The 3 Best Stretches For Knee Torment

Regardless of your age or activity of choice, it seems that almost everyone suffers from knee pain at some point. However, stretching offers a possible solution to avoid it. “Light stretches can help reduce muscle protection or the burden of pain and restore joint mobility,” says Lauren Loberg, DPT, a body therapist at TRIA Orthopaedic in Bloomington, Minnesota.

While stretching doesn’t solve knee pain, it can provide short-term relief to make exercise and movement more comfortable, she adds.

For starters, stretching is more beneficial if your knees are stiff or immobile. To relieve stiffness and improve mobility, it is important to target the muscles and joints that surround the knees. That means focusing on the hips, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, according to Philip Higgins, DPT, clinical director of customized treatments in Seattle, Washington. If these areas are flexible and mobile, your knees will be better equipped to bend, straighten and rotate safely and efficiently.

These experts say that the following five knee stretches tick all the necessary boxes to reduce knee pain. Do them every day or incorporate them into your post-workout cooldown routine to reap the benefits.


Tight hamstrings limit movements in the area of the knee, which gives pressure to the joints. Stretching the thighs in the supine position increases flexibility and helps to relieve pulling and pain.

How to do it: lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Strap a towel, belt or strap around your right thigh and grasp the ends with both hands. Without lifting your head or shoulders off the floor, slowly pull the towel, belt or strap to raise your right leg to your chest. Straighten your right leg or keep it slightly bent. Raise your leg until you feel a slight stretching of the thighs. Hold the stretch for 10 to 20 seconds before releasing. Repeat for 5 to 10 repetitions and go to the other leg.


The hip flexor muscles and narrowed quadriceps at the front of your thighs can limit knee flexion or compress the knee pads, causing knee pain over time, Higgins explains. This stretch can relieve pain and stiffness by lengthening the tense muscles of the hip flexor and quad.

How to do it: Start in a semi-knee position with your left knee on the floor and your right knee bent 90 degrees in front of your body. You may want to place a pillow or towel under your lower knee. Step back and grasp your left foot with your left hand. Gently pull your foot up until you feel a slight stretch in your left quadriceps. Intensify the stretch by squeezing your right gluteus muscle to push your hip forward. Hold for at least 30 seconds before switching sides.


The iliotibial band (IT) is a thick piece of fascia that extends from the outside of your hip to the side of your knee. It can become tight and inflamed when overused, Loberg says.

How to do it: sit on the floor with both legs in front of you. Bend your left knee and cross it on your right side, placing your left foot flat on the floor. Keeping your legs in place, turn your torso to look left until you feel a stretch. To help you stretch, you can hang your right elbow on the outside of your right knee and place your left palm on the floor behind you. Hold for at least 30 seconds. Let go and repeat once or twice on the same side before going to the other side.

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