Knee pain is one of the most common problem areas we see at our clinics. We come across a lot of cases where the pain gradually creeps in with exercise or physical work so we have put together 3 simple things anyone can do to can improve knee pain and injury-proof you from future knee issues.
Strengthen the quadriceps muscle. More specifically the VmO, which is the inside part of the thigh (quadriceps) muscle and plays an important part in stabilising the knee and ensuring the knee-cap (patella) stays tracking correctly. One simple exercise you can do to improve the VmO is the straight leg raise.
The straight leg raise
Lay down on your back with your legs out straight. Tighten up your thigh muscle to lock one knee out straight and then raise that straight leg into the air as far as you can without letting the knee bend. Slowly lower the leg back down to the bed and repeat 10 times and repeat on the opposite side. Do this for 3 sets each day, before or after your workouts.
Stretch the popliteus muscle.
We consider this little known muscle to be the key in how the body controls the twisting and locking-out actions of the knee. It sits just behind the knee and can be a common source of pain at the back of the knee. Stretching out the popliteus can be a good way to relieve pain and improve the way the knee handles twisting and actions that involve straightening out the leg.
To perform the stretch you will need a small step (a thick hardcover book will do). Place the step against a wall so it won’t move and place one foot on the block so the heel is on the ground and the feet on the step. Straighten out the knee as far as you can and then slowly move your hip forward until you feel a stretch at the back of the knee. Hold this for 20 seconds and repeat 5 times on each leg.
At the end of the day the knee is really just a hinge and goes where the hip tells it to. So making sure your glute muscles around the hip work properly to keep the knee in the right alignment is probably the number one thing we find has been missed in many knee rehab program. One simple and effective exercise is the side lying clams.
You can do this with a resistance band wrapped around your thighs just above your knee. Lay down on the opposite side to the one you want to work on with your knees and hips slightly bent. Open your hips out by lifting the knee up while keep your feet together. Pause at the top then repeat 10 times and do the same on the opposite side. Do this for 3 sets.
These exercises can make a difference sooner than you expect however like with most things, to keep your knees in the best shape you need to include it as part of an overall fitness program. If you do need more help, just let us know!
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