Exercises > Flexibility (Joints) > Knee Stretches
The following knee stretches are designed to restore movement to the knee and improve flexibility of muscles crossing the knee. If you are injured, you should discuss the suitability of these stretches with your physiotherapist prior to beginning them. Generally, they should be performed 3 times daily provided they do not cause or increase pain.
Knee Stretches – Basic Exercise
Knee Bend to Straighten
Bend and straighten your knee as far as possible and comfortable pain free (figure 1). Repeat 10 – 20 times.
Figure 1 – Knee Bend to Straighten
Knee Stretches – Advanced Exercises
Use a chair or table for balance. Take your heel towards your bottom, keeping your knees together and your back straight until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh (figure 2). Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain-free.
Figure 2 – Quadriceps Stretch
Place your foot on a step or chair. Keep your knee and back straight, lean forward at your hips until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh / knee (figure 3). Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain-free.
Figure 3 – Hamstring Stretch
With your hands against the wall, place your leg to be stretched behind you as demonstrated (figure 4). Keep your heel down, knee straight and feet pointing forwards. Gently lunge forwards until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf / knee. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain-free.
Figure 4 – Calf Stretch
Less Common Exercises
Knee Extension with Overpressure
Begin this exercise in the position demonstrated with your foot on a chair or coffee table (figure 5). Gently push down through your knee until you feel a mild to moderate stretch. Hold for 1 – 5 seconds and repeat 10 times provided the exercise is pain free.
Figure 5 – Knee Extension with Overpressure
Knee Flexion with Overpressure
Begin this exercise in the position demonstrated (figure 6). Bend your knee as far as possible and comfortable using your hands to gently pull it a little further until you feel a mild to moderate stretch. Hold for 1 – 5 seconds and repeat 10 times provided the exercise is pain free. If you are having trouble reaching your shin with your hands, a towel can be used for extra reach. Place the towel over the shin and gently pull the towel with your hands to bend the knee.
Figure 6 – Knee Flexion with Overpressure
Cross your leg to be stretched behind your other leg, taking it as far as you comfortably can. Then push your hips to the side of your leg to be stretched until you feel a stretch in your outer thigh / hip (figure 7). Keep your back straight. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain-free.
Figure 7 – ITB Stretch (left leg)
Standing tall, back straight, place your feet approximately twice shoulder width apart. Gently lunge to one side, keeping your other knee straight, until you feel a stretch in the groin of your straight leg (figure 8). Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 4 times at a mild to moderate stretch pain-free.
Figure 8 – Adductor Stretch (left leg)
Find a Physio
Find a physiotherapist who can assist with knee stretches and knee rehabilitation.
- View Knee Strengthening Exercises
- View Lower Body Massage Ball Exercises
- View Lower Body Foam Roller Exercises
- View Basic Pilates Exercises
- View Balance Exercises
Physiotherapy Products for Knee Exercises
- Resistance Band (For Strengthening Exercises)
- Massage Balls (For Self Massage)
- Foam Rollers (For Self Massage)
- Swiss Balls
- Wobble Boards (For Balance Retraining)
- Exercise Mats
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