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Reduce stiffness and pain when knee is bent with two exercises

Stiff Knee Pain When Bending

Many issues can cause pain and stiffness in your knee when you’re bending it. Osteoarthritis can lead to such symptoms, and injuries like ligament and cartilage tears can cause pain and stiffness as well. 

However, one of the most common sources of stiffness and pain when the knee is bent is muscle problems. Too much tension in muscles as far away as the butt and hip can lead to these knee symptoms, and they can also be the result of weakness in muscles around the knee. Physical therapists can help you target these specific causes of knee stiffness and pain. These two therapeutic exercises are particularly useful for such symptoms:

1.  Prone iliotibial (IT) band stretch

In spite of its name, the prone IT band stretch is actually designed to stretch muscles attached to the IT band and not this structure itself. The IT band runs from the buttock, down the outside of the thigh and across the outside of the knee. It’s attached to muscles in the butt such as the tensor fasciae latae (TFL) and gluteus maximus. Physical therapists often recommend the prone IT band stretch to reduce tension in these muscles that’s causing stiffness and pain when the knee is bent. 

How to perform the IT band stretch

  • Lie down on your back on a bed or the floor. Your legs should be straight out in front of you. 
  • Slowly bend the knee of your affected leg up toward your chest. 
  • Grasp the back of your thigh with both hands.
  • Slowly pull the bent knee toward your opposite shoulder until you feel a stretch in your buttock. 
  • Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. 
  • Relax back into the starting position for about 30 seconds. 
  • Repeat these steps until you’ve stretched the affected leg three times. 

2.  Quad sets

Weakness in the quadriceps muscle could be the culprit behind the pain and stiffness you feel in your knee when bending it. A weak quad can lead to these symptoms because it provides less support for the knee, and your knee particularly needs good support when it’s bending. A physical therapist can help you strengthen weak quads with the quad set exercise. 

How to perform the quad set exercise

  • Start by lying down on your back on a bed or the floor; keep your affected leg straight and your toes pointed toward the ceiling. You can keep the other leg straight or bend it so your foot is flat on the floor if you need more support. 
  • Slowly tighten the quad muscle of the affected leg and press the back of your knee into the bed or floor. 
  • Hold this position for eight to 10 seconds. 
  • Relax your quad muscle and let your leg rest for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat these steps until you’ve done 10 to 15 repetitions of this exercise. 

Get help with stiffness and pain when bending your knee at Border Therapy Services

Do you feel pain or stiffness every time you bend your knee? Border Therapy Services has a team of physical therapy specialists that can help you. We’ll start your therapy process by having you come in for a complimentary screening, which is designed to pinpoint the cause of your symptoms. Our team will then build you a personalized treatment plan to treat your knee, and this plan could make use of therapy methods such as: 

Contact our team today for more information about how we can treat knee issues or to schedule your complimentary screening.