When knees are aching due to injury or arthritis, the last thing you want to think about is moving them around. Turns out, though, that careful, appropriate exercise is one of the best things you can do for knee pain. Regular movement helps keep the joint supple, and strengthening exercises build support in the muscles above and below the knee. Exercise also helps restore mobility and increases range of motion. Fortunately there are ways to exercise safely, even with a knee that’s causing you pain. Here are a few tips to keep in mind, and 10 exercises for knee pain you can try at home.

How do exercises for knee pain work? 

Knee pain is one of the most common types of joint pain. Experienced by people of all age and levels of activity, knee pain can be caused either by injury or by overuse. The knee joint is a complex joint that is responsible for bearing all of the weight of the body while moving in different directions.

Tendons in the knee connect the muscle to the bone. There are two important tendons: the quadriceps tendon and the patellar tendon. Cartilage in the knee (menisci) provides a cushion between where the tibia and the femur meet. The final part of this complex joint is the bursae, fluid-filled sacs that are located in front of the patella, on the inner portion of the knee, and just behind the patella. These sacs provide cushion to the whole joint and make movement smooth and fluid.

Because there are so many moving parts to this joint, many different things can go wrong and cause pain. At any point, any one of the bones can suffer injury or misalignment. Additionally, the ligaments and tendons can cause pain from injury or over (or improper) use. There are many different causes of knee pain, and most of them can arise at any age. With some exceptions, most knee pain is caused by one of three things: injury, wear-and-tear, or mechanical issues. Exercises for knee pain can help counteract pain, depending on the cause of pain in the first place. The following video gives a quick overview of knee pain causes and treatments.

Treating knee pain 

While some of the conditions that cause knee pain are severe enough to require surgery to repair, many of them respond well to treatment at home or exercises for knee pain.

Since many knee conditions are exacerbated (or caused) by inflammation in the body, reducing inflammation with ice, rest, and diet modifications is an important first step in treatment. Prescription or over-the-counter medications may help ease the pain, but they don’t always help with inflammation. Resting the knee during a flare-up or in the first few days after injury, applying ice, and eating things like turmeric and drinking cherry juice can help soothe inflammation and ease knee pain. After you’ve rested and talked to your doctor about the most appropriate treatment, you can attempt exercises for knee pain to help you relieve pain and prevent future injury.

How to get started with exercises for knee pain

Low-impact exercise that includes regular strength training and flexibility can help treat knee pain and prevent injuries. Common low-impact exercise includes swimming, yoga, and walking. There are even low-impact exercises that can be done either freestanding or with the support of a chair. These exerc