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Guide: 6 Exercises to Banish Knee Pain

 Did you know that joint pain affects one in five Americans and is one of the leading causes of disability in the U.S.? Knee pain, along with leg, neck and back pain tops the list of problem areas and studies are showing no sign of improvement. In fact, a 2013 study saw a 162% increase in knee replacements over the last 20 years in people 65 and older. But, what are the causes of knee pain? Factors like inactivity, carrying too much bodyweight, poor posture, improperly treated injuries and insufficient nourishment all contribute to knee pain. There are ways you can improve your knees, strengthening the joints and saving you years of daily pain and discomfort by following these exercise tips: 
1. Wall Calf Stretch
knee pain exercises

Very often, calf muscles get neglected during a stretch. But, if you spend a lot of time on your feet, run or do high-impact workouts, this type of stretch is necessary. They can get extremely tight from impact and need a good stretch to relieve any pain that might travel up to the knee. 

Here's How: Find a wall you can lean against. Flex your foot and position the heel where the floor meets the vertical surface. Your toes should be elevated and your heel, down on the floor. Hold the stretch for as long as possible leaning toward your front leg. Hold the stretch at its deepest point. Do about 15 reps on each leg, or more if you are still experiencing tightness. 

2. Calf Smash with Lacrosse Ball

This move allows you to work out the tension in both your calf and your hamstring, Williams says.

Here's How: Sit on the ground pulling your right foot close to your butt bending your knee. Place a lacrosse ball below your right knee holding it tightly between your calf and hamstring/ Create a compression force by pulling your shin towards you, then rotating your foot in alternative movements. Continue until you feel tightness in these areas being relieved, then switch legs. 

3. Half Knee Hip and Quad Stretch
knee pain exercises

This move feels amazing and will work your quads and your hips.

Here's How: Come onto your knees, taking your left foot out in front of you, bending it at the knee. Slowly lift your right leg up, grabbing your hand around your foot slowly taking the heel of your foot towards your glutes. Hold this pose till the tightness feels relieved.

4. Quad foam roller stretch

When you sit down for most of the day, the quad muscles can get short and tend to be under constant tension. Using a foam roller, however, will help. 

Here's How: Lie face down with a foam roller under your right leg, under your quad. Put the majority of your body weight on your leg and roll slowly. You can roll up and down and side to side as well focusing pressure on the tighter spots of your muscles. Then switch legs. Continue to roll until you no longer feel pain. 

5. Hamstring stretch
knee pain exercises

The hamstring muscles affect the knee more than we think and can be a major source of pain or discomfort.

Here's How: Lie face up with your left leg flat on the ground, keep your foot flexed. Take your right leg up placing it against a wall, table or using a resistance band. At your deepest point of the stretch, alternate in five-second sequences between contracting and relaxing the foot. Aim for 10 to 15 rounds of five-second holds. Repeat with your left leg. 

6. Straight leg raises

This is an easy strengthening leg exercise that puts little to no strain on your knee.

Here's How: Lie face-up with one knee bent and the other leg, bent at the knee, heel on the ground. Lift your straight leg up about one foot, rotating your leg outward, toes will point diagonally. Do 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps alternating legs. As you get stronger, add ankle weights up to 10 pounds. 

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