10 Best Knee Arthritis Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo

10 Best Knee Arthritis Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo


hey everybody its dr. Jo and Remy! Yes. today we’re going to show you the top 10 exercises for knee arthritis. so let’s get started. yeah. before we start if you haven’t subscribed yet make sure and click on the button down there. so let’s start off with a calf stretch. you can stretch your calves a whole bunch of different ways. I like using a strap. if you don’t have a strap, something solid, make sure you use like a belt, a dog leash, if you have one. you can even use a jump rope, but not the resistive bands. you want it to be something that’s not gonna give. make sure and put the loop or the belt around kind of the ball of your foot. you don’t want to up on your toes and you don’t want it down too low because then you won’t get as much of a stretch. some people do like either propping their leg up or hanging it off of something like a chair or an ottoman, but all you’re gonna do is you’re gonna relax your foot and you’re gonna pull the strap to get the stretch. so you’re just pulling your foot towards you, and you should feel that calf stretch right under your leg right there. so since it’s a stretch you want to hold that stretch for 30 seconds and then you want to do three usually on each side because if you’re having some knee arthritis, it’s probably in both sides, even if one’s worse than the other, but since you’re stretching the calf muscles (gotta get that out) because those calf muscles cross at that knee joint. so if those are tight, they can put extra pressure on that joint. so that’s why it’s really important to stretch. so you’re not pulling your foot up you’re pulling the foot with the strap you’re not actively doing it. so again 30 seconds 3 times on each side. so then the next one is kind of a stretch slash exercise. you can do this sitting up or you can do it lying down. I kind of like lying down because I can feel like for your knee you can get more motion in your knee, and if you’re sitting up, you’ll still get it but then you’re gonna get a lot in your hip as well. and so if your hips bothering you, you’re probably not going to get as much in your knee, but this is just a simple heel slide. so all you’re doing is just like it sounds. you’re sliding your heel up towards your bottom trying to stretch out that knee, get that bend or that flexion in there as much as possible. so you slide it up as much as you can, a little bit of pressure on there. hold it for about three seconds and then slide back down. some people like to use the strap to kind of help get that pull. you can do that the very first time you do it. a couple times you might not want to because this is going to give you an extra stretch, so as you’re sliding let’s say my knees starting to get tight there, you can take that strap and then just pull it up a little bit more. some people also if they don’t have the strap or they don’t want to use the strap they’ll start sliding it up and then take their other leg and then give that a little bit of overpressure, a little bit of stretch in there, but again when you’re getting that stretch, you want to have that hurts so good kind of pain not just pain pain, or sharp pain. you want it to be that kind of achy pain a little bit but not too much because if you have too much then you’re just going to end up hurting and then it’s going to cause pain in there more inflammation. so find that happy middle ground of your getting that stretch, but you’re not stretching it too much. so the next one is going to be to stretch out your quads. again there’s a lot of ways to stretch out the quads, but this one I’m going to show you with the strap again. so this time I’m going to roll over onto my stomach. so I’m just going to switch sides. so my leg is still closest to you. this time when you take the loop, bring it all the way up around your ankle. then you’re going to kind of have the strap and as you’re rolling over place it over your shoulder because you want to be in a comfortable position. so if you’re propped up on your elbows, and that’s not really comfortable, make sure you’re lying all the way down. I’m gonna prop up just because it’s easier for me to talk to you, but again make sure you’re comfortable because you don’t want your knee to start feeling better and then you start having elbow or shoulder issues. so all you’re gonna do is again you’re using the strap to do the work you can bring your leg up till it gets a little bit tight, but to get the stretch you’re pulling on that strap. so I’ve had a couple comments in the past well I can’t get my my leg as far as you. well I don’t really have any problems in my knees, I do have some occasional knee pain, so if you’re even right here, but you’re feeling that stretch, that’s fine. if you’re here if you’ve got a lot of arthritis in that knee, and you’re tight there, don’t force it. just get that good stretch, but not painful stretch. but eventually you want it to get that heel as close to your bottom as possible. so since this is another stretch and hold, you want to hold that for 30 seconds and then do three on each side. so now we’re gonna go into a hamstring stretch. so the hamstrings are the same where they’re underneath here, and they cross that knee joint, so that’s why again all these so far have kind of crossed that joint. that’s why you really want to stretch them out to help get rid of that arthritis pain because a lot of times when those muscles are tight, they’re just putting more pressure on that joint. when you have arthritis in there, that extra pressure just causes more pain. so with the hamstring stretches, again there’s a lots of ways to do it I have several videos for that so you can check those out if you want to. find a different way to stretch it you don’t have to necessarily stretch it this way, you just stretch it the way you feel like you get the best stretch. so you’re gonna lie back down. the strap’s just going to be on your foot. it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a particular spot. when I’m lying down stretching the hamstrings, I like to prop up my other leg just because that takes pressure off of my low back. you don’t have to. some people like having the other leg down because it they feel like