Whether you’re a dedicated athlete, casual gym-goer, or getting older, no one likes dealing with knee pain as it can dampen your day and quality of life if the pain persists.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, nearly 18 million individuals suffer from knee pain and see a doctor for related knee issues each year.

Luckily for you, in this blog post, we’ll walk you through 3 practical exercises you can do right away in the comfort of your home to begin strengthening your knees and reduce knee pain. Read on.

What causes knee pain and weakness?

The possibilities for the root of your knee pain and weakness are endless. We’ll talk about the most common causes and see if you can identify your case.

One cause for knee pain can happen from overuse from:

  • Squatting
  • Sitting for long periods
  • Climbing/descending steps

Overuse happens when you repetitively overuse muscles without proper rest, leading to knee pain depending on your exercise routine.

Other common causes of knee pain and weakness may involve something to do with how you’re:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Exercising
  • Playing an intense sport 

Which can lead to you accidentally twisting your knee or stepping awkwardly, leading to a muscle imbalance which can loosen up pieces of cartilage from your joints. 

The last potential cause (that we’re mentioning) can be attributed to hip weakness. To be more specific, hip abductor or lateral hip weakness. The flexion and extension of your knee are primarily controlled by your hips and ankles.

How to treat knee weakness

Here’s a list of 3 exercises you can do right away to begin relieving knee pain and slowly build knee strength.

3 knee strengthening exercises you can do right now

Once you’re done reading this blog post, you can start doing these knee exercises right away! You don’t need any fancy or expensive equipment, and no gym is required. 

All you’ll need is your body and a mini band (optional). You can do these in the comfort of your own home. According to Jared Beckstrand, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, these three exercises are most effective for building strength and relieving knee pain. Let us explain.

Exercise 1: Side-Lying Hip Abduction

How to do

  • Lay down on your uninjured side (this means your injured knee is going to be up, facing up to the ceiling)
  • Keep your hips stacked (one on top of the other)
  • Lift your heel up towards the ceiling

Try not to let your hips roll backward. Keep your toe pointed down. Drive your heel up towards the ceiling. 

Exercise 2: Resisted Side-Lying Hip Abduction

This exercise is the same as the first one. The only difference is you’ll be using a mini band for resistance. 

How to do

  • Lay down on your uninjured side (this means your injured knee is going to be up towards the ceiling)
  • Keep your hips stacked (one on top of the other)
  • Wrap a mini band around your knees
  • Lift your heel up towards the ceiling

Exercise 3: Lateral Band Walks

How to do

  • Standing up, wrap a mini band around your knees
  • Get into a partial squat position
  • Take a big step to the side
  • Then a half step to follow it

We could sit here and type out what you have to do in extreme detail, but it’d be a lot easier if you see live demonstrations with your own eyes.

Here’s a video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzoRfu1gzC0

The video is seven minutes long with four different exercises. The timestamps for each exercise are below, so you can skip ahead to see how they’re performed live instead of just reading!

You’ll see proper form and how to stretch correctly. Check it out after you’ve read this blog so you can begin relieving your knee pain!

Side-lying hip abduction exercise begins at 4:18

Resisted side-lying hip abduction exercise begins at 5:09

Lateral band walks exercise begins at 5:35

How many sets and reps should you perform for these exercises?

The goal is to go for fatigue and wear your muscles out to stimulate strength progression. Along with Physical Therapist Jared Beckstrand, we also recommend doing 3 sets of 15-20 reps for each exercise.

How often should you perform these exercises?

The goal is to build progression through each workout, as your strength allows. Choose one of the three workouts we mentioned above and perform one once daily. 

You can experiment and rotate each workout weekly to see which one helps relieve you of pain the most effectively. We don’t recommend doing all four exercises in one day. However, you can “test” which workout is best for you by trying each exercise on a small scale with 1 set of 10 reps.

Last Thoughts

That covers it. Now you know some of the most common causes for weak knees and what you can do about it right now to help relieve knee pain and build knee strength. If the pain persists, you should get an official opinion from your doctor or physical therapist so they can get down to the true root of the problem! 

Do you want to get in touch with us?

If you’d like personal 1:1 care or want to learn more, please contact us at (410) 431-2153, or click here. We’ll get you in touch with one of our dedicated professionals. At True Sports Physical Therapy, your health is always front of mind! It’s our mission to help you get off the sidelines and back on your feet in the fastest and safest way possible.