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Best Exercises for Knee Pain Relief in Osteoarthritis
The quadriceps (or quads) describe the four muscles located on the front of the thigh. They contract together to help flex (or lift up) the hip and extend (or straighten) the knee. The quads often become weak after injury is sustained or surgery is performed on the lower leg or thigh. For this reason, it is important to learn how to strengthen this muscle group for a complete recovery.
People with certain conditions often exhibit quadriceps weakness. These conditions may include:
- Patellofemoral stress syndrome
- Iliotibial band friction syndrome
- Patellar tendonitis or tendinosis
Typically, a specific area of your quad called the vastus medialis obliqus (VMO) may be weak or inhibited from contracting properly in these conditions. Your PT can show you how to perform these quad exercises with a special focus on the VMO for maximal effect.
Some quad strengthening exercises place significant stress on your knee joint. Your physical therapist can show you ways to minimize joint stress while still strengthening your quadriceps. Be sure to check in with your doctor before starting these - or any other - exercises.
Reveiw these exercises for quad strengthening and get started on the road to stronger thighs.
2 Straight Leg Raises
Place a cuff weight around your ankle to add full resistance to your straight leg raising exercise.
The straight leg raising (SLR) exercise is a simple way to get your quad muscles working properly. Here is how the SLR is done.
- Lie on your back on a flat surface.
- Bend the knee of your uninvolved leg (the one that wasn't operated on) to a 90-degree angle, and keep your foot flat on the surface. Keep your involved leg straight without the knee bent.
- Slowly lift the involved leg 12 inches off the floor (by contracting the front thigh muscles). Hold for five seconds.
- Slowly lower your leg to the floor. Relax and repeat 10 to 15 times.
The knee of the raised leg should remain straight throughout this exercise. Focus on lifting by using the muscles on the front of your hip joint. This exercise can be made more challenging by placing a 2 or 3 pound cuff weight on your ankle before you lift.
3 Short Arc Quads
The short arc quad (SAQ) exercise is a great way to really focus in on properly contracting your quadriceps muscles. Here is how you do it:
- Lie on your back and use a small coffee can (or paper towel roll) to prop your knee up.
- Slowly straighten your bent knee until it is all the way straight.
- Tighten your quad muscle and hold it tight for 5 seconds.
- Slowly lower your leg down.
- Repeat for 15 repetitions.
4 Wall Slides
- Stand upright with your back against a wall and feet shoulder-width apart.
- Slowly bend your knees, sliding your back down the wall for a count of five until your knees are bent at a 45-degree angle. (Do not bend too much further than this, as it will cause increased strain on your knees.) Hold this position for 5 seconds.
- Straightening your knees by slowly sliding up the wall until you are fully upright with knees straight.
- Repeat the above steps 10 more times.
5 Terminal Knee Extension
Terminal knee extension (TKE) is a simple, yet effective, way to strengthen your quads in a standing position. The TKE is considered a functional exercise, as you quads will be working while supporting your body weight.
To perform the terminal knee extension exercise, you must first obtain a resistance band, like a Theraband, from your physical therapist. Once you have a band, you should be ready to start the exercise. Here's how you do it:
- Tie your resistance band around a stable object so it is anchored around the height of your knee. (The leg of a table is a good place.)
- Step into the loop with the leg you wish to exercise.
- Face the anchor point with the resistance band looped around your knee and your knee slightly bent.
- Slowly straighten your knee, placing tension on the band. The resistance band should provide some resistance as your try to fully straighten your knee.
- Once your knee is straight and the band has tension on it, hold the position for 3 seconds.
- Slowly allow your knee to bend slightly once again.
- Repeat the exercise for 15 repetitions.
Avascular necrosis of 4 th stage. Doctors have suggested me hip replacement. I took bisphosphonate injection but it did not help anything.
I have back pain and in a month am going to marry. Please suggest me something to get out of this problem and satisfy my wife.
I have rheumatoid arthritis and also copd. Slowly my right foot ankle started to change deform and unable to walk freely what is the medication to cure it. Other than surgery as I cannot stand to surgery.
I'm 23 years old. I've been sensing a problem since last week. I'm not able to sit for a longer period due to my back pain. If you could help, it would be good.
I have pain in my left heel when I start walking. I did not get any hurt. Pain started spontaneously 20 days ago. When I start walking then more pain feel. After 15 minute walking pain become slower and I can walk normal. Tell me medicine.
My 1.3 year old baby has made weight fall on his both legs, orthopedicIan said there is no fracture and given imol syrup but he is not able to walk properly. What to do. By when he will walk properly.
I have knee problem from last 3 years. And also have problem in my legs when I got long walk. What should I do for this?
I am 34years old male and have backache for last 2 months. What should I do? Actually I meet with an accident and then after I m having pain in my anklet too. Guide plz.
I am a 23 year old female. (5 feet 2 inches) I was diagnosed with scoliosis three years back and the doctors have suggested doing the spinal fusion surgery next month. My curve is at 40 degrees. Is the surgery necessary or will I be able to overcome it without the surgery. I do not experience pain normally. If I walk for a long period of time or if I do activities that put too much pressure on my back it hurts. But I do not experience unbearable pain of any sort.
I have the problem of PIVD-L4-L5 (L), which is detected 1 month back. Neuro surgeon advised surgery due to severity of clinical symptoms which is shown in MRI. As per advice of neuro surgeon I agreed to go for surgery and after PA-check up when I go to take date of operation, Surgeon had advised to wait for 6 month. My case in symptomatic, it is not severe but as per report it is severe. What should I do- (1) go for operation (2) try some others therapy like Naturopathy, homeopathy, yoga etc. (3) follow instruction of surgeon and wait for further status. (4) or others options which I couldn't mention. I am working in an environment where I have to be physically active and I can not avoid it. Please give me a suitable advice and method to treat my disease/problem.
