Knee mobility is one of those things you don’t really think about until you lose it. If you suddenly have knee stiffness that makes it tough to walk, get up out of a chair, or bend down to pet your dog, no worries. There are a few exercises that can help you get your joints back on track.
Essentially, knee mobility refers to how far your knee can move as it bends and straightens, says Helen O'Leary, a physiotherapist and director of Complete Pilates. “Mobility is important as the bend helps you get up stairs, up hills, into deep sofas, or down onto the floor,” she tells Bustle. On the flip side, the knee’s ability to fully straighten is what helps you push off the ground as you’re walking or running so you can move efficiently, O’Leary says.
If you have knee stiffness, a trip to the doctor will be a good place to start so they can check for issues like meniscal tears, bursitis, or arthritis, O’Leary says. But if the problem is just everyday knee tightness — where your knee doesn’t bend properly or move as freely as it did before — then O’Leary recommends doing knee mobility exercises at home most days of the week to strengthen your muscles, increase flexibility, and improve your range of motion. Here’s how to get started.
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