they get a better stretch, but I like propping mine up, I just finding that a little more comfortable. so again this is when you’re really using the strap and pull it up. you’re not lifting the leg up yourself you really want that leg to be relaxed, but try and keep that knee straight. if you’re pulling up and that knee starts to bend, that means you’re not really getting those hamstring stretch. so even if you can only go to here with your leg straight, that’s as far as I want you to go. some people are like well I can get it all the way up to here, but then their knee has bent, and that’s not really stretching those hamstrings. so if you can get to here and you feel like if you go any further your knee’s gonna Bend, just go to there. if you feel like you can go all the way up, as long as you keep that knee straight, which is going to stretch out those hamstrings, then that’s fine. but again if you start feeling like you’re bending that knee a little bit, come back down and kind of start over and just stop when you feel like that and it’s trying to give on you. so again, holding it for 30 seconds doing that three times on each side, and then coming back down. so the next one is going to be the IT band. that iliotibial band is the one that’s on the outside. this one is one that people tend to forget about a lot because it’s on the side of the leg, but when it’s irritated, it can cause a lot of knee pain, hip pain, and even back pain. so it’s really important to not forget about this one. the IT band starts all the way up at the hip, and comes all the way down and getting crosses that knee joint. so you’re going to be in the same kind of position for the hamstring stretch for the IT band stretch, but this time you’re gonna cross your body a little bit with it. so it changes up a little bit where I usually then bring my leg down, just because the knee kind of gets in the way because you’re gonna be crossing your body. so still try to keep that leg as straight as you can toward that knee as straight as you can because if you start bending your knee and then stretching, you’re not going to get the IT band stretch. so even if you just have come to here where it starts to feel tight then drop it over and you should feel that stretch through here. now sometimes people feel it more up in the hip and some people feel it more down in the knee. it doesn’t really matter if you feel it more up in your hip, you’re still stretching it down by your knee, so don’t feel like you’re doing it wrong. but you can sometimes if you change the angle so if I were to come up a little bit higher and then drop it over, then I might feel it a little bit more here versus here. so play around with it a little bit, but again the key is to keep that knee straight. and hold it for 30 seconds doing three on each side. if you if you can go over a little bit more that’s great, but you really want to kind of keep the lower part of your body down. if it comes up a little bit like mine, that’s fine, but you don’t want to roll the whole body over because the goal is to stretch out that IT band. so again 30 seconds three times on each side. and again there’s a lot of ways to stretch out those as well, so you don’t have to just do that one. so now we’re going to stretch out the piriformis and the glute. and so these don’t actually come and cross that knee joint, but they have a lot to do in the role of walking and supporting our knee because especially those glute muscles, those are biggest muscles in here. they work really hard, so if these are strong and stretched out it’s going to help support the knee. so it’s really important to stretch those as well. so the easiest way to do it, and you can do this sitting in a chair as well, some people don’t want to get on the floor, or get in their bed to do it, but the way I like to stretch it is the side that you want to stretch, so if I want to stretch this side I’m going to cross it over into kind of a figure four position. now this one sometimes will put a lot of pressure on that knee, so if you have that arthritis in your knee, or that knee pain this one might be a little uncomfortable for you. so make sure to check out one of my other piriformis stretching videos to try and find a couple of different ways to do it, but this is the one that I like the best. so in this position, the other knee height depends on how much of a stretch you’re getting. so kind of support yourself with your arms here but the higher you bring that knee up, the more of a stretch you’re going to get. so you can start down here, and if that feels ok on your knee, you can lean your upper body and you should feel a stretch through there. or as I said, some people then just like to slide their leg up and then they’re still getting that stretch right in through here. so again that thirty Seconds three times. that’s kind of the gold standard for stretching. sometimes if you can’t hold it quite that long, it’s okay to do 15 to 20 seconds, but try and build yourself up to thirty seconds. some people say, well can I hold it longer for like a minute. you can, and if you’re really really tight sometimes a longer stretch is more beneficial as long as you’re comfortable that whole minute, not going kind of things, you know, just make sure it’s a lot of tension, but comfortable. not necessarily painful while you’re doing it. so then the next stretch is going to be for the groin area. for the groin muscles some of those adductors and groin muscles do cross at the knee joint, but the most of the ones up here don’t. but again, even though they don’t cross that joint, they’re really important in getting everything stretched out, loosened up, and flexible because if it’s tight in here, it’s pulling those knees inward, and that causes a lot of pressure on the inside. and so it’s really important to stretch that as well. again for the the groin, you can stretch in a whole bunch of different ways. the one that I like this the easiest is just the butterfly stretch. and so you’re just going to put your feet together in this position, and basically the closer you bring your feet in towards you, the more of a stretch you’re going to get in your groin area. if it’s if you get to a point where it’s tight but comfortable, if you want to take your elbows on the inner part of your legs right there your knees, you can push