My body joint is paining and body joint is not working properly. My body is feeling looseness and weakness. Can you help me and get a best solutions.
I experience numbness in my hands & legs early in the morning. Also suffer from backache and shoulder pain. Pls advise.
For many people, back pain seems like an unavoidable discomfort. But you may have more control than you think.
You can wreck your back in any number of ways, but a few major offenders stand out: not stretching, not paying attention to your movements and years of wear and tear, says nick shamie, md, associate professor of orthopedic neurosurgery at ucla and a spokesman for the American academy of orthopaedic surgeons.
Here are five habits that put your spine at risk and simple strategies to stop them before the damage is done.
Back wrecker #1: weekend warfare
'most often, I see people who injured themselves during a weekend basketball game or a round of golf' shamie says these people think they're athletes, but don't train like the pros, and as a result, their backs suffer'
Slideshow 10 health myths debunked start
Tackling those 'honey-do' lists at home can also set you up for injury, especially if you were idle for most of the week. Cleaning out the garage, bending over a workbench, or spending hours in the yard or garden can be just as hard on your back as anything you do on a playing field.
Prevent it'the only preventive solution I've found for back pain is exercise' says Michael Hisey, md, orthopedic surgeon and president of the texas back institute in Denton, texas's fix is to stretch and strengthen your core muscles'
The obliques -- the abdominal muscles on your sides -- are especially important for back stability, hisey tells webmd.
Hisey's tip: get an inflatable exercise ball. Use it in your workouts and sit on it, instead of a chair, to engage your abs.
Back wrecker #2: poor lifting technique
'improper bending and lifting causes back injury; that's all there is to it' says dan mcmackin, a spokesman for ups.
Prevent it: engage your abs to help support your back. Here are the basic principles that ups uses for safe lifting, according to mcmackin:
Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Don't bend at your waist.
Keep the object close to you. The farther away you hold it from your body, the more it stresses your back.
Never hold an item higher than your armpit or lower than your knees.
Don't move something that weighs more than 20% of your body weight.
Don't pivot, twist, or turn while lifting. Point your feet at the item you're lifting and face it as you pick it up. Change direction with your feet, not your waist.
Back wrecker #3: absentmindedness during daily activity
Simple tasks like taking out the trash or washing the dishes can get your spine bent out of shape if your body isn't ready.
'the movement doesn't necessarily have to be exaggerated or involve a heavy object' hisey says you can hurt your back grabbing a paperclip off the floor or loading the dishwasher'
And if your mind is running on auto-pilot instead of focusing on what you're doing, you could be in trouble.
'at ups, we've seen a higher proportion of injuries occur at the end of the shift, due to fatigue of the mind and body' mcmackin says.
Prevent it: train yourself to keep your core muscles engaged.
Slideshow: surprising reasons you're in pain start
A simple way to do that is to pull your navel toward your spine and imagine you're wearing a corset that pulls the sides of your abs inward. Doing that throughout the day -- and especially when lifting or bending -- strengthens and supports your back, says esther gokhale, author of8 steps to a pain-free back and owner of esther gokhale wellness center in palo alto, calif.
Back wreckers #4 and #5: commuting and computing
You sit, and you sit, and you sit some more -- at work, while driving, and in front of the tv. And your back doesn't like it. Here's why.
Your discs are spongy and cushion the vertebrae in your spine, but discs have poor blood supply, hisey says. When you move, fluid circulates through the discs. When you sit still, the fluid is wrung out, so you're depriving discs of nutrition, he says. Spending so much time behind the wheel of a car or sitting in front of a computer adds mileage to our discs, which leads to stress in your back.
'the discs in your spine are nourished by motion' hisey says'so sitting still is hard on your back and neck, and can do long-term damage' studies have also shown that sitting puts more pressure on your spine than lying down or standing up.
'the worst posture is sitting and leaning forward' shamie says. This makes you lock your pelvis and flex your spine, putting pressure on the front of the vertebrae, where your discs are. The more you arch forward and exaggerate the curve of the spine, the more pressure you're putting on your discs this uneven pressure on a disc puts it at high risk of rupture' shamie explains.
Back wreckers #4 and #5: commuting and computing continued.
Prevent it: you're going to sit. So try these tactics to lessen its impact on your back:
Get up and move at least once every 20 minutes, unless you're driving. Set your screen saver to remind you; make a habit of going for a drink of water; when you answer the phone, stand up to stretch and change positions.
Keep your spine properly aligned by holding reading material at eye level (when sitting or standing) rather than bending over. Don't lean over a desk or table to work. Whenever possible, your spine should be straight.
Choose a chair that supports your back. Adjust the chair so that your feet stay flat on the floor. If the chair doesn't support your lower back's curve, place a rolled towel or small pillow behind your lower back. Remove anything from your back pockets, especially a wallet, if you'll be seated for long periods of time because this puts your spine out of alignment.
Gokhale suggests doing the following exercises to help lengthen your spine:
Get on your hands and knees. Reach your left arm straight ahead and straighten your right leg behind you. Use your stomach muscles to stabilize. Hold for 5-10 seconds and slowly return to starting position. Switch arm and leg. Repeat 3-5 times on each side.
Sit tall, lengthen your spine, and let your shoulders relax. Concentrate on squeezing your shoulder blades together, keeping your arms hanging at your sides. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then release. Repeat 10-20 times.