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How to Exercise with Troubled Knees

By kimfitness on Oct 07, 2012 10:00 AM in Tips & Updates

Sharp pain in your knees (or any area in your body) should never be ignored. If you feel pain anywhere during any exercise move, like squats, don’t work through the pain. You want to stop, make a note of it, and see your doctor if the pain does not go away. This pain could be minor but it could also be very major and mean that you have a knee injury or strain that needs special attention.  A closer look at your knee by a medical professional might tell you whether certain exercises just are not for you or if you should just proceed with caution.

If you have healthy knees that are weak or you are avoiding exercise to prevent further injuring them, you might be harming yourself rather than helping yourself.  There are some exercises that you can do to help you strengthen your knees. These exercises work the areas around you knee like your quads, hamstrings, calves which all directly affect the knees. The key is to make sure you are performing these moves correctly by never compromising the exercise form. 

Most people with knee issues that aren’t major, are afraid to do exercise like squats and lunges. However, if done correctly, these moves can slowly be used to build stronger knees.  If you can’t quite complete a squat or lunge throughout the full range of motion, there are some alternate moves to squats that can be done until you reach the level where you can do them full out. 

Other exercise that might help strengthen your knees are:

1. Hamstring Curls

2. Knee Lifts

3. Push Step

4. Pull-Through

5. Side-Leg Lifts 

6. Straight Leg Raise 

7. Inner Thigh Squeeze  

HERE IS A VIDEO of me doing low impact exercises that will help improve your knees.

I would recommend spending 1 or 2 minute or each of these exercises each day or add them to the end of your workouts by completing 8-12 repetitions of each.  

While doing any exercise for your knees, make sure that your shoes provide good support and that you are standing on a safe, non-slippery surface.

Visit for more tips and tools to help you reach your fitness goals. Remember to Like me on Facebook and let me know what you think of these exercise and how you are currently working to improve your knees. 


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Cycling is a really good if you have osteoarthritis in your knees. Strengthening the muscles around the knee joints helps to stabilise the knee and reduces pain and falls.

Any exercise can be altered to fit a low impact routine or work out.  If you're doing a move where you leap in the air and land, just leave the ground less than an inch.

Also use your arms in exaggerated moves to continue to bump up the cardio effect and to add more muscle movement and resistance.


Thanks for posting this !   I NEED ideas to help me exercise without hurting my arthritic knees !

Anyone else know of any other posts that help with this ??



Dear Kathie,


Have you tried yoga? If you try an IYENGAR yoga class you can learn how to work your legs safely to balance the stability and mobility of your knees. As per the other posts the key thing is to learn for yourself how to stabilise the knee, so you improve your strength and flexibility evenly with the legs accurately aligned. To find an IYENGAR teacher near you visit

Good luck!


I find that doing the low impact version helps a lot until I've lost enough weight to jump more often.

great comments on modify exercises and yoga(my favorite)  even with a torn cartiledge I found strengthening my leg muscles help me in the long run !


Thanks for the info!  I too have osteoarthritis in my knees and have had various treatments to help with the pain.  I find that regular exercise - walking 1 hour daily, swimming 1 mile 2X a week and getting on my bike a bit helps me tremendously.  I have had to for go all tennis (boo hooCry and have changed to golf, which I can play with my husband.... keep those knees moving is my motto!!Cool

I had sprain my  right ankle and it is in cast, is there a way to exercise with a sprain ankle especially it still hurts

I have heard of a procedure that puts a cusion between the knee so it ins't so painful.  It is not cortizine shots.  i have tried that.  It is something new?  If anyone knows about it please share.  Thanks

Synvisc. I have been told it's like WD-40 for the knee, but results vary. Ask your orthopedic doctor if it's right for you!

I live in too rural of an area.  I found no classes or teachers anywhere near me at all.    Do they have videos ?

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