7 Physical Therapy Exercises for Knee Injuries
Have you sustained a knee injury? If you have, there’s a great chance you will require physical therapy exercises for knee injuries. A physical therapist will examine and evaluate the problems and limitations of your limb and provide a rehabilitation plan. A rehab plan is likely to contain exercises that stretch, build strength, and relieve pain. This article will contain tips to get you started.
What Injuries Require Physical Therapy?
Any injury to the knee poses a risk for your mobility. Sprains, strains, tears, and bruises can cause considerable pain and sometimes require surgery. Tearing ligaments almost always requires surgery and an extensive physical therapy program. Sprains and strains don’t usually require surgeries but are painful nonetheless. They should be treated cautiously or they can become worse.
If you injure your knee and don’t understand the severity, seek professional medical attention immediately. They will diagnose your injury and get you started on the road to recovery.
Seven Physical Therapy Exercises for Knee Injuries
Your goals with the physical therapy exercises should be to strengthen your knees and relieve pain. The smartest way to exercise is by taking a holistic approach. Good nutrition, lots of sleep, and strengthening other areas of your body will vastly improve the health of your knees.
1. Side Steps
This exercise requires a resistance band. They can be purchased at an affordable price. Your local gym should also have them.
- Put the resistance band around your ankles
- Stand with your feet together and knees slightly bent
- Keep your head and pelvis level with toes pointed straight
- Take shoulder-width steps to one side
- After eight or nine steps, reverse direction
The resistance band should make the steps slightly difficult, but not straining. If your knees buckle then the resistance band is too tight. If you fall forward, then your steps are too large. As time progresses, take more steps but not larger ones.
Side steps strengthen the hips and glutes. Taking care of the muscles around your knee can help relieve pain.
2. Single-Leg Deadlift
The single-leg deadlift requires your muscles to help you balance.
- Stand on a single leg with the knee slightly bent
- Reach forward and down towards the ground
- The foot in the air should rise as you go forward at equal displacement
- Maintain knee control and reach down as far as you can
- Slowly stand back up, repeat 5 times for each leg
Your back should be straight the entire time. You should have full control of your knees while reaching down. The exercise is designed to improve the hamstrings, back, and core.
3. The Backwards Skates
The backwards skates follow the same function as the side-steps.
- Put the resistance band around your ankles
- Take a diagonal step backwards with your left foot
- Bring your right foot back together equal with your left
- Take a diagonal step backwards with your right foot
- Then bring your left foot back together equal with your right
The goal is to step and land on your feet flat, not on your toes. Like before, the correct form is most important. Be sure to increase the number of steps and not the width as you get stronger.
There are lots of ways to execute this exercise, but the focus should be on rehab and not expert fitness.
- Find a chair, step, or bench that will require a 90-degree knee bend
- Step onto the bench with your right foot
- Push through your right heel to bring your left foot up to the bench
- You should be on the bench with both feet together
- Step down with your right foot first followed by the left
Do this at a slow and comfortable pace. The balance required will strengthen the muscles around the knee and in the back of your legs. Try three sets of 15 with breaks in between.
5. Straight-Leg Lifts
Straight-leg lifts are perfect for people who have just started rehab. A person still in a knee brace can start these.
- Lie flat on your back with your legs together
- Bend the uninjured knee with your foot flat on the ground
- Slowly raise the injured knee off the ground 12 inches
- Hold in that position for 10-15 seconds and then slowly lower your leg
The exercise targets a person’s quadriceps and abdominal muscles. Once you can bend your injured knee, start doing both sides.
6. Wall Sits
Balance and form are the keys to all exercises, but wall sits require extra focus.
- Stand flat against a wall with your feet shoulder-width
- Place both feet two feet away from the wall
- Slide your body down the wall until your knees are bent 90-degrees
- Hold that position for 5 seconds then slide back up
- Repeat 10 times
The better and stronger your legs get, the longer you can sit in the position. Your quadriceps and glutes should feel the stress.
7. Foam Roller
A great way to start and end your physical therapy exercises for your knees is to use a foam roller.
- Find a foam roller and a mat to sit or lie down
- Slowly and gently roll different muscles in your legs
- Repeating the rolling motion
- Use a tennis ball or frozen ball to roll the bottoms of your feet
The foam roller works great for any and all muscles. It loosens up the muscles to increase mobility. Decrease lactic acid build-up after physical therapy by rolling.
The muscles in your leg will steadily get stronger, but that isn’t the focus. Regaining confidence and stability in your knee is the main objective with these exercises. When you’re cleared by a medical professional, you can start adding more strenuous exercises to your regimen.
Know the difference between being sore and being in pain. Soreness is a natural part of exercise recovery, but if there is sharp or persistent pain, then seek medical attention.
Start the Road to Recovery
Knee pain and injury can often rob us of the joys in life. Recovering from treatment and surgery is a long road. Start these physical therapy exercises for knee injuries. You should contact us for medical guidance with your road to recovery. You’ll be back to dancing and pain-free walks in no time!