Knee Exercises For Arthritis.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis knee pain exercise

Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Types of Arthritis

Ankylosing spondylitis


Juvenile idiopathic arthritis


Psoriatic arthritis

Reactive arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis

Septic arthritis

Thumb arthritis

Knee Exercises for Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition where the joints become swollen, hot, and often painful. One joint that is commonly affected by arthritis is the knee, the largest joint in the body.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 52.5 million Americans over the age of 18 have a diagnosis of arthritis. Around 49.7 percent of adults aged 65 and older and 30.3 percent of people between 45 and 64 live with this condition.

Two main types of arthritis can affect the knees. OA is the most common. The other is rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which affects around 1.5 million Americans. Left untreated, RA may destroy affected joints over time.

People with arthritis should always consult a physician before beginning any exercise routine.

In addition to a doctor’s recommendations, there are important things to consider:

  • Start slowly. It is important to proceed slowly. People with arthritis should be highly attentive to their body’s signals and stop if they experience any pain.
  • Incorporate movement into daily life. People should try to keep their joints limber by adding movement to their overall lifestyle. They should not just set aside a specific block of time for rigorous exercise while being inactive the rest of the time.

This list is compiled with that goal in mind. It includes a variety of movements that can be practiced at home or work while standing, seated, and even lying down.

As people get used to the exercises and discover which ones work best for them, they should try adding them to daily activities. Many of these activities can be carried out during household chores or while sitting at a desk.

Any movement practice for knee pain caused by arthritis should be low-impact and easy to perform.

Each of these exercises will help with building strength, improving flexibility, or increasing stamina. This list also includes which muscles are targeted and any precautions to keep in mind.

Even with medications, the knee pain caused by OA can greatly impact daily life.

However, exercise is another way that people with arthritis of the knee can reduce pain.

By regularly practicing some specific exercises, people can reduce knee pain, improve motion, decrease stiffness, and increase flexibility.


Even after practicing these movements for a while, you should always be sure to pay attention to the changes in pain. Training regimes can be changed accordingly or stopped altogether.

It is often important for persons with arthritis of the knee to keep their doctor updated on what they’re doing.

People with arthritis of the knee should try to lead an overall healthy lifestyle, make regular visits to their doctor, and continue taking any prescribed medications. Practicing these exercises may also reduce the harmful effects of knee arthritis.

People with arthritis of the knee should try to lead an overall healthy lifestyle, make regular visits to their doctor, and continue taking any prescribed medications. Practicing these exercises may also reduce the harmful effects of knee arthritis.

Footwear is essential

Athletic shoes fall into two main categories: Stability shoes and neutral shoes.

Stability shoes

These consist of a dense, cushioned midsole and heel that help control motion and prevent overpronation.

Overpronation is the tendency of the foot to roll inward more than it needs to for weight distribution and shock absorption.

Stability shoes help keep the foot in a neutral position. This is highly important for people with OA of the knee to reduce pressure and stress on the knee joint.

For people whose feet roll unevenly, stability shoes also provide good cushioning and motion control.

Neutral shoes

Neutral shoes do not correct for uneven foot rolling but offer good shock absorption and cushioning.

The neutral design also makes adding an insert or custom-molded orthotic easier. Orthopedic doctors and physical therapists often prescribe orthotic insoles to help people with OA.

Assessing normal foot movement

People may not be sure whether their feet roll normally, as they may be overcompensating in their movement or getting used to the motion of the feet.

A podiatrist, orthopedic surgeon, or physical therapist can help recognize abnormal foot motion. They can look at the distinctive wear patterns of running or walking shoes and determine if the cause relates to abnormal pronation.

The importance of shoe choice in knee OA

While the choice of the shoe seems to focus on the feet rather than the knees, well-supported feet alleviate pressure from the knees and reduce the wear-and-tear that OA causes.

Elevated pressure on the joints during walking can cause OA to progress more rapidly.

