Hip muscle strengthening and ankle muscle strengthening indirectly affect the knees by improving the way we walk. The most current knee rehab focuses on weakness in the gluteus medius and gluteus maximus muscles. Strengthening of these all important hip muscles can successfully lead to knee pain relief.
Hip Strengthening Helps Knee Pain
I cannot emphasize enough how important the hip muscles are in preventing knee pain. Weakness in the gluteus medius (hip muscle) causes a downward stress into the knee every time you take a step. Research studies on knee dysfunctions report weakness in the gluteus medius and gluteus maximus muscles in people with knee pain. The following exercise will help strengthen the gluts and prevent knee pain.
Knee Exercise: Clams
- Lie on your left side with your head resting on an outstretched left arm.
- Bend both knees slightly, approximately 45 degrees.
- As you exhale, lift your top knee up, keeping your ankles together.
- Hold that position for 2 seconds.
- Slowly lower the leg back down.
- Repeat 20 times.
- Switch legs and repeat the exercise on the other side – 20 times
- Perform this exercise every day.
- After 20 repetitions of this exercise, you should feel like your hip muscles have been taxed. You should feel that worked-out, burn sensation on the side of your hip/bottom.
- Make sure to keep both the top and bottom hip bones stacked one on top of each other. As you lift the top knee, do not allow the upper hip to drop back.
- To make the clam exercise more challenging, tie an exercise band around your thighs (above the knees) and repeat the same movement.
Clam Exercise Benefits:
- I have chosen to share gluteal strengthening with you because it has been shown in the research that these muscles are weak in people with knee problems. Research also shows that strengthening the gluteus muscles does improve knee pain symptoms by stabilizing the pelvis when you walk, run or do anything on two feet.