"My knee click when I get out of my chair". "My knees ache after sitting all day". "My knees don't like stairs". "Oh, that's my bad knee"…. Do any of these ring true for you? One of the most common areas we provide exercise prescription for is troublesome knees - it is actually the most common injured joint in the human body and is sometimes described as a ‘terribly made hinge’!!
In order to fully manage and essentially strengthen a joint, we must first understand the baseline anatomy of the area. As mentioned, the knee is simply a hinge with flexion and extension being the predominant movements (with a small degree of lateral and medial rotation). The basic muscles that move the knee are the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. There is also some secondary involvement from the hip and pelvis.
To strengthen the knees, improve movement and reduce aches and pain, we must both mobilise and strengthen the knee and its surrounding joints. The following movements are aimed at achieving just this. Note - these are for general prescription and we strongly recommend visiting one of our specialist exercise physiologists if you have recurring knee problems.
Mobility and Low-Level Strength Knee Exercises for Seniors
Bed Hamstring Slides
Lie flat on your back in bed with your bed legs out straight.
Slowly, with control, bend one knee and slide the heel towards your bottom.
Return to start.
Repeat on each side.
Standing Calf Raises
Stand with feet hip width apart, using a wall for assistance if needed.
Slowly rise up on to your toes.
Slowly, with control, return back to the starting position.
High Knee Marching on a Wall
Standing, using a wall for assistance, with feet away from the wall so your body is at a slight angle.
March one knee up to hip height, stop, and control down.
Repeat on other side
Standing tall, crab walk to the side for 5 steps.
Return 5 steps the other way.
Sit to Stand
Sit on a chair with your hips at or above knee height.
Attempt to stand up without using the momentum of your arms.
Stand tall, hold for 1 second, then sit down slowly with control.
How Much Exercise Should I Do?
As mentioned in our previous article on Resistance Training, the volume of these exercises will determine the benefits you gain. However a great starting point is to build up to 3 rounds of 10 of each exercise, at least 3 times per week.
By adding these exercises to your weekly routine you can maintain mobility, strength and stability throughout the knees - which can assist with long-term injury management, reduce discomfort and help with activities of daily living.
Contact us on 07 9549 1599 if you have knee problems and would like guidance from a qualified exercise physiologist. You can visit us in one of our clinics, arrange a home consultation or have a video appointment using our easy-to-use Telehealth and Physiapp services.