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Knee pain can be debilitating and make it difficult to perform everyday activities. Fortunately, there are stretches you can do to help reduce the discomfort and improve knee flexibility.

The ten best stretches for the knee will help relieve tension in the joint, strengthen surrounding muscles, increase the range of motion, and prevent future issues from arising.

Whether your goal is to speed up recovery after an injury or surgery or maintain healthy knees as you age, these easy-to-do exercises should become a part of your daily routine.

Understanding The Anatomy of The Knee

The knee joint is one of the most intricate yet amazing components of the human body. This hinge-like structure comprises several bones, ligaments, cartilages, and tendons. The three main bones that make up the knee are the thigh bone (femur), shin bone (tibia), and kneecap (patella).

These three bones come together to form a ball and socket joint, which acts as a shock absorber for us when we walk or run. Ligaments are tough elastic bands that help hold these bones in place and keep them stable. Strong, flexible cartilage cushions the outside edges of the knee joint while two slippery membranes inside allow it to move freely like well-oiled hinges.

Protective synovial fluid keeps all these parts lubricated to stay flexible and strong.

Benefits of Performing Knee Stretches

By stretching your knees regularly, you can not only keep this joint and its surrounding muscles in good health but also enjoy the following advantages:

Osteoarthritis Relief

For osteoarthritis patients, the Arthritis Foundation recommends knee stretching and strengthening exercises as one of the most effective treatments. It can reduce pain due to its circulation-boosting, bone health-promoting, and joint-supportive effects; it can also help maintain a healthy weight balance. By including these stretches in your daily routine, you’ll start feeling better before you know it.

Avoids the Possibility of Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee pain can be reduced with stretching exercises to improve joint mobility and avoid contracting. Patients suffering from OA-related joints are particularly vulnerable to contractures, which speed up the deterioration of a condition and increase the potential for needing surgical operations.

It is recommended to stretch the knee to protect a joint range of motion and avoid contractures. In addition, research has verified that regularly strengthening and stretching the knee extensors significantly decreases pain for those with Osteoarthritis (OA).

Improves Day-to-Day Life

Individuals with chronic knee pain can drastically affect their quality of life due to depression, restricted social activities, and more. Fortunately, a 2018 study showed that exercise programs yield remarkable results for those battling these conditions, improving their social engagement and overall quality of life.

When Should You Perform Knee Stretches?

If you want to reap the full benefits of stretching, make it a point to stretch once daily- particularly after exercise when your muscles are warm. To optimize each knee-stretching workout session, start with five minutes of moderate cardio activities or movements to prepare your body and ensure an increased range of motion for every stretch. Target all key muscle groups around the knees, such as calves, hip flexors, quadriceps, and hamstrings, during stretches for maximum results.

10 Knee Stretches to Perform Today

Now that you understand the importance and benefits of stretching your knee, let’s look at ten specific exercises to get you started:

  1. Standing Calf Stretch
  2. Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch
  3. Quadriceps Stretch
  4. Hamstring Stretch
  5. Wall Hamstring Stretch
  6. Iliotibial Band Stretch
  7. Side Lunge
  8. Figure Four Piriformis Stretch
  9. Butterfly
  10. Straight Leg Stretch

Standing Calf Stretch

  • Start with your feet hip-distance apart and slowly bend one leg forward while keeping the heel firmly on the ground.
  • Place your hands on your hips to keep balance, and then feel a gentle stretch in the calf muscles of your back leg.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds before repeating on the other side.

Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch

  • Start in a high lunge position with your back knee on the ground and your foot in front of you.
  • Your hands should be placed on either side of your forward foot for balance and hold for 15-30 seconds before repeating on the other knee.

Quadriceps Stretch

  • Start by standing with one foot propped up on a chair or bench.
  • Grasp your ankle and bend your knee to pull it towards your buttock, feeling a stretch in the front of the thigh.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds before repeating on the other side.

Hamstring Stretch

  • Begin by sitting on the ground with your legs extended.
  • Slowly lean forward, keeping both legs straight and reaching for your toes.
  • Feel a stretch in the back of your thigh as you hold this position for 15-30 seconds before repeating.

Wall Hamstring Stretch

  • Start by standing a few feet away from a wall and place your hands on the wall for balance.
  • Raise one leg in front of you and press the heel towards the wall; you should be feeling a stretch in the back of your thigh.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds before repeating on the other side.

Iliotibial Band Stretch

  • Begin by standing with one foot in front of the other; your feet should be hip-distance apart.
  • Cross the leg behind you to the other side and reach for your ankle or toes. You should feel a stretch on the outside of your knee.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds before switching legs.

Side Lunge

  • Begin by standing with feet hip-distance apart.
  • Extend one leg to the side and slowly lower into a lunge position, pushing your hips back and keeping your front knee behind your toes.
  • Feel a stretch in both legs as you hold this position for 15-30 seconds before switching sides.

Figure Four Piriformis Stretch

  • Start by lying on your back and cross one ankle over the opposite thigh.
  • Hold your knee with both hands, then gently pull it towards your body until you feel a stretch in your buttocks.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds before switching legs.


  • Begin by sitting on the ground with your legs bent and feet together.
  • Slowly press down on your thighs and reach for your toes to feel a stretch in the inner thighs.
  • Hold this position for 15-30 seconds before releasing.

Straight Leg Stretch

  • Lie on your back and extend one leg straight in the air.
  • Gently pull the toes towards you while keeping your knee locked, feeling a stretch in the back of your thigh.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds before repeating on the other side.

The Bottom Line

Stretching your knee regularly can help increase flexibility and mobility in the joint while reducing any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing. Incorporate these ten stretches into your routine to keep your calves, hip flexors, quadriceps, and hamstrings loose and limber!

But remember, always listen to your body, and don’t push yourself too hard.

Stretching should be done gently and in a way that feels comfortable for you. If any of these stretches cause pain, stop immediately and consult your doctor or physical therapist for guidance on safely stretching for your knee health.

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