Top Physiotherapy Exercises to Reduce Knee Pain

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Rajeshwari Panda
Written by Hexahealth Care Team, last updated on 28 September 2023
Top Physiotherapy Exercises to Reduce Knee Pain

You might have noticed that knee pain is a prevalent issue in the elderly that interferes with regular activities like walking, bending knees, and others. They may experience knee pain throughout the day, even without doing any action or movement. Some of them might be ready to take painkillers to get rid of the nagging pain, but a few studies have shown that simple exercises done daily can bring much relief in their knee pain.  

Physiotherapy is an essential treatment method for knee pain. A course of physiotherapy involving exercises tailored to the condition of your loved ones can do a world of good. For example, you can ask them to try the following home exercises for knee pain that will start giving relief in just a few days. 

Role of physiotherapy exercises in joint pain (specially for knee pain)

The role of physiotherapy exercises on knee joints is to:
  1. Increase strength to support the knee joint
  2. Improve the mobility of knee joint
  3. Restore the ability to use the knee joint
  4. Preserve the ability to do daily activities.
  5. Maintain fitness and health
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Benefits of physiotherapy exercises in joint pain (specially for knee pain)

The benefits of physiotherapy exercises on knee joints are:
  1. Make you active
  2. Increase muscle and joint strength 
  3. Build joint mobility and stamina
  4. Ease pain and aches in your knees
  5. Improve coordination, balance, and agility.

Points to remember before doing the physiotherapy exercises

If you are starting new physiotherapy exercises for knee joint pain, remember the following steps:
  1. Go slow and steady
  2. Have controlled movements
  3. Start with small routines 
  4. Start with two to three repetitions
  5. Increase the repetitions as the exercises seem more manageable 
  6. Later, break the exercises into sets as your knee pain improves.

Top physiotherapy exercises to reduce knee pain

Many people believe exercise will worsen the damage and pain in their knee joints. But this couldn’t be further away from the truth. Joints are designed to stay active, and being inactive can weaken them. Physiotherapy strengthens the muscles supporting the joints, improves balance, agility, and coordination. 
Adding a few exercises to your daily routine may help reduce knee pain and strengthen your knee joint. However, it is essential that you strike a good balance between exercise and rest. You can perform the following exercises at any time throughout the day. Dedicate some time to yourself and do these exercises to relieve knee pain. Here are some simple physical therapy exercises for knee pain that you can begin with after consulting with your doctor:
  1. Stretching the leg: Sit on your mat or floor and stretch your legs out straight in front of you. Gently, bend one foot along the floor with the bended knee towards your chest till you feel a stretch. Count till five, straighten your leg as far as possible, and stay in this position for five seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times with each leg. If you are not comfortable sitting on the floor, you can sit on the sofa and do this exercise.
  2. Straight leg lift: Lie down on your mat or bed with one leg bent and the other leg straight. Raise the straight leg around four to six inches off the mat or bed without bending the knee. Stay in this position for three to five seconds; next, gently lower your leg, and relax. Repeat the same exercise on the other leg.
  3. Quad set: Lie down flat on your back on a mat or bed, keeping both the legs straight. Place a small rolled towel under the knee. Push the back of your knee against the towel and tighten your thighs. Hold this for five sec and then release. Repeat this exercise at least five times, or as long as you are comfortable.
  4. Clamshell: Lie down on the right side, with your hips and knees bent towards your stomach. Gently turn your left leg outward, your knee pointing upward, and your hips rotating slightly upward. This motion is at your hips only, do not move your pelvis. Slowly get back to the starting point. Repeat this exercise on the opposite side. Repeat for five counts on each side.
  5. Squat: Take the support of a chair or a kitchen counter for this exercise. Spread your feet shoulder-width apart, and squat down till you are comfortable. Keep your body weight on your heels. Do not use your arms to pull up or lower your body down; your legs should entirely do the movement. Repeat this exercise for five counts or more as per your limits. 
  6. Bridging: Lie down on your back on a mat or the floor. Bend your knees to rest your feet flat on the mat. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and abdominals. Lift your hips a few inches off the mat and press your feet to the ground, forming a bridge of sorts. Keep the shoulder blades continuously in contact with the mat. Squeeze your buttock muscle as you slowly lower your hips, and repeat five to ten times.
  7. Leg curl: Stand straight with taking the support of a chair or a counter. Now, bend one knee and bring the heel up towards the buttock. Do not bend your hip. Now, count to three and lower the leg. Repeat the same on the other side. You can do this exercise for each side five times or more as far as possible. 
  8. Plank: Lie down flat facing downwards on your mat or floor and raise yourself to a push-up position. If you find this challenging, you can modify this exercise by resting on your forearms. You can even plank on your knees to support your lower body. Stay in this posture for 20 sec and release. You can repeat this exercise, but do not stress your body as per your limits.
  9. Sit/Stand: Sit on the edge of the bed or chair without the support of your hands. Next, stand up and again sit back down. The movement should be controlled and slow. Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times, take a rest for a minute, and then you can do another set of this exercise.
  10. Step-ups: Place your right foot on the bottom step of the staircase with your left foot on the ground. Next, step down your right foot. Use a railing for support. Repeat this exercise 10 times, relax for a minute, and repeat. You can use higher steps as your movement improves.

When to stop doing exercises?

Stop the exercise when any of the exercises mentioned above worsen your pain. In fact, exercise must not make your existing knee pain worse. However, you must know that practising new physical therapy exercises for the knee may cause short-term muscle pain till your body gets used to it. Such pain must ease out quickly and help relieve your knee pain in a few days. 

Do physical exercises help prevent or treat knee pain?

