Prevent Knee Pain By Strengthening Muscles With Squats & Step-Ups

Prevent Knee Pain By Strengthening Muscles With Squats & Step-Ups

Knee pain is very debilitating, making it hard to navigate stairs or perform activities of daily living. Knee pain has many sources but common causes include arthritis or muscle imbalances in the hip and thigh.

Many people turn to surgery or medication to treat knee pain. A healthier and more effective approach is to strengthen the muscles around the hip and knee joints.

For example, one study of elderly people with arthritis-related knee pain showed that squat training resulted in less pain, better balance, and faster walking speed. Participants also had less chronic inflammation that is associated with arthritis.

Other studies show that single-leg squats and step-ups are effective treatment for decreasing knee pain caused by muscular imbalances.

How can you strengthen the lower body muscles to reduce knee pain?

If you’re able to bend the knee without pain, try stationary lunges (also known as split squats): Get into a lunge position and lower your back knee so that it is almost touching the ground. Then come back up and repeat. Start by elevating your front foot on a bench, box, or step to reduce the difficulty. The higher your front foot is, the easier the exercise.

Step-ups are another great exercise: Place one foot on a step or low box and step up, avoiding pushing off with the bottom foot (make the leg that is up on the stop do all the work). Lower yourself back to the ground slowly and under control.

If you are in severe pain when bending the knee, it’s recommended that you work with a physical therapist; however, here are a few exercises you can try: Side lying leg raises in which you lie on one side and raise and lower the top leg under control.

Iso quad holds have you lie on your back with your legs outstretched. Place a rolled towel or foam roller underneath your knees. Tighten your thigh muscle and hold the contraction for 5 seconds. Release and repeat 10 times each side.