Exercises for an Injured Knee

Exercises for an injured knee involve both strengthening and stretching two important leg muscles–the quadriceps and hamstrings. Quadriceps are also known as thigh muscles. Your hamstrings run along the back of your knee. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, both muscles help stabilize and support your knee. Exercises need to be done consistently and diligently to help your recuperation process.

Leg Lifts

Strengthen your quadriceps by doing a leg lift. Lie on your back on a flat surface. Tighten your abdominal (stomach) muscles so you can keep your lower back flat against the floor. Bend one leg while keeping your other leg straight. Squeeze the thigh muscles of your straight leg. Slowly lift this leg until it is about a foot off the surface. Hold this position for three to five seconds. Slowly lower your leg to the original position, lying flat on the floor. Repeat this exercise five times. Rest for a few seconds. Then do the same exercise with your opposite leg. Make certain to keep your upper body relaxed during this exercise. Do not arch your back at all while performing this exercise.

Quadriceps Stretch

Stretching your quadriceps is equally important for an injured knee, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Hold onto the wall or the back of a firm chair for balance purposes. Gently lift your injured leg up, bringing your heel toward your buttocks while bending your knee. Grab your ankle and slowly pull your heel closer to your body. Gently pull your leg as far as possible to feel the stretch in the front of your thighs. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds or as long as possible. Slowly return your injured leg to the standing position. Repeat this exercise five times.

Knee Bends

Increase your injured knee flexibility by doing knee bends. Do a prone knee bend by lying on your stomach on a flat surface. Keep your injured thigh on the surface and bend your knee as far as possible. When you have bent your injured knee as far as possible, hold this position for five seconds. Slowly return your leg to the original position. Repeat this exercise another five times.

Do a sitting knee bend by sitting on a flat surface with your legs in front of you. Slowly bend your injured knee as far as possible. Hold this stretch for five seconds. Slowly return your leg to the original position. Repeat this exercise five times.

Hamstring Stretches

Perform a standing hamstring stretch by finding a sturdy chair. Lift your injured leg and put your foot onto the chair. Keep your other leg on the ground. Bend forward at the hip. When you have stretched as far as possible, hold the stretch for five seconds. Slowly return your upper body to the upright position. Repeat this stretching exercise five times. You do not want to touch your toes during this exercise.

Try doing a sitting hamstring stretch. Sit upright in a firm chair. Keep your heels on the floor. Slowly lean forward at your hips. Make certain to keep your back straight. Hold your stretch for 30 seconds. Feel the stretch along the back of your knees. Return to the upright position. Repeat this exercise five times.

About this Author

Crystal Welch has a 30-year writing history. Her more than 2,000 published works have been included in the health and fitness-related Wellness Directory, Earthdance Press and Higher Source. She is an award-winning writer who teaches whole foods cooking and has written a cookbook series. She operates an HON-code-certified health-related blog with more than 95,000 readers. Welch has a B.B.A. from Eastern Michigan University.