6 Exercises for Knee Arthritis

By Ehren Allen, PT/Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist

Knee arthritis needs to be treated medically.

Image of Knee Arthritis Pain.

How Does Knee Arthritis Affect Us?

Knee arthritis can be a nuisance.  It can also be life changing.  The problem with arthritis in the knee is that it tends to worsen with overuse and underuse.  Most of the time, knee arthritis causes pain while squatting, climbing stairs, or rising from a chair.  As arthritis worsens, the knee can become stiff and even deformed.  But, there are exercises that can help with the pain of knee arthritis.

Top 6 Exercises for Knee Arthritis

  1. Quad Sets: Tighten the front of the thigh with the leg straight and resting on a surface. Hold the contraction for 10 seconds as hard as you can.  Repeat 10 times (the knee should be completely straight if possible).
  2. Hamstring stretch: Lie on your back and raise one leg toward the ceiling.  Lock your hands behind your thigh and extend the knee until you feel a stretch behind the thigh.  Hold for 30 seconds, 3 times.
  3. Straight Leg Raise. Perform the quad set, but this time lift the leg about 12 inches off the surface while maintaining the contraction. Repeat 10 times.
  4. Side leg raise. Lie on your side, keep the top leg straight and lift it about 12 inches. Repeat 10 times.  (be careful to not roll backwards)  This exercise works on hip strength which is vital to control the knee with daily activity.
  5. Squats. Only do squats if there is no pain.  Gently bend the hips and knees in standing.  Stick your butt back and keep the knees behind your toes.  Do not go too low or cause pain.  Also, do not let the knees come together while squatting.  Repeat 10 times.
  6. Cycling. Riding a stationary bike is a great way to get cardiovascular exercise without placing excessive forces on the knee. Start slow and gradually increase resistance and duration.  Make sure that you are cleared by you physician for cardiovascular exercise.

JOI Fracture and Injury Care

JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP fracture and injury care. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. To learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000.


Exercise is vital to control the pain of knee arthritis.  Proper hip and knee muscle balance, control and flexibility can slow the progression of knee arthritis and decrease pain.

Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician

Book An Appointment with a JOI Knee Physician.

Ehren Allen, PT, COMT

Image of Ehren Allen, PT, COMT – Content Writer

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