Top 5 Stretches for Arthritic Knees to Relieve Pain

exercise for arthritic knees

You don’t have to stop moving even if you experience knee pain from arthritis. It’s actually essential for people to move the affected knee. To maintain its function, doing the following stretches for arthritic knees can improve flexibility, range of motion, and reduce pain from osteoarthritis (OA) or other types of arthritis.

Exercising with painful knees may seem counterintuitive to your heart. But with the right exercises, knee pain or stiffness can actually be reduced. Some reasons to keep exercising lightly with knee pain include maintaining a wide range of motion and strengthening the muscles that support the joints.

Related: 5 Best Beginner Bodyweight Exercises for Hamstrings

Best Stretches for Arthritic Knees.

The best stretches for arthritic knees below you can do at home, without equipment. Do it gradually, slowly with the recommended repetitions to strengthen the muscles around your knee.

Always watch for changes in pain even after you have exercised for a while. Be sure to tell your doctor or physical therapist what you are doing and take any prescribed medications. This exercise regime can be changed according to your needs or stopped immediately, as you progress.

#1 Standing Quadriceps Stretch.

stretches for arthritis knees
  • Stand straight, then bend your left knee and grasp it by the left ankle.
  • Bring your left leg back while lifting your right arm straight forward to maintain balance.
  • If it’s too difficult, use a chair or wall for the armrest.
  • Pull your left leg up and back with your hand and hold it for 30 seconds.
  • Make sure your torso is straight.
  • Switch right leg and repeat two times per leg.

#2 Forward Fold Hamstring Stretch.

stretches for arthritis knee
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Slowly bend your body from the waist and keep your legs straight.
  • If you can’t reach the floor, don’t worry. Use the chair in front of you for flexibility.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

#3 Hip Flexor Stretch.

exercise for arthritic knee pain
  • Kneel on your left leg 90 degrees with the shin of your right foot flat on the mat.
  • Keep your right knee off the shoulder.
  • Place your palms on your knees.
  • Push your body forward while keeping your torso and head level, hold for 20 seconds.
  • Feel your left leg and hip stretch.
  • Change to the other leg, then repeat three times per leg.

Related: 5 Best Foam Roller Hip Flexor Exercises to Reduced Hip Pain

#4 Standing Calf Stretch.

best stretches for arthritic knees
  • Stand facing a wall about half a meter away.
  • Place your palms on the wall at shoulder level.
  • Step forward with your left foot and slightly bend your left knee. Keep your right leg straight.
  • To feel a stretch in your right calf, lean your body forward.
  • Hold for 30 seconds before changing legs and repeat three times for each leg.
  • If you want to feel a deeper stretch, you can stand further from the wall.

#5 Side Lunge.

stretching exercises for arthritic knees
  • Start with a wide-legged forward bend.
  • Place your fingers on the floor in front of you for balance.
  • If you feel comfortable, try bending your elbows and bringing your palms together in front of your chest.
  • Bend your right knee to a 45-degree angle or half squat.
  • Keep your left leg straight with your left heel for the support.
  • Hold for 20 seconds and feel the stretch in the area around the thigh.
  • Switch sides and repeat three times per leg.

Besides following the doctor’s recommendations, several things must consider before doing the exercises. First, start slowly and don’t push yourself too hard. If you experience pain and discomfort, stop immediately. Second, if you are already familiar with the movements, try to incorporate them into your life and make them a routine as they are low impact and easy to do anywhere.

Read more: The Best Supplement for Joint & Muscle Pain


When you experience stiff, swollen, or painful knees, the thought of moving more than necessary seems completely unnecessary when you have arthritis. Even when getting up from a chair or climbing stairs, it can be painful. Besides using medicines, exercise is another alternative for people with knee arthritis to reduce pain.

By doing some stretches for arthritic knees regularly, you can reduce knee pain, stiffness, and increase flexibility. These stretching exercises include calves, hip flexors, quadriceps, and hamstrings. These parts are vital elements that support and work together when your knee is bending or moving.

Therefore, strengthening these muscles can stabilize and strengthen the knee as you move or walk from a joint weakened by arthritis. So, if you want to keep your joints healthy, these exercises are the most effective non-medical treatment if you want to reduce knee pain.

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