KeagenHadley-how-to-improve-knee-mobility

If you’ve ever had a knee problem or are currently experiencing knee pain, you’ll know that it’s not just the pain that’s a problem.

It’s the mobility issues!

The impact on daily tasks and on the life you live

You may be missing out on your favorite exercise program, or you can’t go to the places you love as quickly as you used to.

Perhaps your knee problem has forced you to cancel a holiday or make another drastic life change you weren’t prepared for.

Whatever you’re dealing with, take comfort in knowing that knee mobility can be improved with proper support and regular knee mobility exercises.

Read on to discover some top tips on improving knee mobility, regardless of your starting position.

Meaning you can get back to your daily activities as soon as you want to.

How To Improve Knee Mobility

Physical Exercises

One thing I often come across in my therapy practice is a belief that, for the knee joint to heal fully, whether it’s post-injury, post-knee surgery, or wear and tear, it needs to be kept immobile.

Stationary.

Not moving for weeks on end.

But this is the exact opposite of the truth. Really!

The day after I had ACL surgery for my knee injury(s), the physical therapists were at me with their joint mobility exercises. I couldn’t escape them!

Standing up and weight-bearing was one of the first goals, and I’m so glad I got the motivation to do it with their input.

Although it was excruciating back then, preventing more pain for myself in the future was worth it.

Therefore, despite knee injuries being unbelievably sore, there are good knee strength exercises that absolutely anyone can do (regardless of their fitness level) soon after treatment or surgery to improve knee mobility.

Knee Stiffness

The reason we do strengthening exercises on an injured or post-surgery knee is to prevent knee stiffness from setting in.

This happens when the knee doesn’t move for a long time, leading to a whole host of other problems, such as muscle soreness, synovial fluid buildup, tight hamstrings, and potential blood clots in the lower leg.

One of the things that can be affected by an injured knee is knee flexion, which is another way of saying when the knee is bent.

Also, the thigh muscles can be impacted, leading to instability in the hip joint, possibly extending to weaker abdominal muscles.

In short, knee movement as soon as you can is essential for successful healing in the long term!

KeagenHadley-female-athlete-stretching-knee-and-hamstring-with-water-in-the-background

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist is the one professional you do want on your side if you’ve sustained a knee injury, and for good reason!

They are experts in knee issues and knee health, so they know a lot about knee stretches and simple exercises to help you get back on your feet.

Straight leg raises are one of the most straightforward exercises you can do in the early days of a knee injury.

These are done while sitting or lying on your back. You can hold onto a stable object, such as a bed or chair, for the necessary support. Then you simply raise a straight leg in the air in a controlled manner and back down again to complete the exercise.

This exercise is to work your quadriceps muscles because they tend to “shut off” following a knee injury or surgery. While raising and lowering your leg, be sure to mindfully contract your muscles to work it as much as possible.

For a video of this exercise, take a look here.

Depending on your knee’s ability, you can exercise your hip flexors and quadriceps muscles by doing targeted exercises like holding the lunge position for a second or two.

Before starting any exercise or new knee motion routine, please consult a physical therapist first. You must follow your surgeon’s and therapist’s advice before performing any activity.

They’ll know which exercises are good for you and your present knee condition.

I only give these two exercises as examples; what is suitable for you is up to you and your therapist to decide. 

And don’t underestimate the power of a gentle stretch in the lower body!

Stretching is a form of exercise, and despite its gentle approach, it helps improve the mobility of the body’s joints.

If you want to see the specific types of exercises I did to fully recover from four knee surgeries, take a look at this post here.

KeagenHadley-athlete-stretching-knee-and-hamstring-while-laying-on-back

Regular basis

To end this blog post, I’ll share the point that any exercises undertaken to improve knee mobility should be done regularly—ideally, multiple times a week to daily.

Now, regular does not mean extreme!

You must take it slow and build up to more strenuous exercises when you feel ready.

Yet, be aware that physical activity is the best way to improve knee mobility and is complimented by relaxation.

The best of all worlds is to do knee mobility exercises and stretches while penciling in time to rest the knee, ideally in an elevated position to improve blood circulation.

Remember to run everything by your physical therapist, and you won’t go far wrong.

You’ll be back to your favorite activities in no time!

I hope you find this post inspiring and valuable for your needs.

If you’d like to learn more about knee health, do consider reading some of my other posts here

Thanks for reading!

About the Author

Hi there! I’m Dr. Keagen Hadley, OTD, OTR/L. Straight out of the University of Mary, I’m all about blending my know-how in knee health, well-being, and medical technology. As a licensed occupational therapy doc, I’m here to translate complex concepts into clear, actionable insights – whether it’s knee care or groundbreaking healthcare tech.

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