What are the best at-home exercises to help arthritis in the knee?

What are the best at-home exercises to help arthritis in the knee?

Posted on 03/30/2020


Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that is estimated to affect around 54 million Americans, although it is significantly more common in women than men. There are various types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the type that is most prevalent in knees. Osteoarthritis is related to aging and is characterized by the swelling, tenderness, and stiffness of the joints. It occurs because the protective cartilage on the ends of the bones breaks down, meaning that the joint doesn’t work as smoothly as before. Bony growths can also develop, further inhibiting movement.

Regular physical therapy exercises are one of the most effective ways of keeping patients with arthritis mobile, reducing their pain, strengthening their joint and the muscles that support it, and restoring their full range of motion. Here are some of the best at-home exercises to help your arthritis of the knee.


Standing leg lifts

Beginning in a standing position with your back against a wall for additional support, raise your leg to the side without rotating it. Lift to around a 45-degree angle before slowly lowering it back down. Repeat 15-20 times on each side to help improve your stability, balance, and strength.


Lying leg raise

This exercise targets the large muscles on the front of your thighs that attach to your knee joints. Begin by lying flat on your back on the floor with your arms relaxed by your sides. Tighten your leg muscles and slowly lift your leg several inches from the floor, keeping it completely straight. Tighten your lower back muscles for additional stability and hold your leg in position for 5 seconds before lowering it as slowly as possible. Then do the same with the other leg. Repeat until you have carried it out 5 times on each leg.



This exercise helps to strengthen leg muscles and reduce stiffness in the knee joint. Stand up straight and use a chair for support in front of you. Lift a foot off of the floor and bend your knee so that you bring your heel up towards your buttocks. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then slowly lower your leg back down. Repeat up to 25 times with each knee, ideally several times each day.


One-legged dip

This is another standing exercise that uses a chair for support and will strengthen the muscles on the front and back of your thighs. Stand next to a chair and hold on to support your balance. Lift one leg around 12 inches from the floor, holding it out in front of you. Slowly, and ensuring that you keep your back straight, bend your other leg and lower your body a few inches as though you were about to sit down. Hold for 5 seconds then straighten back up. You can put your lifted leg back down if you need to. Switch legs and repeat. Perform 5 leg dips on each leg, and you can gradually increase this.


Hamstring stretch

This exercise is designed to improve the flexibility of your hamstrings and improve the range of motion of the knee. Lie down with your legs bent at the knee. Choose one leg and grab the back of the thigh with both hands so that you can pull your leg towards your chest so that your knee is pointing straight up. Then straighten your leg as much as you can. Hold the position for a few seconds and bring your knee back to the bent position and repeat up to 5 times for each leg.


Leg stretch

An exercise to focus on strengthening the quadriceps and improving the range of motion of the knee, the leg stretch is very simple. Sit on the floor with both of your legs out straight in front of you. Place your hands on either side of your hips and sit up straight to help you to maintain your balance. Then slowly bend one knee until it feels stretched (but not painful). Hold the position for 5 seconds, then slowly straighten your leg out as far as you can. Repeat up to 10 times on each leg.



If you would like more advice on the best exercises to do to help with arthritis of the knee, our experienced team would be happy to help. Please get in touch by calling our office.


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