Knee Arthritis Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

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These knee arthritis stretches and exercises are simple to do and should provide some relief from knee arthritis pain. They are also great for keeping your knees nice and fit. Read Doctor Jo’s full blog post about this at

The first stretch is for your calf muscles. Start off with your legs out in front of you. Keep the leg you want to stretch out in front of you. Take a stretch strap, dog leash, belt, or towel and wrap it around the ball of your foot. Relax your foot, and pull the strap towards you stretching your calf muscle. You should feel the stretch under your leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and do three of them.

The next stretch is for the hamstrings. Keep your leg that you want to stretch out in front of you. Try to keep your back straight and just bend at your hips. Keep your leg straight and pull your toes towards you to get an extra stretch. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat three times.

The last stretch is for your quad muscles. This time you will lie on your stomach to stretch. Wrap the strap or dog leash around your ankle, and then lie on your stomach. Bring the strap up and around your shoulder so you are comfortable. Then pull the strap towards you bringing the lower leg towards your bottom. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds doing three of them.

Now we will move on to the exercises. The first exercise is going to be a quad set. Put your leg straight out in front of you again. You can use a towel roll underneath your knee as a target. Activate your quad muscle by squeezing it and pull your toes toward you at the same time. This will push your knee into the ground. Try to hold this for 5-10 seconds and do 10 of them.

Next you will do a short arc quad (SAQ). For this, you will use a foam roll or a rolled up beach towel. You want something big so you have a good bend in your knee. Prop your leg over the roll with your knee on the roll. Try to keep your knee on the roll the whole time, and then lift your foot in the air until your leg is straight. If you pull your toes towards you at the end, this will help activate all the muscles in the leg. Try not to go fast because then you are only using momentum. Go slow and controlled with your movements. Start of with 10 of these. If you get to 20-25 and it is easy, then you can add ankle weights.

For the next exercise, you will sit in a chair. This one is called a long arc quad (LAQ). This is similar to the SAQ where you want to go slow and controlled, and then bring your leg up straight out in front of you. Slowly come back down. Start of with 10 of these. If you get to 20-25 and it is easy, then you can add ankle weights.

Now you are going to stand up for the last exercises. For the hamstring exercise standing up, you want to keep the top part of your leg as straight as possible in line with your body. It might try to come forward if your muscles are tight, but try to keep it down. Slowly bring your foot back behind you, like you are trying to kick your bottom. Make sure you are going slow and controlled with these. Start of with 10 of these. If you get to 20-25 and it is easy, then you can add ankle weights.

The last one is for calf strengthening. With your feet about shoulder width apart, and holding onto something for balance if you need to, come up on your toes bringing your heels off the ground, and slowly come back down. If that becomes easy, you can do this one foot at a time. Start off with ten and work your way up to 20-25.

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Doctor Jo is a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy.


Knee Arthritis Stretches & Exercises:

DISCLAIMER: This video and any related comments are not medical advice. Doctor Jo is a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy; however, she is not YOUR Physical Therapist and can’t possibly diagnose you through the Internet. So don’t use this information to avoid going to your own healthcare professional or to replace the advice they have given you. This information should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any medical condition. If you are not properly diagnosed, this information won’t help, and it could make things worse. If you experience any pain, stop immediately and see your healthcare professional.


AskDoctorJo says:

Buy a printable worksheet with the Knee Arthritis Stretches & Exercises in this video here:
Don't forget to hit the 🔴 SUBSCRIBE 🔴 button above! Find all of my videos at

Gwen says:

I'm 22 and have arthritis due to lupus. I'll be trying these out and hope that it helps!

Wanda Bigelow says:

Sounds good, but unfortunately i can't get down in the floor.

NarcoCateVishal says:

nice , my knee is paining while climbing up the strairs, Also while coming down through stairs. Suggest excercise according to my pain

Asoke Dassarma says:

Dear Dr Jo
Can i do squats if i have slight knee pain due to arthritis?
Thank you

Cold Dose says:

Thank you, Great exercises and easy to follow and to remember

ranveer ranveer says:

I am suffering from RA plz help

Jack Burton says:

Thanks that helped tons

Grant Pedersen says:

Good day, i suffer from gout for `6 years and i had a bad knee operation which has limited my knee movement. will these exercises help?

kim gucci says:

I'm 18 and i recently found out that i have arthritis and I love doing these exercises in the morning it really relaxes the muscles but I don't have any idea about what should i consume. Can you please make a diet plan for arthritis. 👉🏻👈🏻

- says:

When you're 15 with Arthritis lol

Barry McGuire says:

I get cramps in my left leg, how can I stop that?

Barry McGuire says:

I get cramps in my left leg when going theses exercises, how can I stop that?

Barry McGuire says:

Are these good for knees that had meniscus surgery?

Reggie Sanders says:

I’ve had 2-meniscus tears – basketball and tennis. The first one was met with PT afterwards and I was able to resume playing basketball at my usual competitive level. The therapist literally tossed my crutches across the room and then stretched my knee without apology. Two years later the I tore the other one without PT. That left my legs slightly unbalanced. Your stretch will help fix that, I hope! 🏀🎾

Reggie Sanders says:

Very good stretch, especially the over the shoulder “pull” of my leg closer to my glutes. By the way, are those Batman socks!

buu zuu says:

yeah i have stopped running every 2-3days now & to much like before made me relapse in weight trying lose it to fast + with knees starting to feel in pain with work doing labour work & work load sometimes with weight we lift going up stairs at times & me doing squats as well i think y i started feeling it was another reason y i didnt wana work to much with it effecting me & my mind & my back anyways am losing more weight at the moment i was at 117kgs im at 109kgs now im running less & doing less to not stress back & joints & mostly my knee which is another reason with lower back but losing weight wil b benefical with joints & cuttin out the sugar & anytime eating thing have cut down & have results losing 8kgs so far i wana get to 80kgs slowly this time id didnt know much bout body til i started feeling pain anyways am getting those straps 2moro for boxing day i already have a roller but wil use such stretchs for knee i aint feeling same pain tho with cutting runnin to once a week 2 times a day at times 20-30minutes i cant do that every 2-3days & work labouring no recovery inbetween is y i started feeling pain & injuries but am taking more care of it with videos like such & arthitis i have i think weight lose is great & i need my knees to workout & work ….good video

DND Records says:

Thanks I'll do these !

Zeferson Moirangcha says:

Please help me doctor I have been suffering from whole body pain from last 2/3 months

L F says:

Thanks doc my knee is killing me hope this works

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