Do we realize the exact amount of dependency that we place on our knees in our daily lives? Hardly ever. We carry on with our walking and running and even the most mundane actions like bending or stretching with the greatest ease. It is only when the knees are affected and their actions limited that we understand just how much we use them. The knees are some of the most widely used parts of the human body. Most actions that have to do with the legs are carried out with the help of the knees. When a body part is used so much, one can pretty well decipher that it also runs the risk of being prone to injuries and that is what happens with the knees as a result. Athletes, sports people and those who are into heavy duty fitness sessions are some of those who are at the greatest risk of developing knee injuries. People who are obese are also at a higher risk of the same, because of the added pressure that is put on their knees. Other than that, a fall, injury or trauma to the knees are some of the most common causes of knee injuries.
Sometimes a knee injury is so severe that a surgery becomes important. And it is for the recuperation of the weakened muscles that support the knees, that physical therapy has to be brought into action. To further the effects of the surgery, certain knee strengthening exercises are recommended by specialists. This physical therapy focuses primarily on strengthening the muscles that support the knees and thereby helps to reduce the pressure that is placed on the knee joints. It leads to faster recovery and prevents similar injuries from making way as often.
In the following section, we shall concentrate on the kind of exercises that knee strengthening physical therapy includes. These will showcase how to go about strengthening the knees effectively well.
Physical Therapy Exercises
When undertaking these exercises, maximum focus is placed on strengthening the hamstring and quadriceps because these are the muscle groups that support the knees maximally. Let us review some of these exercises in the following section.
- Sit on a chair so that your soles are flat against the ground and the legs are bent at the knees in a 90 degree angle.
- Tense your right thigh so that you feel a tightness in it.
- Hold this position for 5-8 seconds and release.
- Repeat on the left leg.
- Alternate this exercise between both legs and do about 10 of each.
- Lie on your back and bend the leg that is not affected. Place the sole of that feet flat against the bed.
- Now straighten the leg that is affected as much as possible.
- With the other leg bent, raise the straightened leg 3-5 inches off the ground.
- Maintain this position for 5-8 seconds before bringing it down. (Bring it down immediately if you feel any stress.)
- Try to get in 8-10 repetitions. If you can’t manage that, start out with 5.
- Lie flat on your back and straighten both legs.
- Roll a towel and place it under the ankle of the affected foot.
- This will automatically straighten the knees.
- Press into the towel with your ankle and you’ll see that the knee gets straightened further.
- Hold this position for 5-10 seconds.
- Release, relax and repeat. Do 10 more of the same.
- Do this exercise when your knees have gained a little more strength.
- Stand on both feet, making sure that the toes and knees are pointed in the front.
- Bend your legs ever so slightly.
- Now try to balance on one leg and at the same time, try to do a mini squat by bending at the knees and lowering yourself.
- Stop, if there is any excess pressure felt.
- Repeat 10 times on the affected side.
- Stand on a firm ground and bend your knees slightly.
- Place your hands over both knee caps.
- Make small circles with your knees with your hands guiding them.
- The circles have to be done with deliberate action, making sure that your feet are not lifted off the ground. If they are, it means that you are adding too much pressure.
- Form these circles on both the right and left sides. Do about 10 on each side.
P.S. – It has to be noted that the kind of knee exercises recommended will be different for different patients depending on the severity of their condition. Do not start out on them without consulting a specialist.
Other than these specialized exercises, simple exercises like walking, swimming and cycling are also recommended as a part of the treatment. These further the overall recovery by making the knee joints and surrounding muscles stronger. The recovery from a knee injury or surgery depends from one person to the other, but with these exercises being brought into the picture, it definitely helps to speed the process.