What Exercises Can I Do For Arthritis In My Knees

by Daisy

Arthritis in the knees can cause pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. However, engaging in regular, appropriate exercise can help alleviate symptoms, improve joint function, and enhance overall quality of life. Here are specific exercises you can do to manage arthritis in your knees.

Understanding Arthritis in the Knees

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints. The most common types affecting the knees are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that occurs when the cartilage between joints wears down. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the joint lining.


Symptoms of Knee Arthritis

  • Pain and tenderness
  • Stiffness and swelling
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Crepitus (a grating sensation)
  • Weakness in the knee joint

Benefits of Exercise for Knee Arthritis

  • Reduces pain and stiffness
  • Improves joint function
  • Strengthens muscles around the joint
  • Enhances balance and stability
  • Aids weight management

Types of Exercises for Knee Arthritis

Low-Impact Aerobic Exercises

Low-impact aerobic exercises increase heart rate without putting excessive stress on the knees. These exercises help maintain cardiovascular health, improve joint function, and aid in weight management.



Walking is a simple, effective way to keep moving without straining the knees. Aim for 30 minutes of walking most days of the week. Use supportive shoes and opt for flat, even surfaces.


Swimming and Water Aerobics

Exercising in water reduces the impact on your joints while providing resistance that strengthens muscles. Swimming, water walking, and water aerobics are excellent choices.


Cycling, whether on a stationary bike or outdoors, is a low-impact activity that strengthens the quadriceps and hamstrings, improving knee stability. Adjust the seat height to ensure a comfortable ride.

Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening exercises target muscles around the knee, providing better support and reducing stress on the joint.

Quadriceps Strengthening

Straight Leg Raises:

Lie on your back with one leg bent and the other straight.

Lift the straight leg to the height of the bent knee.

Hold for a few seconds, then lower it slowly.

Repeat 10-15 times for each leg.

Wall Squats:

Stand with your back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart.

Slowly slide down into a squat position, keeping your knees over your ankles.

Hold for 5-10 seconds, then slide back up.

Repeat 10 times.

Hamstring Strengthening

Hamstring Curls:

Stand behind a chair, holding onto the backrest for support.

Slowly lift one foot towards your buttocks, keeping your knees together.

Hold for a few seconds, then lower your foot.

Repeat 10-15 times for each leg.


Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Lift your hips towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes.

Hold for a few seconds, then lower your hips back down.

Repeat 10-15 times.

See Also: What Is The Number 1 Fat Burning Exercise

Range of Motion Exercises

Range of motion exercises help maintain flexibility and reduce stiffness in the knee joint.

Heel Slides

Lie on your back with one leg bent and the other straight.

Slide the heel of the bent leg towards your buttocks, then back to the starting position.

Repeat 10-15 times for each leg.

Knee Extensions

Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor.

Slowly extend one leg until it is straight, hold for a few seconds, then lower it back down.

Repeat 10-15 times for each leg.

Balance and Stability Exercises

Improving balance and stability can reduce the risk of falls and further injury.

Single Leg Stand

Stand near a wall or sturdy chair for support.

Lift one foot off the ground and balance on the other foot.

Hold for 10-30 seconds, then switch legs.

Repeat 5-10 times for each leg.

Heel-to-Toe Walk

Walk in a straight line, placing the heel of one foot directly in front of the toes of the other foot.

Take 20 steps forward, then turn around and walk back.

Flexibility and Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises help maintain flexibility and reduce tension in the muscles surrounding the knee.

Hamstring Stretch

Sit on the edge of a chair with one leg extended straight.

Lean forward from the hips, reaching towards your toes.

Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch legs.

Calf Stretch

Stand facing a wall with one foot forward and the other foot back.

Press your hands against the wall and bend the front knee, keeping the back leg straight.

Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch legs.

Tips for Exercising with Knee Arthritis

Start Slowly

Begin with low-intensity exercises and gradually increase the duration and intensity as your fitness improves.

Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to your body’s signals. If you experience pain or discomfort, stop the activity and rest.

Warm Up and Cool Down

Always warm up before exercising to prepare your muscles and joints, and cool down afterwards to help your body recover.

Use Proper Technique

Ensure you are using the correct form and technique to avoid unnecessary strain on your knees.

Stay Consistent

Regular exercise is key to managing arthritis symptoms. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

Consult a Professional

Work with a physical therapist or fitness professional to develop a safe and effective exercise plan tailored to your needs.


Exercise is a powerful tool in managing knee arthritis. By incorporating low-impact aerobic exercises, strengthening exercises, range of motion exercises, balance and stability exercises, and flexibility and stretching exercises into your routine, you can improve joint function, reduce pain, and enhance your overall quality of life. Remember to start slowly, listen to your body, and stay consistent to reap the full benefits of your exercise regimen. If you’re unsure where to start, consult a healthcare professional to guide you in creating a personalized exercise plan.


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