Knee Osteoarthritis (OA) Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

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Knee osteoarthritis (OA), or as it’s sometimes called wear-and-tear arthritis, is a chronic condition of the knee joint. It’s caused when the cartilage between the joint breaks down leading to pain, stiffness and swelling. See Doctor Jo’s blog post about knee osteoarthritis at:

The first exercises for knee osteoarthritis is a quad set. Straighten out your leg with your knee straight . You are going to try to push your knee down into the ground as hard as you can. To do this, you are activating your quad muscle. If you need a target for your knee, roll up a towel and place it under your knee. While you are squeezing your quad muscle to push the knee down, you can also pull your toes up towards you to activate the calf muscle. Try to told these for 3 – 5 seconds and do 10 of them.

The next exercise is a heel slide lying down. Prop up your good knee and put your surgery knee straight out. Still keeping your heel down when you slide, pull it towards your body as far as you can, and then slide back down. You can do about 10 of these. If you want to get a better stretch, then you can use a strap, dog leash, or belt to get some extra bend in the knee. Place the strap on your shin and make sure it won’t slide off. Then use the strap to pull your knee towards you while you are doing the heel slide.

After that you will do a bridge. Push your bottom up off the ground, but try to do this slowly, and do one segment of your back at a time curling upward. Then slowly go down the same way, one segment at a time.

Now you will do a straight leg raise lying on your back. For all of these you want to try to keep your leg straight by locking out your knee, and pull your toes towards your nose to activate the muscles in your leg. Slowly raise your leg to about the other side where the knee is bent, and then slowly come back down.

Then you will roll onto your stomach. Now you will do a hamstring curl. This time, keep your upper leg or thigh on the ground, and bend at your knee. Bring your foot towards your buttocks as far as you comfortably can, and then slowly come back down. Start off with 10, and work your way up to 20-25. If that becomes easy, then you can add light ankle weights.

Finally on the ground, take a ball or pillow folded in half, and put it between your knees. Squeeze into the ball and hold for 3 seconds, repeat 10 times.

The last exercise is standing up. This is on a tall step, but you should start off with something shorter like 2-3 inches. You can also use a step at home where there is a rail to hold onto. Go very slowly and controlled with the step up and step down. Count to three for both up and down with the movement.

Related Videos:

Knee Pain Stretches & Exercises, Real-Time Routine:

Knee Arthritis Stretches & Exercises:


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Doctor Jo is a Doctor of Physical Therapy.


Knee Osteoarthritis (OA) Stretches & Exercises:

DISCLAIMER: This content (the video, description, links, and comments) is not medical advice or a treatment plan and is intended for general education and demonstration purposes only. This content should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any health, medical, or physical condition. Don’t use this content to avoid going to your own healthcare professional or to replace the advice they give you. Consult with your healthcare professional before doing anything contained in this content. You agree to indemnify and hold harmless Ask Doctor Jo, LLC and its officers for any and all losses, injuries, or damages resulting from any and all claims that arise from your use or misuse of this content. Ask Doctor Jo, LLC makes no representations about the accuracy or suitability of this content. Use of this content is at your sole risk.


AskDoctorJo says:

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

Hetal Shah says:

I have osteoarthritis in my left knee,it's painful to climb stairs,so after doing these exercises,should I keep climbing or avoid it?

neel rana says:

Why pillow???

Elena McMenemy says:

Love your videos ❤️ just had diagnosis post X Ray that have minor degeneration- OA. Been a long wait. Started as pain in ball of foot followed by shooting pains up leg 2 months ago. Being referred to Podiatry and Orthopaedics ❤️❤️

LuvToys Collector says:

Nice 👍 I’ll try these 😊

Tasleem Khan says:

Hi 👋🏻 Dr Jo.
Thanks ever so much for sharing this very beneficial video. You’re so beautiful I can see inside and out!
Warm wishes to you Dr Jo.

Ram Lalli says:

Dr ji please be my pysio

Sairish Debbarma says:

Hello doctor how much long osteoarthritis last? I'm 28 years old.

Alison Jennings says:

Hi!! Thanks so much for posting this – I was recently diagnosed with OA in my knee, specifically the left. My left hip also gives me pain, and when I do the leg lifts, it causes pain in my hip on that side. Should I skip that one, or is it ok?

Mili Biswas says:

Thanks doctor u helped me a lot

Cak Teiler says:

Dear Dr Jo
Do these exercises target the same muscles as squat?
I've been regularly squatting, everyday, 5 set 20 reps including sumo etc. Plus bridge and wall squat. I avoid lunges though.
Do I still need to add other exercises, like yours? I probably will add clampshell, heel rises, and step up.

I feel my knee is getting better after I squat regularly. I also cycling for cardio
Thanks doc

Julie Ereno says:

Hi again, Doctor Jo and Remy. Just want to let you know both that my knees greatly improved after doing your knee exercises. i am doing them everyday now. They are not only effective, they are non-strenuous, easy, and not time-consuming. I have already subscribed. Take care and God bless you both always.

Julie Ereno says:

Hello, Doctor Jo. I just started doing your exercises. If there are exercises for knee osteoarthritis, are there also exercises to avoid, that is, those which can worsen said condition? How about sit-ups/crunches? It seems my knees were swollen after a few days.

Aasiya Hameed says:

Dr jo I am 44 years old recently suffering from OA, please advise

vinod singh says:

Thankyou Dr Joe for your demonstration of how to make your knees strong ,in a more control manner , now I understand . I am from India , the orthopaedic doctor injected gel it was okay for nearly two years , but again the knees started paining hurting while walking , difficulty climbing staircase .

Madhuri Newrekar says:

Very nice 👌👍 thanks for sharing 😘

J Alphonso says:

I like the fact that she loves dogs.

seoh leng tay says:

Hi I find your exercises for osteoarthritis and PFPS very similar can it be used for both .. interchangeable..

Master Mason says:

Thanks Dr, for this informative video, as a Afghanistan war veteran, it does wonders for me. Quick question do you have videos pertaining to osteoarthritis of the hand, I would greatly appreciate that. Keep up the good work.

Tracy Greenacre says:

Do these exercises help with knees buckling under you thanks

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