20 Physiotherapy Exercises for Knee Pain

Subarna Debbarma (BPT, DNHE)

Keywords: Physiotherapy Exercises for Knee Pain, knee Physiotherapy Exercises, Knee Pain Exercises, physiotherapy exercises for knee

Table of content

  1. Introduction of Physiotherapy Exercises for Knee Pain
  2. 20 Best Effective Physiotherapy Exercises for Knee Pain
  3. Conclusion of Physiotherapy Exercise for Knee Pain

Introduction of Physiotherapy Exercises for Knee Pain

Knee pain is a condition that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Whether it's caused by an injury, arthritis, or overuse, knee pain can significantly impact your daily life.

Physiotherapy, with its focus on strengthening and rehabilitating the knee, can be a valuable tool in managing and alleviating knee pain.

Physiotherapy Exercises for Knee Pain

Here is some recent data on knee pain:

  • The global prevalence of knee osteoarthritis (OA) was 16% in people aged 15 and over, and 22.9% in people aged 40 and over.
  • The prevalence of knee pain was 46.2%, with 32.2% in men and 58.0% in women.
  • The overall prevalence of knee OA in India was 28.7%.
  • Frequent knee pain affects approximately 25% of adults.
  • The knee is the most frequently affected joint, with a prevalence of 365 million.

Factors associated with knee pain include: 

  • Female gender.
  • Obesity.
  • Old age.
  • Sedentary work.
  • Wear and tear associated with aging.

Knee pain can limit function and mobility, and impair quality of life. In this article, we'll introduce you to 20 effective physiotherapy exercises for knee pain, explaining how to perform them and the benefits they offer.

20 Best Effective Physiotherapy Exercises for Knee Pain

1. Straight Leg Raises

Straight Leg Raises
Photo source: The Mannual Therapist 

How to do it: 

Lie on your back with one leg straight and the other bent. Lift the straight leg, keeping the knee locked, and lower it back down.


This exercise strengthens the quadriceps muscles, which provide support to the knee joint.

2. Clamshells

Photo source: Spear Physical Therapy

How to do it: 

Lie on your side with knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Lift the top knee as high as you can while keeping your feet together.


Clamshells engage the hip muscles, which help stabilize the knee.

3. Mini Squats

Mini Squats
Photo source: vissco healthcare

How to do it: 

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and perform shallow squats.


Mini squats help improve knee joint flexibility and strengthen the muscles around the knee.

4. Wall Sits

Wall Sits
Photo source: Shape

How to do it: 

Lean against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees at a 90-degree angle.


Wall sits are excellent for strengthening the quadriceps and gluteal muscles, which support knee stability.

5. Step-Ups

Phone source: hotcore

How to do it: 

Step up onto a sturdy platform, alternating legs.


Step-ups build strength in the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, helping to improve balance and mobility.

6. Leg Press

Leg Press
Photo source: StengthLog

How to do it: 

Use a leg press machine to push a weighted platform with your feet.


Leg presses are an effective way to strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings without putting too much strain on the knees.

7. Heel Slides

Heel Slides
Photo source: BoneSmart

How to do it: 

Lie on your back and slide your heel along the floor towards your buttocks.


This exercise improves knee flexibility and helps alleviate stiffness.

8. Calf Raises

Calf Raises
Photo source: Runner's world

How to do it: 

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and raise up onto your toes.


Calf raises strengthen the calf muscles, which play a role in supporting the knee joint.

9. Hamstring Curls

Hamstring Curls
Photo source: Muscle & Strength 

How to do it: 

Use a hamstring curl machine or a resistance band to flex your knees against resistance.


Hamstring curls help strengthen the back of the thigh and improve knee stability.

10. Hip Abduction

Hip Abduction
Photo source: Rehab Hero

How to do it: 

Use a resistance band to lift your leg sideways while lying on your side.


Hip abduction exercises target the hip muscles, enhancing overall lower limb stability.

11. Balancing on One Leg

Balancing on One Leg
Photo source: Verywell Health

How to do it: 

Stand on one leg and hold for as long as possible.


This exercise improves balance and proprioception, which can prevent falls and further injury.

12. Quad Sets

Quad Sets
Photo source: Tikweb

How to do it: 

Sit with your legs extended and contract the quadriceps muscle.


Quad sets help rebuild muscle strength in the thigh.

13. Ankle Pumps

Ankle Pumps
Photo source: ReadyPatient

How to do it: 

Sit with your legs extended and flex and point your toes.


Ankle pumps help reduce swelling and improve circulation in the lower leg.

14. Seated Knee Extension

Seated Knee Extension
Photo source: Orthoinfo

How to do it: 

Sit in a chair, extend your knee, and hold for a few seconds.


This exercise improves knee extension strength and mobility.

15. Standing Calf Stretch

Standing Calf Stretch
Photo source: the good exercise gide

How to do it: 

Stand with one foot forward, bend your front knee, and keep the back leg straight with the heel on the ground.


Calf stretches help alleviate tension in the lower leg, which can reduce knee discomfort.

16. Standing Quadriceps Stretch

Standing Quadriceps Stretch
Photo source: Robotac

How to do it: 

Hold onto a support and bend one leg behind you, pulling your heel towards your buttocks.


This stretch improves quad flexibility and mobility.

17. Standing Hip Flexor Stretch

Standing Hip Flexor Stretch
Photo source: Sporty Doctor

How to do it: 

Lunge forward with one leg and push your hips forward.


Hip flexor stretches enhance the flexibility of the hip joint, which indirectly benefits the knees.

18. Standing Hamstring Stretch

Standing Hamstring Stretch
Photo source: POPSUGAR

How to do it: 

Place your heel on an elevated surface and lean forward from the hips.


Hamstring stretches help reduce tension in the back of the thigh and lower back, relieving knee strain.

19. IT Band Stretch

IT Band Stretch
Photo source: Livestrong

How to do it:

Cross one leg behind the other and lean to the side.


Stretching the iliotibial (IT) band can help reduce lateral knee pain and improve mobility.

20. Wall Calf Stretch

Wall Calf Stretch
Photo source: Women's Health

How to do it:

Stand with your hands against a wall, step back with one foot, and press the heel into the ground.


This calf stretch relieves tension in the calf muscles, which can indirectly benefit the knee joint.

Note: Physiotherapy exercises for knee pain are an essential component of rehabilitation and pain management. By incorporating these 20 exercises into your routine, you can improve your knee strength, flexibility, and overall joint stability. However, it's crucial to consult a physiotherapist or healthcare professional before starting any exercise program, as they can provide personalized guidance and ensure you perform the exercises correctly.

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