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6 stretches and strengthening exercises to relieve knee pain and prevent it from worsening

Writer: NICKY LAMARCO | Outlet: Insider

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Knee pain is common. According to one estimate, approximately 25% of adults suffer from it. Although stretching isn't likely to fully relieve knee pain, it may help promote the healing process if the pain is caused by inflammation.

"The main benefit of flexibility is to improve joint range of motion and make it easier to move through normal daily activities," says Melissa Morris, an ACSM certified exercise physiologist with the life insurance comparison site, "It may help prevent some minor aches and pains, but will not relieve or combat pain if it is already there."

In addition to stretching, Morris tells Insider that you should do exercises that build the large muscles surrounding your knee and ensure the stability of the area when moving. Exercises that build these muscles and may prevent knee pain when performed properly and regularly are squats, lunges, step-ups, deadlifts, leg presses, and hamstring curls.

Here's a step-by-step guide for how to do six expert-recommended stretches and exercises to help with knee pain.


The best and safest stretches for painful knees are done with proper form and technique. Pay attention to your body while stretching, and don't push it too far. Stop when you feel a little discomfort. You'll know you've gone too far when you feel pain― that's your body telling you to stop, so listen.

These are the best stretches for knee pain, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:

  1. Heel and calf stretch
  2. Quad stretch
  3. Hamstring stretch
  4. Half squat stretches
  5. Hamstring curls or butt kicks
  6. Leg extensions