2 Simple Exercises For Knee Pain

Knee Pain

What exercises should I do for my Knee Pain?

By David Hutchinson, PT, MPT, OCS

I am often asked “what are the best exercises for knee pain?” Followed by “I’m tired of taking pain medication!”  I usually respond, it depends on what is causing your knee pain. In my experience, however, one of the most prevalent reasons for knee pain is osteoarthritis.

Here are two great, simple exercises to help alleviate or eliminate your knee pain.


  • Stand a few inches away from a wall.
  • Put the upper portion of one foot against the wall.
  • Slowly lean in until you feel a good stretch in your calf muscle.
  • Gently hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Do this 2 to 3 times.
  • Repeat with the other foot.




  • Sit against a wall or support yourself.
  • Knee mid-flexion (half-way bent) slide heel up towards buttocks to end range.
  • Hold for 2 to 3 seconds.
  • Slide heel back down to mid-flexion (knee half bent)
  • Repeat for two 30-second bouts with 3-second hold at end range


  • Sit against a wall or support yourself.
  • Knee mid-flexion (half-way bent) slide heel down end-range extension (knee completely straight).
  • Hold for 2 to 3 seconds.
  • Slide heel back up to mid-flexion (knee half bent)
  • Repeat for two 30-second bouts with 3-second hold at end range


  1. Do your symptoms change (better or worse) with any movements of the low back? Do you have any pain in your low back, even if you feel it is unrelated to your knee pain?
  2. Does your knee pain extend up into your thigh or back or down into the leg, ankle, or foot? Do you ever experience numbness or tingling into the hip, thigh, leg, ankle or foot?
    • Knee pain may be caused by the nerves in your low back and/or legs.
  3. Have you recently increased your physical activity, especially running (distance, terrain, speed) or other weight bearing activities?
    • Knee pain may be caused by a stress reaction or stress fracture or muscle sprain/strain.
  4. Do you have knee pain or stiffness that eases after a few hours in the morning?
    • Knee pain is likely due to osteoarthritis (The above exercises are specifically designed for this type of knee pain.)
  5. Is your knee pain a result of trauma, such as injury with jumping/landing, changing directions with your foot planted, or twisting?
    • Knee pain may be due to ligamentous injury, patellar subluxaton, qudriceps rupture, meniscal lesion, posterior cruciate ligament injury, or a medial/lateral collateral ligament injury.


By doing these knee exercises, you may experience improvement in your symptoms and functional activities as well as resolution of other key complaints or problems. This is a good benefit in doing knee exercises and stretches.

However, you may experience an increase in your current level of pain, if pain is part of your complaints. Many times increased activity or therapy interventions will bring on some discomfort, this is usually temporary.

As a general rule, if your pain or discomfort does not subside within twenty-four (24) hours, you should discontinue any exercise involving that particular activity, if applicable, and contact your physical therapist. Please note that we cannot make any promises or guarantees regarding a full resolution of and/or correction of your condition.

If these knee exercises are making your knee pain worse, you should not try to work through the pain. The pain may be telling you that

  • You are performing the particular exercise wrong
  • The exercise you are performing is not designed for your particular knee condition
  • You may have another injury or knee condition of which you are not aware (see some common causes of knee pain below)

So if you don’t find relief of your pain by exercising, stop. Next, schedule an appointment with your physical therapist for a consultation to review your symptoms and exercise program.

As a physical therapist at Body Balance Physical Therapy, I and my colleagues can prescribe a treatment plan that is specifically designed for your particular condition. Let us help you get your life back so you can “Move More, Live More!”

Call today for an immediate appointment.

TWIN FALLS  208-736-9011    GOODING  208-934-9011


Knee pain can be due to a simple or a very complex issue.  Causes can include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Iliotibial band syndrome
  • Patellar tendonitis
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome (also called retropatellar pain syndrome and anterior knee pain)
  • Proximal tibiofibular joint instability
  • Snapping biceps femoris or popliteus tendons
  • Peroneal nerve compression syndrome or neuritis
  • Ischial bursitis
  • Hamstring strain
  • Piriformis syndrome


Specifically identifying and describing your symptoms can help target the cause of your pain. Common findings of Knee Pain Symptoms that I see in the clinic are:

  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Knee pain that starts as incidental and increases with activity
  • Knee pain that feels better when changing positions
  • Dull, achy knee pain
  • Sharp pain with movement
  • Knee pain that is worse after prolonged sitting
  • Knee pain with squatting
  • Knee pain going up and/or down stairs
  • Knee pain with extension or making your knee go straight
  • Knee pain that is worse after waking up and better after moving around

Identifying the symptoms and getting a diagnosis that targets the underlying cause of your pain is critical in achieving effective pain relief


I hope that the above exercises and advice will help you find long-term relief from your knee pain.

For more information see Knee Pain, Get Relief From Osteoarthris, Moving More Helps Arthritis Pain, and a video on how physical therapy is a safe way to manage pain  (Choose Physical Therapy for Safe Pain Management)

When weighing your treatment options for knee pain and injuries, consider Body Balance Physical Therapy. We offer a wide variety of treatment options including strengthening, stretching, manual therapy, and sustainable home exercise programs. Stop in or call for a complimentary injury screen or to learn more about how physical therapy can help you overcome your pain.

For questions regarding these exercises or your knee condition, please contact:
David Hutchinson, PT, MPT, OCS
Body Balance Physical Therapy, 1053 Eastland Dr., Twin Falls, ID 83301

TWIN FALLS  208-736-9011    GOODING  208-934-9011
Email: click here

This blog is designed to provide general information on pertinent physical therapy topics. The statements made are provided for educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice nor do they necessarily reflect the views of Body Balance Physical Therapy or any of its therapists other than the author. This blog is not intended to create a therapist-client relationship between you and Body Balance Physical Therapy. If you have specific questions as to the application of these exercises to your medical condition, you should seek the advice of your physical therapist.