain can occur due to conditions such as arthritis or injuries such as tears in the tendons, ligaments or menisci that support the knee or a dislocation. A medical professional or physical therapist can assess and diagnose knee pain and may recommend that a person perform stretching as part of their rehabilitation.

Specific knee stretches and exercises can improve knee strength and flexibility, which helps people return to daily activities and live more active lives.

Strengthening the muscles that support the knee, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves, can reduce stress on the knee joint, while stretching to improve flexibility can help reduce soreness muscles and stiffness. Stretching exercises can be helpful for people with knee osteoarthritis, especially when done alone without other exercises.

What are the best stretches for knee pain?

The following stretches can strengthen knee joints and improve flexibility after injury or surgery. People with knee pain or injuries should always consult a medical professional before trying any new exercises. Better to warm up with activities such as walking or stationary cycling for 5-10 minutes before doing knee exercises. Then she advises performing the following knee conditioning program 2-3 days a week for about 4-6 weeks.

1. Straight leg lift

The person should feel that this exercise works the front of the thigh and strive to do 3 sets of 10 repetitions, 4 or 5 days a week. As a person gets stronger, they can use an ankle weight or ask a trainer how to perform a similar exercise on a weight machine.

Lie on your back, keeping the affected leg straight, and bend the knee of the opposite leg.
Contract the thigh muscles of the affected leg and raise it slowly, in a controlled manner, to the height of the other knee.
Engage and contract the thigh muscles and hold the position for 5 seconds.
Relax and bring the extended leg back to the floor.

2. Standing calf stretch

A person should do this exercise against a wall and should feel the stretch in the calf muscle and the heel. Aim for 2 sets of 6 reps, 6 or 7 days a week.

Stand facing a wall with the unaffected leg forward and slightly bent at the knee.
Keep the other leg straight behind, with the heel flat on the ground and the toes pointing slightly inward.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, keeping your hands on the wall for support, then release for 30 seconds. Don’t arch your back.

3. Supine Hamstring Stretch

The person should feel this stretch in the back of their thighs and behind their knees. Repeat 2 or 3 times, 4 or 5 days a week.

Lying on the floor with your legs bent, lift one leg off the floor and bring it back towards your chest. Grasp the hands at the thigh, not the knee joint.
Straighten the same leg, gently pulling it toward your head until you feel a stretch.
Use a towel or band around the thigh if you cannot grasp the leg.
Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds, then repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.

4. Calf Raise

The person needs a chair to support this exercise and needs to feel it in their calf muscles. Aim for 2 sets of 10 reps, 6 or 7 days a week.

Hold on to the back of a chair and stand upright with the weight evenly distributed.
Put the weight on the foot of the affected knee while lifting the other foot off the floor.
Raise the heel of the foot off the ground as high as you can, then slowly lower it, keeping the weight centered on the ball of the foot.

5. Half squats

The person should feel this stretch in the back of the thighs and in the buttocks. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions, 4 or 5 days a week.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding on to a chair if necessary.
Keep the chest lifted and slowly lower the hips about 15 cm, as if you were sitting in a chair. Do not bend the waist.
Put the weight in the heel and hold the squat for 5 seconds.
Push through the heels and raise the body to a standing position.

6. Hip abduction

You should feel this exercise in your thigh and buttocks and strive to do 3 sets of 20 reps, 4 or 5 days a week.

Lie on your side with the injured leg on top and the other bent leg below.
Raise the top leg to 45 degrees, keeping the knee straight but not locking or rotating it.
Hold for 5 seconds, then lower the leg and relax for 2 seconds before repeating.

When to contact a doctor

A doctor or physical therapist should be contacted if pain persists or worsens knee pain. It is always advisable to check any exercise with a medical professional before starting it, especially if the person is suffering from an injury or pain.


Knee conditioning exercises can help strengthen the knee and therefore relieve pressure and pain. Stretching can also increase mobility and reduce stiffness. Experts recommend performing regular knee conditioning exercises for 4-6 weeks, but people with knee pain should always consult a medical professional before starting a new exercise program.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.