The knee is a hinge joint that moves the lower leg forward and backward. These motions are called flexion and extension; they result from the contraction of several leg muscles. The quadriceps are the large leg muscles on the front of the thigh that are mainly responsible for extension, and the hamstrings are the muscles found on the back of the thighs that are mainly responsible for flexion.
When you have knee pain, it is important to build these muscles up, along with other stabilizers, to help take stress off your joints. Thigh strengthening exercises for knee pain can be done right from the comfort of your home. If your pain doesn't improve or interferes with daily tasks, see a health care professional who can prescribe physiotherapy exercises for knee pain.
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1. Partial Wall-Squat
Execute a partial squat with the help of a wall to strengthen leg muscles.
HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your back to a wall and your hands at your sides. Step your feet forward slightly and spread them shoulder-width apart. Slide down the wall until your legs are bent approximately 30 degrees. Stand back up. Repeat 10 to 12 reps.
2. Ankle Cuff Leg Extensions
Fasten a pair of ankle weights to your lower legs to do leg extensions as part of your thigh strengthening exercises for knee pain.
HOW TO DO IT: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Extend your right leg in front of your body until it is just short of lockout. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and lower it down to half way. Hold again for five to 10 seconds, and lift it back to the high point. Keep going from high point to mid point four to five times. Switch legs.
3. Supine Leg Lifts
Lie on your back to do leg lift holds. This exercise strengthens leg muscles that extend your knee.
HOW TO DO IT: Bend your right leg and place your foot flat on the floor. Lift your left leg up to the height of your right knee; hold it for three to five seconds. Lower your leg back down. Take a few breaths and repeat 10 to 12 times. Switch legs, and do another set. Wear the ankle weights for extra resistance.
4. Standing Hip Extension
Swing your leg behind your body to target your glutes.
HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet together and hold on to a stationary object for balance. Lift your right foot off the floor and raise your leg behind you in an arcing motion. Slowly lower it back down until it is right above the floor. Repeat. Perform 10 to 12 reps and switch legs. Wear the ankle weights for added resistance.
5. Standing Hamstring Curls
Brace the front of your thighs into a wall to do standing hamstring curls.
HOW TO DO IT: Keep your left foot planted as you lift your right foot off the ground. Bring your heel toward your butt by bending your knee. Hold for five to 10 seconds. Lower your foot back down and repeat 10 to 12 times. Switch legs; do another set. Wear the ankle weights for this exercise.
6. Adductor Ball Squeeze
Squeeze a ball between your legs to work your adductors.
HOW TO DO IT: The adductors are stabilizing muscles found on the inside of the thighs. Sit in a chair, and place a medicine ball between your thighs right above your knees. Apply force into the ball and hold for five to 10 seconds.
7. Side-lying Hip Abduction
Lift your leg laterally to work your abductors. The abductors are the stabilizing muscles found on the outside of the hips.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie comfortably on your left side with your left leg bent and behind you. Straighten your right leg. Lift it up in the air. Hold for five to 10 seconds. Lower it back down. Repeat 10 to 12 times. Switch legs and do another set. Wear ankle weights for more resistance.
Perform three to four sets of your exercises and work out two to three times a week.