After a recent surge of patients with knee injuries, I thought it would be good time to look at some good stretching and strengthening exercises and how to look after your knees especially coming into marathon training season.
Try our simple stretches and exercises suggested below, and for any further information on how osteopathic treatment could help with knee injuries, contact one of our friendly team at Bright Osteopathy.
Simple Stretches to help your knees stay healthy
Hold each stretch for between 30 seconds and don’t bounce whilst doing them.
- Quadriceps stretch; (muscle at the front of your thigh).
Hold on to something for balance, grasp your ankle and bend your knee, gently bringing your heel up until you can feel a stretch at the front of your thigh. Be careful not to arch your lower back- you could injury your lower back.
- Hamstring stretch; (muscles at the back of your thigh).
Using a bench, dining chair or a low step, place your heel on the surface and lean forward as if trying to reach your toes, hold on to something for balance if needed. You should feel a pull at the back of your thigh/ back of the knee.
- Gastrocnemius Stretch; (a muscle in your calf).
This muscle starts from above your knee joint, so its an important muscle to stretch with any knee issues. There are two ways you can stretch this muscle. You can either prop your foot against a wall- so your heel is on the ground and your toes against the wall and lean in, or if you have access to a step- you place the ball of your foot on the edge of the step and whilst holding onto the banister for balance, drop your heel down towards the ground, putting a stretch through the back of your calf.
Simple Strengthening Stretches:
- Vastus Medialis Strengthening: lying on your back, place a small pillow or a rolled up towel under your knees. Pull your toes up towards you and straighten your leg until your foot has come off the floor- whilst contracting your quadriceps muscles (on the front of your thigh). Repeat this 10-20 times per day. To begin with you can start with fewer repetitions and build up the total amount gradually.
- Calf strengthening exercise: Stand near something you can hold onto for balance- a wall, bannister or kitchen surface. Stand with your feet slightly apart and from having your feet flat on the floor and rise up onto your toes-as high as you can. Hold for between 3-5 seconds and be careful not to bend forward- keep in a neutral position. Repeat between 10-20 times per day.
- Sit to stand exercise: This helps strengthen your quadriceps and gluteal muscles and your general fitness. Sit on a firm chair e.g. a kitchen chair. Place both feet flat on the floor, flex forward & lift yourself out of the chair until standing, and then sit back down. You can increase the difficulty of this exercise by not using your arms, starting in a lower chair or holding a small weight in your hands.
A form of manual therapy, such as osteopathic treatment can help with sports related injuries, by addressing areas above and below the site of injury e.g. hip, back or neck & shoulder pain and working with tight muscles to reduce the hypertonicity, allowing the muscles to work more efficiently when training.