Whether it's "runner's knee", arthritis or iliotibial band syndrome, pain in and around your knee cap can slow you down. The patella, or knee cap, sits over the femur and tibia and all three bones are connected by cartilage, ligaments and tendons, any one of which can be compromised by natural causes or overuse. Consult with your doctor to determine the cause for your knee pain and whether stretching is right for you.
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Which Muscles to Stretch
The muscles which affect the knee joint are the quadriceps on the front of the thigh, the hamstrings on the back of the thigh, and the iliotibial band which runs along the outside of the thigh. Tightness in the calf muscle can also negatively affect your knee. Stretching the muscles surrounding the knee can help to prevent knees.
Stretch your quadriceps muscles after a proper warm-up. Stand near a wall with one hand on the wall for support. Transfer your weight onto one foot. Lift the other foot off the ground, bending your knee. Grab your ankle and pull your foot toward your rear end. Make sure to keep the knee of the leg you are standing on slightly bent. Point the knee of the leg you are stretching straight towards the ground. Repeat on the other side.
Find a ledge, couch or chair that is hip-height or lower. Standing on one foot, place your other foot on your prop. Keep the knee of your standing leg slightly bent. Point the knee of the leg you are stretching straight up toward the ceiling, with your foot relaxed. Bend forward, reaching for your ankle and aiming your nose to your knee. Do not allow the knee of the leg you are stretching to bend at all. Make sure to stretch the other leg too.
Stand with your left foot crossed in front of your right. Point your toes straight forward. With your right hand stretched down along your right thigh and fingers pointing to the ground, reach your left hand over head and lean over to the right side. Jut your left hip out slightly to deepen the stretch. If you need more of a stretch, stand near a wall or grab a railing and jut the hip out even a little further. Complete all steps to the other side.
Facing a wall, place both hands against it and stretch one foot behind you. Make sure the toe of the extended foot is pointing straight ahead and the knee of that leg is straight. Leaning your body weight toward the wall, press your heel into the ground. Hold this position for 30 to 45 seconds. Then bend the knee of the extended leg and hold that position for another 30 to 45 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.