As a result, people should take care to find the right type of shoe to wear, whether performing normal daily activities or walking or running to get some exercise. However, the choice of footwear becomes especially important during physical exertion, which increases pressure on many joints, including the knee.

Wearing the wrong type of shoe might only make existing problems worse.

Choose well-cushioned shoes

Shoes with plenty of cushioning help prevent shock to the knees while walking or running.

If a shoe has a lot of padding, it will absorb more impact as the foot hits the ground, reducing stress on the knees. Much of the shock never even reaches the knees.

Well-cushioned shoes also help to reduce the impact of walking and even standing on hard surfaces, such as concrete sidewalks.

Pay attention to the soles

Firm midsoles can help prevent feet from rolling inward too much.

When feet roll too far inward, the lower leg and knee rotate inward to a similar extent each time the foot hits the ground. This repetitive inward motion can lead to knee strain and pain.

Make sure they have arch support

Arch supports “build up” the arches, which helps to reduce pain and make walking or running more comfortable.

They are critical for people with extremely flat feet but can provide support for anyone looking to exercise, especially those with OA of the knee.

A lack of support can cause discomfort when walking or running, but arch supports can help alleviate this problem. They also distribute weight evenly, helping with balance.

More importantly, they provide additional shock absorption and relieve pressure from sore areas, such as the ball of the foot. If one foot becomes sore, a person may distribute more weight onto their other leg, placing more stress on that knee.

Get the right size

Many people forgo getting a shoe in the right size and shape for fashion reasons, but for walking and running, a comfortable, well-fitting shoe is vital.

People with wider feet should shop for wider shoes that leave plenty of room in the toe area. Shoes that do not provide enough space for the toes can lead to blisters and other types of foot discomfort.

Lace them up

Athletic shoes should have shoelaces. Lacing up shoes helps minimize pain and risk of injury from tripping. Tightly laced shoes cut down on uneven foot rolling and reduce the amount of impact on the feet and knees.

Lacing shoes up tightly also reduces the pressure on the outside of the foot.

Firmly anchoring the foot in the shoe reduces friction. This helps to prevent blisters. Make sure that the heel does not slip out of the shoe when walking or running.

These steps help to provide robust support for the feet, cutting down on foot, ankle, and knee injuries.

Visit a shoe store where staffers are trained to help customers choose the right athletic shoe. They can make sure that the best shoe for foot type and activity is chosen.

Some shoes are better geared toward running, and others are designed for people who prefer walking.

Be sure to ask questions and try on different types of shoes before finding the right pair. All feet are different, so a doctor might recommend shoes for low arches, unevenness, or knee support, but their suggestion may not necessarily be effective for everyone with OA of the knee.

A person should not have to “break in” shoes. If they are too tight in the store, they may never adapt to the individual’s foot size and shape. Be highly selective – the right pair can support the knee during OA degeneration, but the wrong pair can cause further damage and discomfort.

Visit a podiatrist or another specialist for information about special inserts or orthotics that may help to reduce stress on the joints.

Blog_Inline_QuadRoll for arthritis pain

While OA of the knee is not a reversible disease, lifestyle choices, such as exercise and shoe choice, can support the management of the OA and limit the progression of symptoms.

Effective footwear can alleviate OA symptoms in the knee, as it can help facilitate beneficial exercise and reduce stress on the knee joints.

Speak to a physical therapist, podiatrist, footwear store specialist, or orthopedic doctor about whether you should choose neutral or stability shoes. Choose well-padded shoes that are wide enough to accommodate foot shape and long enough to leave space for the toes.

When finding the best walking or running shoes for knee OA, investing in appropriate athletic shoes is important to avoid aggravating the condition further. Be sure to try on as many pairs as you need to ensure that the pair is the right fit and supports the feet well.

If your knee pain is due to an injury, surgery, or arthritis, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises may help ease the pain while also improving your flexibility and range of motion.

Exercising a knee that’s injured or arthritic may seem counterintuitive, but in fact, exercise is better for your knee than keeping it still. Not moving your knee can cause it to stiffen, and this may worsen the pain and make it harder to go about your daily activities.

Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises can strengthen the muscles that support your knee joint. Having stronger muscles can reduce the impact and stress on your knee, and help your knee joint move more easily.

Before you start an exercise program for knee pain, be sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist to make sure the exercises are safe for you. Depending on your situation, they may recommend some modifications.

Hamstring Stretches

The hamstring muscles are located on the back of the thigh. Tight hamstrings can cause knee pain, and stretching can help relieve that pain.

Hamstring stretches should generally be done twice daily, such as once in the morning and once in the evening.

Supine Leg Raise
A supine leg raise is a gentle way to stretch the hamstring muscles. Most people will need a strap, such as a rope or a belt, a wall corner, or a door jam to perform this stretch.

  1. Begin the stretch by lying on the back with both legs extended.
  2. Bend the left knee and bring the left foot flat on the mat, in front of the buttocks.
  3. Slowly begin to raise the right foot to the sky, keeping the right leg as straight as possible and the back flat against the floor. To help ensure you keep your right leg straight, you may wrap the strap around the right foot and hold the strap in both hands. Alternatively, you may rest the straightened leg against a door jam.
  4. Keep the back flat on the floor by engaging core muscles; contract the gluteus and abdominal muscles, which will pull the belly towards the floor.
  5. This stretch should be held for 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times on each side.

1. Heel and calf stretch

This stretch targets the muscles in your lower leg, specifically your calf muscles.

To do this stretch:

  1. Stand facing a wall.
  2. Place your hands on the wall and move one foot back as far as you can comfortably. Toes on both feet should be facing forward, heels flat, with a slight bend in your knees.
  3. Lean into the stretch and hold for 30 seconds. You should feel the stretch in your back leg.
  4. Change legs and repeat.
  5. Do this stretch twice for both legs.

2. Quadriceps stretch

This stretch specifically targets your quadriceps, the muscles at the front of your thighs. Performing this move can help improve the flexibility in your hip flexors and quadricep muscles.

To do this stretch:

  1. Stand next to a wall or use a chair for support. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend one knee so your foot goes up toward your glutes.
  3. Grab your ankle and gently pull it toward your glutes as far as you can comfortably.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.
  5. Return to the starting position and change legs.
  6. Repeat 2 times on each side.

3. Hamstring stretch

Knee_Arthritis pain relief. Hamstring stretch

This stretch targets your hamstrings and the muscles in the back of your thigh.

You should feel this stretch in the back of your leg and up to the base of your glutes. If you flex your foot, you may also feel the stretch in your calves.

To do this stretch:

  1. For this stretch, you can use a mat to add cushioning under your back.
  2. Lie down on the floor or mat and straighten both legs. Or, if it’s more comfortable, you can bend both knees with your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Lift one leg off the floor.
  4. Place your hands behind your thigh, but below the knee, and gently pull your knee toward your chest until you feel a slight stretch. This shouldn’t be painful.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds.
  6. Lower and change legs.
  7. Repeat 2 times on each side.

4. Half squat

Half squats are an excellent way to strengthen your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings without straining your knees.

To do this exercise:

  1. Get into a standing squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on your hips or out in front of you for balance.
  2. Looking straight ahead, slowly squat down about 10 inches. This is the halfway point to a full squat.
  3. Pause for a few seconds, then stand up by pushing through your heels.
  4. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

5. Calf raises

This exercise strengthens the back of your lower legs, which includes your calf muscles.

To do this exercise:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Position yourself next to a wall or hold on to the back of a chair for support.
  2. Lift both your heels off the ground so that you’re standing on the balls of your feet.
  3. Slowly lower your heels to the starting position. Control is important with this exercise for strengthening your calf muscles.
  4. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

6. Hamstring curl

The standing hamstring curl targets your hamstrings and glutes. It also requires good core strength to keep your upper body and hips steady.

