6 Best Exercises to Manage Knee Osteoarthritis

Staying inactive is the worst thing you can do, if you have knee osteoarthritis. It can worsen your knee pain and swelling.

You need to stay active in order to improve your condition. Even simple exercises like walking and swimming can reduce osteoarthritis symptoms. However, more targeted exercises will offer better results.

To ease knee osteoarthritis symptoms, you need to strengthen and loosen the muscles attached to your knees. Stronger hamstrings, calves and quads will act as shock absorbers and reduce the pressure on your knees. Flexibility in these muscles will make it easier for you to move without pain.

Let’s first look into the stretches and then the strength exercises.


As the name suggests, this exercise is designed to improve the flexibility of your calf muscles. It will improve your range of motion and ease knee pain.

How to Perform

  • Sit on the floor and then hook a towel on one foot below the toes.
  • Grab both ends of the towel with each hand and keep your back straight.
  • Keep your ankle loose and then pull the towel as much as flexibility allows. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and then repeat two more times before switching to the other leg.



Chances are you have tight hamstrings. This exercise will help loosen your hamstrings.

How to Perform

  • Sit on the floor and keep one knee bent. Rest the outer thigh of the bent foot on the floor.
  • Keep the other foot flat on the floor. Keep your back straight and then lean forward as much as flexibility allows.
  • You should feel a little discomfort in the hamstring when you bend your torso forward.
  • Stretch each leg for 30 seconds.



It’s important to stretch your quads, because they’re attached to your kneecap. Quad tightness can worsen your knee pain.

How to Perform

  • Lie on your stomach and then bend one knee.
  • Try to bring the heels of the bent foot as close to your butt as possible.
  • If your quads are flexible enough, grab the bent foot and pull it toward your butt.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds on each leg and repeat three times.
  • Feel free to lie sideways if you’re not comfortable lying on your stomach.



Calf raises will strengthen your calf muscles and help stabilize your knees.

How to Perform

  • Stand upright and hold on to a chair for support.
  • Keep your feet hip-width apart. Lift your heels off the floor as high as you can, pause for 2 seconds and then lower them down to the floor. Repeat this movement 10 times.



This exercise will help strengthen your hamstrings without putting pressure on your knees. Wear ankle weights if you find it too easy.

How to Perform

  • Lie on your stomach and keep both feet flat on the floor.
  • Bend one knee and slowly curl it toward your butt.
  • Slowly lower it back to starting position and repeat this movement.
  • Do at least 20 reps for each leg.



You might have already guessed that this exercise strengthens your quads. Note that wearing ankle weights will make it more effective.

How to Perform

  • Sit on a chair and keep both feet bent at 90 degrees.
  • Lift one foot off the floor and then extend it forward until it’s straight.
  • Squeeze it for two seconds and then slowly lower it to the floor.
  • Do 20-30 reps for each leg.


Source: https://www.care2.com/greenliving/6-best-exercises-to-manage-knee-osteoarthritis.html