5 Easy Stretches to Alleviate Knee Pain
Got knee pain? You're in good company. Unfortunately knee pain is fairly common and can affect a wide range of individuals, from advanced athletes to older individuals, says Steve Knauf, DC, executive director of chiropractic and compliance at The Joint Chiropractic in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Knee pain can come on suddenly, or develop over time and hurt for an extended period. While there are numerous causes of knee pain, Knauf lists the most common as muscle weakness, referred pain from the low back or hip, arthritis, foot issues such as flat feet, direct trauma, poor alignment, poor body posture, auto accidents, excess weight for your body type, and overuse.
If you're dealing with knee pain, identifying the cause is crucial. "That pain can involve structures beyond your knee, and by knowing the cause, you can treat that instead of simply treating your symptoms," Knauf says. So talk to your doctor before starting any exercise or stretching routine if you're in significant pain in the knee area.
Once you have the all-clear, though, certain everyday stretches can help relieve knee pain. Many of these stretches actually involve the ankle and hip joints, which might sound odd at first, until you learn why. "When you have knee pain, the cause of that pain is often a byproduct of the inefficiency of another part of the body, common culprits being the ankle and hip joints," explains Mara Kimowitz, owner of StretchSource in Boonton, N.J. When either the ankle or hip joint (the adjacent joints on either side of the knee joint) lacks a healthy range of motion, then undue pressure, torque, and work are put on the knee joint. This results in overuse, damage, and pain. But by having a healthy range of motion in both the ankle and hip joints, you can directly impact the health of the knee.
Here, Kimowitz outlines five basic stretches you can do as part of a regular stretching routine or on an as-needed basis in order to relieve pain and strain on the knees. Because prevention is the key to staying injury free and pain free, you can (and should!) do these stretches several times every week.