down a little bit to get more of a stretch. so some people come you know in like here. if you’re pretty flexible and they’re not getting much of a stretch so then just kind of place your forearms on the inner part of the knees and then push down and lean forward. but I bent my back a little bit. try and still keep your back straight as you’re going in. so you’re really just bending forward at the hips because if you if I come down like this, I can, see how far I can get? and I’m only getting a little bit of a stretch, but if I keep my back straight and go forward, I’m getting a much bigger stretch with that. so that’s why bending the back and keeping the back straight is important in the stretch. so again that thirty Seconds three times. so then the next one is going to be for the hip flexor. hip flexor stretches again the hip flexor muscles don’t technically cross over that knee joint, they have a lot to do with the quad muscle, so they’re really important and they have a lot to do with the hip and the core in general, so you really want those to stretch out. you really want those flexible as well. my favorite stretch for the hip flexors is probably the lunge position, this one might be a little tough for people with arthritis in their knee or a lot of arthritis their knee or pain in general. so I always say either do it on something soft like a yoga mat folded up, or put a pillow down because you don’t want to put all your pressure on that knee that’s already hurting. so if it’s my right knee, I’m gonna put the pillow under my right knee here, and then I’m going to take that left side and come up into this kind of position. it’s really important again to keep your back straight. a lot of times if people go into the stretch which is lunging forward, people will kind of bend over like this. I’m not getting any stretch at all in my hip flexor doing this. but if you keep your upper body straight, and push your hips forward like this, I’m getting a really nice stretch in those hip flexors right there. so that’s what you’re looking for. but again if you do it in this position, make sure you’re protecting that knee joint because that’s the area that we’re stretching and get trying to get to feel better. so if it’s painful there, there’s some other ways to stretch it that might help out as well, and you can check out that video. so again 30 seconds doing 3 on each side. so sometimes the placement of your foot makes a little bit of a difference. I kind of like it right in the front. if you need a chair or something next to you to hold on to for support, that’s fine, but keeping that upper body upright and then just lunging forward. but pushing your whole body forward with your hips and that is just that nice stretch through there. so the last two stretches are going to be standing up. so now you’re going to do an adductor stretch. we did the groin stretch with the butterfly stretch, this is now for all the adductors on the inside, and some of those that go down and actually cross that knee joint. so with the adductors, this time you want to keep your legs straight. that’s why it’s a little bit of a different stretch between the groins and then the adductors in general. so stretch, just kind of spread your feet out past shoulder-width. just you don’t have to go super far, but just enough so you can get that open space right there. then all you’re gonna do is lean away from the side you want to stretch. so if I’m trying to stretch my left side over here, I’m just gonna lean away like this. and I should feel a stretch right in through here. so again if you have a little bit of balance issues make sure you’re holding onto something. you can do a counter top is nice doing these, and just hold on to that or a chair and then do that 30-second stretch. and then you can just switch sides and go over and stretch the other side. so this is a really good. you can usually feel that all the way down past the knee but this is another one where it’s pretty important to have your upper body pretty upright. if you bend over a little bit to get a stretch, that’s fine because sometimes that helps you shift your weight over onto your knee, but if you’re upright a little bit more you’re gonna get a little bit more stretch. so sometimes that is why it’s nice to kind of hold on to something for balance. and so the last stretch is going to be for our anterior tibialis which is that front kind of shin muscle. the shin bones are like when someone says they have shin splints but again these are really important especially if you have that knee arthritis where it’s tight in that knee joint. sometimes that anterior tibialis muscle has to work harder because that’s the one that pulls our toes up when we walk, so if it’s having to work harder because our knee’s not doing much when we walk, it gets over worked, it gets tired, it gets tight, and that can really cause some pain in the knee as well. this is another one where there’s a lot of ways to stretch it out, but an easy way to stretch it out it’s just in standing. again I would say hold onto something for some balance if you have a little bit of balance issues, but all you’re gonna do is put your toes back and kind of roll them out towards your pinky toe. so you’re at a little bit of an angle and then just kind of lean forward a little bit. so I’m gonna kind of pull it up so you can see, and you can see my cool socks – but how my toes are down, and then I roll it out just a little bit, and then I’m pushing kind of downwards to get that stretch right in through here. so I can be careful with it you know don’t push too hard, especially if you’ve got some ankle issues, but just get that nice stretch in there. some people ask again should I do it with my shoes on or shoes off. you might want to start with your shoes on because it makes it a little bit more stable, but if you have your shoes off, you’re probably gonna get a little more of a stretch. so up to you either way is fine as long as you’re feeling a stretch in there, holding it for 30 seconds, doing three times on each side. so those are your top 10 knee arthritis stretches. yeah.if you’d like to help support my channel, make sure you click on the link to find out how up there, and don’t forget to subscribe by clicking down there. and remember be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

