9 Feel-So-Good Stretches For Knee Pain

Get that lower body loosened up.

Trainers share their go-to stretches for knee pain relief.
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Knee pain has many causes, including doing “too much too soon” in workouts, says physical therapist Heather Jeffcoat, DPT. On the flip side, sitting for long periods of time can also cause your joints to stiffen up. Enter: Stretches for knee pain to help get you back on track.

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Quad Stretch

Stretching your quads will work your knees through their full range of motion and alleviate pain, Jeffcoat says.

1. Hold onto a wall for balance, bend one knee.

2. Grab your ankle.

3. Keep your knee aligned with the other thigh. Hold for 5 slow breaths.

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Hamstring Stretch

Jeffcoat recommends doing stretches like this twice a day to keep knee aches at bay.

1. Place heel against a step. Keep your body tall.

2. Hinge forward from hip. Stop when you feel a stretch in back of thigh.

3. Hold for 5 breaths.

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Prone Hamstring Stretch

Physical therapist Dr. Kristen Gasnick, DPT suggests this pose to get the back of your thighs.

1. Lie on your back. Loop a band or towel around foot.

2. Keep knee locked and lift leg as much as you can until you feel a stretch.

3. Hold for 30 sec. per leg.

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Crescent Lunge

Sitting all day can cause tight hips and glutes, which affects the knees, says physical therapist Chad Walding, DPT. This pose stretches both muscle groups.

1. Lunge forward, place knee on ground.

2. Lift arms up and back.

3. Squeeze glutes.

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Calf Stretch

Physical therapist Katie van den Heuvel, DPT says stretches should feel “challenging but comfortable.” Loosening your calf releases tension that causes knee aches.

1. Face a wall in a lunge position, one leg forward.

2. Keep both heels down to feel stretch in calf.

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Wall Stretch

This pose stretches the upper and outer side of your knee and thigh, says van den Heuvel. Bend slightly forward to make it more intense.

1. Stand next to a wall.

2. Cross your outer leg over the standing leg.

3. Lean hips toward the wall. Do 30 sec. per side.

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Half Kneel

This lets you stretch the front of the hip, van den Heuvel says, which can reduce knee pain.

1. Start in a half-kneeling position on the floor.

2. Lean slightly forward over the front leg and squeeze glutes.

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“This activates hip abductors,” says Alexa Rohach, DPT, which keeps knees in alignment (and less achey).

1. Lie on side with a band legs just above knees, knees bent at 90 degrees.

2. With hips stacked & heels together, lift top knee to ceiling.

3. Lower and repeat.

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Strong leg muscles also help reduce knee pain, Rohach says. Bridges help with that.

1. Lie on mat with knees bent, feet shoulder-width apart.

2. Push through heels and lift hips up, moving knees slightly outward. Add a band for extra resistance.

4. Slowly lower & repeat.

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