Knee pain commonly occurs when muscles, tendons or ligaments that surround the knee are experiencing inflammation or are injured. This type of pain is very common among teenagers, young adults, athletes and those experiencing arthritic pain. Below are 4 exercises and stretches you can do at home to help strengthen or relax key muscles to help address knee pain. However, if you are experiencing moderate-to-severe knee pain, or experiencing internal knee pain, it is important to seek professional care by an experienced chiropractor or acupuncturist.

Hip abduction:

Whether you’re an athlete or not, there is a correlation between weak gluteal muscles are and knee pain, specifically the muscles that control abduction of the hip. In order to strengthen this muscle group, do the following exercise: 

  • Lie on your side with the upside leg straightened. Rotate your hip inwards (think of pointing your toe to the ground) and then slowly raise your leg up towards the ceiling or sky. The key here is slow, controlled movements. Your leg should be in line with your back and pelvis, not in front or behind your center of gravity. Perform 3 sets of 10-16 repetitions for each leg.


The next muscle group we need to strengthen for general knee pain are the quadriceps, the thigh muscles that contract when we completely straighten our leg. This muscle group directly connects to the kneecap via a large tendon and is prone to elicit pain when weak, tight or irritated. This exercise will help activate and reinforce the quadriceps without putting an excess load on the muscle:

  • Lie on your back in a supine position with the leg being exercised straightened on the ground and the other bent in a relaxed position. Now slowly raise the target leg up as far as comfortable without lifting your glutes off the ground, and then slowly lower your leg back to the ground, do 3×10-16 for each leg. You can increase the difficulty of this exercise by holding a glute bridge during the exercise.

Foam Rolling:

 Implementing a self-massage or muscle release routine is a great way to help relax tight, irritated muscles experiencing inflammation. Easy tools for doing this include a foam roller. For knee pain; I recommend targeting the hamstrings, quads, and calves with the foam roller until tension release is felt — setting a time limit of 3-5 minutes for each muscle group. Rolling these muscles out on a lacrosse ball can offer a more targeted session.

Hamstring and Psoas Stretching:

Two key muscles groups that connect to the knee and can cause pain are the larger muscles of the thigh. Stretching these muscles out can help reduce tension and improve range of motion. You can either hold these stretches 3x 45-90s at a time or do 15 rounds of short 5-10s holds.

  • Hamstring stretch: Sit on the floor with both legs straight and reach out with

your hands as far as feels comfortable. Alternatively; stand upright, cross one leg over the other and keep both legs straight then slowly bring your forehead down towards your knees by bending at the waist and rounding out the lower back. 

  • Psoas stretch: Start with both knees on the ground and lunge forward with your left leg so your left foot and right knee are contacting the ground. Slowly lunge forward while keeping your back straight and hold for the desired time and then repeat for the other side. You can increase the stretch by squeezing your glute muscles when leaning into the lunge.