11 comments on “10 Best Knee Arthritis Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo

  1. Surjeet Brar Post author

    am from india
    i operate right knee acl now 8th month complte please give tips or exercise for knee Streanth
    i want play cricket agin please give some tips

    Reply
  2. Steve Szejna Post author

    Thanks Doctor Jo. Of all your stretching videos, this is my favorite. I usually get hip pain and lower back pain when doing household chores, inside or outside. When I do this stretching routine, plus some lower back stretches, I can keep going with no pain. Makes me wonder why Doctors don’t prescribe PT more often. Thanks again.

    Reply
  3. Steve Szejna Post author

    You usually recommend holding each stretch for 30 seconds and doing each 3 times. If my time is limited, can I do one 30 second stretch instead of three?

    Reply
  4. Neha Hiremath Post author

    Mam , when l sit l can"t get up without support. I am not having any joint pain. And not any decease .l am 52 year old , hight 5.6 feat. Weight 84kg. Which stretched helpful to me . Please give me some explanation doctor.

    Reply
  5. Steve Szejna Post author

    New ideas 💡 keep popping up in my brain so I’m thinking let’s see what Doctor Jo says. 🙂
    Can stretches also be done as active movements? Is this dynamic stretching versus static stretching? Such as the quad stretch, hamstring stretch, etc. Hold the stretch 3-5 seconds, release, then another 3-5 seconds, release, etc. And do that about 10 times.

    Reply
  6. Sharese Jackson Post author

    I like this, I was doing it with you, I will like this page and keep doing them THANK YOU

    Reply
  7. Op Hs Post author

    Thanks so very much Dr. Jo. Your videos are awesome. Great explanation, simple clean cut uncomplicated. Perfect for many specific situations, just about all of them. I can't wait to try them starting tomorrow. I've subscribed. Thanks. Found you by accident or, maybe not, great benefit. Also, you are lovely, so down to earth. Thank you again so much. I'm very happy to have found your site. 🤗

    Reply
  8. AskDoctorJo Post author

    Purchase the stretching strap shown in this video here: https://amzn.to/2Ipnqwg (affiliate link)

    Reply

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