Knee pain can strike you whether you're young or old, fit or flabby. Although increasing your leg muscles' strength and flexibility helps alleviate some forms of knee pain, certain stretches may be uncomfortable. The traditional quad stretch of pulling your heel to your rear end is excellent for loosening the quads, but can be too much strain on bad knees. To keep your quads supple without agony, concentrate on stretches that are easier on your knees.
Standing Quad Stretch
In this stretch, tilting your pelvis creates a pleasant release along the length of your quads. Stand with your feet about hip width apart. Step about 16 inches forward with your right foot and create a slight bend in the knees. Your hands can be on your hips or at your sides. In this position, tilt your pelvis forward and contract your buttock muscles. You should feel a stretch in your left quadriceps muscles. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and then switch legs.
The Low Lunge
This stretch, also known as the crescent lunge, is a yoga pose that gently stretches your quads. Get in position by kneeling onto a yoga mat or rug. Step the right leg forward so the right foot is flat on the ground and the leg is bent at a 90-degree angle. To protect your joint, keep your shin perpendicular to the floor and never push the knee forward of the ankle. Now, slide your left leg back with the top of foot on the floor until you feel a stretch in your left quad. You can place your hands on your right thigh for stability or you can raise them overhead and lean slightly back to complete the pose. Hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds, then switch legs.
This stretch not only feels great along your quads, but improves your balance. Stand with your feet together. Lean slightly forward and rest your right hand on a counter for stability. Extend your left leg back and grab the ankle with your left hand. Do not pull the foot toward your rear end; instead, keep the left leg bent at a 90-degree angle. In this position, straighten your right leg without locking it. If you feel comfortable, raise your hand off the support and angle your right arm upward. Hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds and then switch sides. As your balance improves, you won't need to use the support.
To avoid further injury to your knee, you must stretch wisely. Since stretching cold muscles can harm the muscles around the knee, warm up with gentle exercise such as walking for at least 5 minutes before stretching. To get the most out of your stretches, hold them for at least 15 seconds and repeat each stretch two to four times. In the stretched position, do not bounce; instead, hold the position steady to reduce the chance of injury.