Stretching Exercises for the Knees
By Stephen R. Farris
It doesn't matter how old you are or what you do or a living -- working on a ranch or farm, downtown at an office, mechanic or playing sports in school or for recreation -- there will be a point in life where you'll experience knee pain. It could be due to an injury or from overusing it. It might be a medical condition you have, such as osteoarthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, a meniscus tear -- a lot of younger athletes can experience this as well as older adults -- or torn ligaments.
Hopefully, whatever your condition, maybe it won't require surgery. But for preventing or managing knee pain, even after a surgery, there are some exercises you can do to maintain or build up strength and/or help to return you to your normal routine.
Authorities on the subject of knee pain recommend doing lower body exercises to help improve knee mobility and range. You can also use non-impact machines like a stationary bike or elliptical machine to warm up before doing stretching exercises. Here's a few you might want to try.
Stretching for Calves and Heels
These mainly target the calve muscles and can be done standing, while facing a wall. Place your hands on the wall, moving one foot back but make sure it feels comfortable to you. Make sure your toes are pointed towards the wall and your heels flat on the floor or ground -- depending on if you are doing these outdoors or not -- and your knee should be slightly bent. Lean in towards the wall and hold that position for at least 30 seconds. You should feel the stretch in the back of your leg. Alternate legs and repeat.
These are pretty easy unless you deal with balance issues. Stand up straight. Bend your foot up and reach back with your hand and grasp your ankle. Hold for 30 seconds, then alternate. You should feel a stretching sensation in your thigh muscle and your glutes. You may also use a chair or table for support while doing them.
This can be done lying down on your back on a flat surface. Raise your leg straight up into the air, reach out with both hands and grab the back of your thigh. Gently pull the leg towards your head and hold the position for 30 seconds. Alternate legs. This exercise will help stretch the hamstring muscle located on the back of your upper leg.
These few should get you started. Talk with your local chiropractor to learn about more leg stretching exercises that you can do.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Amarillo, Tex.