Exercises to Alleviate Knee Pain

Knee pain can be hard to cope with, as this joint is used almost constantly. Anyone who's ever had knee pain will know, it makes it very difficult to enjoy and safely perform most sports. 
Exercises to Alleviate Knee Pain

Last update: 15 August, 2018

Knees are an important but delicate joint, as they give you the mobility you need to walk, but they also have to support nearly your entire body weight. Every component of this amazing combination of bones, cartilage, ligaments and muscles, needs to be in optimal condition for the joint to function well.

Knee pain is very common, unsurprisingly, as the knees are one of the most used joints in the body. They’re used every day for a myriad of movements. Walking, sitting, getting up, jumping, running… all require well-working knees. Therefore, it’s very important to care take care of your knees. Keep reading to learn a few common causes of knee pain -and exercises to keep them healthy.

Cause and effect

Knee pain doesn’t just appear from nowhere. Like everything else, it has a cause. Knowing what causes knee pain is important, as it can help you to avoid situations that can injure your knees in the first place. Some factors that can contribute to knee pain are:

  • Weight: when standing, your knees bear most of your body weight. Being overweight puts more stress on your knees and can cause pain.
  • Lack of activity: for example, if you work in an office and spent most of the day sitting, your knees can be sore from the lack of activity.
  • Wear: the opposite of the above, is also true. Excess use can cause wear and tear on the knee joints.
  • Age: as you age, the bones and ligaments around your knees can lose strength, but staying active and continuing to exercise can slow the process.
  • Incorrect movement: certain movements are actually harmful to your knees. Learning how your knees work will help you to avoid any movements that might hurt them.
incorrect movement can cause knee pain

Now that you know the possible causes of knee pain, try some of the following exercises to keep your knees strong and healthy.

Air bike

This exercise is just like riding a bicycle… without the bicycle! This simple exercise is great for your knees, as it improves mobility, and strengthens your muscles and ligaments. On top of that, it takes very little time or equipment. Just lie face-up on a flat surface, (such as a bed or a yoga mat) and raise your legs until your hips and knees are bent at 90 degree angles, and your calves are parallel to the bed or the floor. Then, just move your legs as if you were pedaling a bike.

Exercise can help strengthen sore knees

Lying on your back with your legs in the air will keep your body weight off of your knees, making this a very low-impact exercise, that’s ideal for sore knees. It’s a great exercise to do first thing in the morning to wake up your muscles, and as well as right before bed to help you relax. On top of that, the air bike also works your abdominal muscles, so you can sneak in an ab workout while you’re strengthening your knees!

Eye of the needle

Eye of the needle is a yoga pose, also known as Sucirandhrasana in Sanskrit. This position is beneficial for the legs, ligaments and knee ball joints. To get into this pose, lay down on your back, raise your knees to your chest, then place your left arm on your right thigh. Allow your left knee to move to one side, then place your hands behind your right thigh and gently pull it to your chest.

This position opens the hips, stretches your leg, and rotates and exercises the kneecap. Don’t forget to do the pose on both sides to help both of the knees. This yoga pose is a great way to relax your legs, body, and mind after a long day

Go swimming!

Swimming is a very enjoyable exercise, no matter if you use the freestyle, butterfly, backstroke, or another stroke. And it’s a great way strengthen your knees, because they can go through their full range of motions in a low-impact environment, as your body weight is almost entirely supported by the water. On top of that, this enjoyable exercise can help you to have healthy, toned legs.

Swimming is a great exercise to help relieve knee pain

Swimming also improves flexibility, coordination and your cardiovascular fitness. Not only that, it prevents osteoporosis in women, and defines muscles in men. It’s great for your knees and the rest of your body too!


Stretches, especially stretching the backs of your knees, improves tendon and joint flexibility, and reduces pain. Improving tendon flexibility will improve knee flexibility. And one beneficial stretch is very simple: sit with your back straight and slowly bring your chest to your knees until you can touch your toes, or hold on to your feet, and hold the position for a few deep breaths, before releasing.

Stretching also oxygenates the muscles and increases the blood flow. It’s recommended to do this stretch about ten times, right after getting up in the morning, or as a warm-up before any exercise that uses your knees.

Don’t ignore symptoms

The knee is the largest joint in the body. Don’t ignore knee pain, instead, try these exercises, and seek medical help if your symptoms don’t improve. Take care of your knees, they support almost all of your entire body weight, and are vital to preforming sports or activities.

A healthy, balanced diet is also important when avoiding knee pain, as well as good heath in general. Diets rich in protein will help maintain strong ligaments, cartilage and muscle. While consuming dairy, will provide calcium for strong bones. Remember, no matter what sport or activity you enjoy, you certainly need healthy knees, take care of them!


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Kan, Laidi, et al. “The effects of yoga on pain, mobility, and quality of life in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2016 (2016).
  • Lu, Meili, et al. “Effectiveness of aquatic exercise for treatment of knee osteoarthritis.” Zeitschrift für Rheumatologie 74.6 (2015): 543-552.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.