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6 Easy Exercises for Knee-Pain Relief

Get strong, flexible, healthy knees with these exercises.

Stair Step-Ups
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Stair Step-Ups

Place your left foot on the first step of a stairway and your hand on the wall or banister for balance. Slowly step up onto your left foot so you are standing tall on the step with your left foot, and your right foot's off the ground. Hold for a second, and then step back down off the step onto your right foot, so there's no weight on your left foot. Repeat up to 6 times. If you need to, take a short rest between steps. Reverse legs, and repeat up to 6 times.

Are you being nice to your knees? Answer these five questions to find out if you have any habits that need changing.

Medically reviewed in November 2019.

Up and Downs
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Up and Downs

Sit in a firm, armless chair with your feet flat on the floor and your arms crossed or loose at your sides, whichever feels more balanced. Slowly stand up, using deliberate, controlled movements, until you reach your full height. Hold for a few seconds, and then slowly sit down again. Repeat this exercise for about 1 minute. A firm cushion can be placed on the chair if this move is difficult at first.

Tip: Check your knees—when going up or down, they should never move forward beyond your toes. (Image Credit: Matt Rainey)

Leg Flexes
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Leg Flexes

Sit on the floor with your legs together and stretched out in front of you. Place your hands on the floor behind you for support. Slowly bend your right knee, sliding your heel along the floor toward your butt until you feel a gentle stretch in the thigh muscles. Hold for about 5 seconds, and then slide your foot forward, straightening your leg. Rest a few seconds. Do 10 times. Reverse legs, and repeat 10 times.

Don't put off doing these exercises. Why? Here are seven reasons to treat osteoarthritis now, not later.

Knee Rolls
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Knee Rolls

Lie on your back, either on a cushy carpet or an exercise mat. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Keep your arms at your sides and your eyes on the ceiling. Slowly lower both knees to the right—trying to keep your knees together as you do this—until you feel a gentle stretch in your thighs and lower back. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds, and then slowly lift your knees back to center. Then, lower your knees to the left side, hold, and return to center. Repeat 10 times on each side, with short rests in between.

Hip Extensions
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Hip Extensions

Lie on your stomach, either on a cushy carpet or an exercise mat. Place your hands under your chin for support if you like. Look down at the floor, keep your legs and back straight, and slowly lift your right leg 3 to 4 inches off the floor. Try to hold the lift for a few seconds, and then slowly lower the leg. Do 5 times; switch legs and repeat. Tip: The key here is to create smooth, controlled movements.

Movement is like medicine when it comes to arthritis. If you need motivation to keep at it, print these quotes and read them when you need a mental boost.

Leg Lifts
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Leg Lifts

Lie on your right side, either on a cushy carpet or an exercise mat. Use your right hand to support your head and your left hand to steady your balance. Keeping your legs straight, slowly lift your top leg straight up, as far as you comfortably can. Hold for a few seconds, and then slowly lower the leg. Do 10 times; switch sides and repeat. Slow, controlled movements will bring the most benefit.

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