4 Exercises that are Easy on the Knees

Approximately 19.5% of all U.S. adults say they suffer from knee pain. (The American Academy of Pain Medicine) If you’re reading this, we’re guessing you’re part of the 63 million Americans who experience knee pain on a consistent basis. It affects your work, your everyday movement, and even what type of new activities you’re willing to try. “Oh, I couldn’t do that. My knee hurts too bad.”

Staying active may be a challenge with a bum knee, which is why we recommend the following four exercises that are easy on your knees. As with all exercises, you should consult with your primary care physician or orthopedic physician before beginning any new exercises. If you find that any of the following exercises cause pain or discomfort, it’s best if you stop the activity and find a substitute exercise.

Straight Leg Raises

This may be one of the easier exercises for you to complete. They help tighten the quadriceps without moving the joint.

While lying on your back, raise one leg six inches off the floor and hold for five to ten seconds. Alternate legs or raise both legs at one time for longer periods for greater difficulty.

Half Squats

As the name suggests, this is a partial version of a full squat. Start in a normal standing position with your legs spaced shoulder-width apart. Keep your toes pointed forward and start by dropping your backside and bending your knees. Lower your upper body until your knees are in a halfway-seated position. Hold the position for five seconds and then return to a full standing position. Complete 15-20 reps as you feel comfortable and aim for three sets.


Walking up a single flight of stairs can give your knees a good workout without causing much pain. If you are suffering from serious pain, consider going up the stairs backwards. This allows your hamstring muscles to do more of the work. As your knee regains its strength, you should be able to go up the stairs as normal.

Calf Raises

We all know the song: “The hip bone’s connected to the knee bone…” That song is more accurate than we may realize because everything is connected, especially when it comes to your musculoskeletal system. By strengthening your calf muscles, you relieve some of the tension your knee may be experiencing. This means your knee doesn’t have to work as hard with strong calf muscles to carry some of the load.

Start your calf raises by facing a wall or chair. You may hold onto the chair or wall for balance if you’re just getting started. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly raise up on your toes. This should place a healthy stretch on your calf muscles. Hold the raised position for five to ten seconds and then, slowly return your feet to the floor. Repeat the exercise for 10-20 reps and aim for two to three sets of exercises.

If you’re experiencing significant knee pain, we recommend starting a conversation with one of our knee specialists at Orthopedic Associates. We can identify the extent and nature of your knee pain and what treatment options may be best. Click here to schedule an appointment with Orthopedic Associates.