To do this exercise:

  1. Stand facing a wall or use a chair for support. Your feet should be hip-width apart.
  2. Lift one foot up, bend your knee, and raise your heel toward the ceiling. Go as far as you can, while keeping your upper body still and hips pointing forward.
  3. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
  4. Relax and lower to the starting position.
  5. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each leg.

7. Leg extensions

Using your own body weight, rather than a weighted machine, to strengthen your quadriceps helps keep added pressure off your knees.

To do this exercise:

  1. Sit up tall in a chair.
  2. Put your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
  3. Look straight ahead, contract your thigh muscles, and extend one leg as high as possible without raising your buttocks off the chair.
  4. Pause, then lower to the starting position.
  5. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each leg.

8. Straight leg raises

Leg raise arthritis pain relief

The straight leg raise strengthens your quadriceps as well as your hip flexor muscles. If you flex your foot at the end of the move, you should also feel your shins tighten.

As this exercise gets easier to do, you can add a 5-pound ankle weight and gradually work up to a heavier weight as you build strength in your legs.

To do this exercise:

  1. For this exercise, you can use a mat to add cushioning under your back.
  2. Lie down on the floor with one leg bent and one leg straight out in front of you.
  3. Contract the quadriceps of your straight leg and slowly raise it up off the floor until it’s the same height as your bent knee.
  4. Pause at the top for 5 seconds, then lower to the starting position
  5. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each leg.

9. Side leg raises

This exercise works your hip abductor muscles as well as your glutes. Your hip abductor muscles, located on the outside of your hips, help you to stand, walk, and rotate your legs with ease. Strengthening these muscles can help prevent and treat pain in the hips and knees.

As this exercise gets easier to do, you can add a 5-pound ankle weight and gradually work up to a heavier weight as you build strength in your leg muscles.

To do this exercise:

  1. Lie on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other. Cradle your head in your hand, and place your other hand on the floor in front of you.
  2. Raise your top leg as high as you comfortably can. You should feel this on the side of your hips.
  3. Pause briefly at the top, then lower your leg.
  4. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each leg.

10. Prone leg raises

This exercise works your hamstrings as well as your glutes. As this exercise gets easier to do, you can add a 5-pound ankle weight and gradually work up to a heavier weight as you build strength in your leg muscles.

To do this exercise:

  1. For this exercise, you can use a mat to add cushioning beneath you.
  2. Lie on your stomach with your legs straight out behind you. You can let your head rest on your arms.
  3. Engage your glute and hamstring muscles in your left leg and lift your leg as high as you comfortably can without causing pain. Be sure to keep your pelvic bones on the floor throughout this exercise.
  4. Hold your leg in the lifted position for 5 seconds.
  5. Lower your leg, rest for 2 seconds, then repeat.
  6. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each leg.

Some Other Exercises That Will Be Helpful

Thank you for reading


Comments are welcome

6 thoughts on “Knee Exercises For Arthritis.”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing all these here and I must say that I quite value all the things you have shared here. Honestly, there is a lot more associated with this here especially for someone like me suffering from arthritis. Though I have been using supplements and Cbd oil already, adding this to it too would only help better

    • Hi Nath,

      Thank you for your comments. Sorry to hear you too suffer from arthritis. Relief from the pain depends on the type of foods we eat, supplements. Yes, I have used CBD oil also. The last is exercise. We got to get movement into those joints. Have you ever tried Glucosamine Chondroitin & MSM. 

      Best wishes,


  2. Hello Michael, it’s really not so easy when you are down with such problems and the major issue here is that the affected individuals are usually too lazy to engage in exercises not knowing how helpful it can be to them. These are very good and common exercises that can really help the leg a lot. I would ever love to do them even as I don’t have arthritis 

    • Hi Justin,

      Thank you for your comments. Any type of exercise can always help. Unfortunately, there are a lot of exercises I wish I could do but can’t.

      Best wishes,


  3. Hello Michael, this post on knee pain and arthritis has been very informative and helpful to me and I must say the timing of my finding it is perfect. Thank you so much, I didn’t know what to do as this is all new to me. I’m loving the video and have saved the page to my computer.


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