If your patients are ever worried about the pain they are experiencing in their knees, tell them to relax. They simply are part of the nearly 50 million Americans who suffer from the same issue. Before your patient comes into your rehabilitation practice begging to see the Wizard of Oz, to fix their “Tin-Man” knees, teach them some simple and effective knee-soothing exercises they can do at home to help relieve the pain.
The reason knees are the most commonly injured part of the body is because of the strain they endure everyday. Think about all the weight and the exertion from simply walking up and down stairs– four times your body weight gets put on them! Therefore, heavier and older people have the worst knees. Then, there’s common sport-related injuries that can trouble even your young and healthy patients.
These knee exercises are the bee’s knees. Tell your patients about the stretches and routines that can alleviate their pain. Not only that but they will also be able to build up strength and prevent future injuries. Recommend that they try to get their knees moving minimum, 3-4 times a week. However, these stretches are actually safe enough to be done several times a day without causing problems.
What’s All the Buzz with Knee Stretches for Reducing Pain?
- Knee flexion: Sitting in a chair, loop a long towel under your foot (resting on the floor). Gently pull on the towel with both hands to bend the knee, raising your foot 4-5 inches off the floor. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then release. Repeat 5 times on each leg.
- Hamstring stretch: Standing, put one foot in front of you, toes up. With hands on the small of your back (or one hand holding a chair for balance), bend the opposite knee and hip (not your lower back), until you feel the hamstrings stretch. The upper body comes forward at the hip. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then release. Repeat 5 times on each leg.
- Chair knee extension: Sitting in a chair, rest your foot on another chair so the knee is slightly raised. Gently push the raised knee toward the floor using only leg muscles. Hold for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times on each leg.
- Heel slide knee extension: Lay on your back, with your left knee bent and left foot flat on the floor. Slowly slide the left heel away from your body so both legs are parallel. Hold for 5-10 seconds, return to starting position. Repeat 5 times on each leg.
(Note: Let patients know that it always is best to first consult a healthcare professional before beginning any exercise regimens on their own. A tear will not benefit from these stretches, in fact, it will become far worse so be sure that they know not to do any movements that will jeopardize their recovery. )
So before your patient hits the yellow-brick road running towards the Wizard of Oz or starts freaking out after watching an episode of Dr. Oz, teach them some of these handy little knee exercises.