Physical exercises prove beneficial for knee pain in osteoarthritis.  In addition, they can prevent knee pain by making the joint muscles strong. Seek professional help to understand the cause behind your knee pain and get a detailed, tailored exercise routine.


Many people have successfully employed physiotherapy exercises for knee joint pain and obtained good results. So, start practising a few physical therapies for knee pain, go slow, understand your body, and eventually, you will notice that your knee pain is alleviating, and you will feel more fit and strong. 
 In case you are searching for some routine workouts and do not know how to start your exercise routine, our personal care team can guide you. We can also provide information about the best physiotherapist near you. You can also visit our website Hexahealth to learn more about physiotherapy-related information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does physiotherapy reduce knee pain?

Yes, physiotherapy is recommended for knee pain. Your physiotherapist will assess the primary cause of the pain, and based on your situation, they will recommend the right set of exercises for your condition. 

What are 3 strength exercises you can do for rehab of the knee?

Various exercises can strengthen your knee; however, you can do squats, bridging, clamshell exercises, etc., to improve your knee pain and make your leg stronger. 

What exercises can I do to get rid of knee pain?

You can include exercises such as, stretching the leg, straight leg raise, bridging, quad set, clamshell, etc., to relieve your knee pain. 

How can I do physiotherapy for my knees at home?

You can start with a few physical therapy exercises for your knee at home, such as leg stretch, leg raise, bridging, plank, leg curl, squat, etc. You can do these exercises on a mat or the floor and start with a few repetitions. As you feel stronger, you can increase the repetitions. 

Does physiotherapy help with knee fluid?

Yes, physiotherapy exercises are helpful for the knee. They help enhance the viscosity of the joint fluid and build overall knee joint health. 

What is the function of physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy helps restore function and movements when a person is injured, disabled, or ill. 

Is IFT physiotherapy safe?

Interferential therapy (IFT) physiotherapy is a non-invasive therapy. This therapy uses a low-frequency effect on the tissue, which aids in relieving pain. It is considered a safe and effective treatment. It is also helpful for reducing knee pain. 

What is a physiotherapy kit?

A physiotherapy kit is a unique and compact kit that combines therapies to relieve pain (knee pain). This kit combines ultrasound therapy and electrotherapy to treat pain conditions effectively. These are designed for a physiotherapist that helps them provide treatment at home. Do not self-use this kit; only experts like physiotherapists must use this kit.

How do I massage my knees to reduce fluid?

Self-massage works well for knees, which might help you reduce fluid and pain. You can start with large, powerful strokes to prepare and warm up the muscles and use precise, more minor strokes to aim the specific region. Apply some lotion or oil for easy gliding. You can also apply heat before massaging to relax the muscles. 

How do you get rid of knee pain fast?

You can get instant relief from your knee pain by resting, using an ice pack or heat pad, and practising gentle knee movement for 10-20 sec every hour. 

What is the fastest way to relieve knee pain?

A quick way to relieve knee pain is to get some rest, apply an ice pack or heat pad (personal choice), and practice some small gentle knee movements every hour for 10 to 20 seconds. 

Does climbing stairs strengthen knees?

Stair climbing is an effective exercise that engages the knee joint, such as the quadriceps muscles. Stair climbing increases the quadriceps’ flexibility and strength, which boosts knee functions and strengthens them. 

How can I make my knees stronger?

An effective method to strengthen your knee is physical activities and exercises. Include low-impact aerobic exercises in your daily routine, do exercises that increase your flexibility, add lower-body strengthening workouts, and minimize high-risk practices (repetitive heavy lifting). You will see much improvement in your knee strength. 

How can I rebuild my knee cartilage naturally?

Add foods such as avocado, turmeric, soybean, and ginger to your diet. These foods have properties such as antioxidant, bactericidal, and anti-inflammatory, that may help repair the knee cartilage. 

Which food is good for the knees?

The following foods are good for the knees:
  1. Vitamin A: Carrots, kale, sweet potato, apricots.
  2. Vitamin C: Strawberries, guava, kiwi, orange, lemon, papaya, pineapple, kale, grapefruit.
  3. Vitamin D: Raw milk, salmon, cod liver oil, sardines, tuna, eggs, mushrooms.
  4. Calcium: Green vegetables, raw dairy, yoghurt, broccoli, almonds, ladyfinger, cheese, kale.
  5. Vitamin K: Cabbage, broccoli, cucumber, asparagus, etc.
  6. Potassium: Spinach, avocado, banana, beets, sweet potato, etc
  7. Magnesium: Pumpkin seeds, spinach, almonds, banana, avocado, etc
  8. Manganese: Legumes, seeds, nuts, green leafy, whole grains.
  9. Sulphur: Eggs, poultry, fish, cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower), allium vegetables (onion, garlic). 
  10. Omega-3: Salmon, sardines, mackerel.
These nutrients help support the connective tissues and are believed to be collagen-boosting foods. They may help repair the tendons, ligaments, etc.

What vitamin is good for cartilage?

Vitamins A, C, D, and K are good for cartilage. These vitamins are known to support and repair tendons, ligaments, etc. 

Can I regrow cartilage in my knee?

You can try certain home remedies to regrow your knee cartilage. Some herbal remedies have been shown to provide favourable small environments that encourage cartilage repair mechanisms. You can include turmeric, ginger, soybean, avocado, pomegranate, etc. These natural plants have anti-inflammatory, bactericidal, and antioxidants that might support cartilage tissue engineering.

Can knee pain be cured permanently?

Yes, but depending on the condition. Knee pain gets better with rest, exercise and painkillers. But, if your knee pain gets worse, it is time to see a orthopedic and a physiotherapist, as there could be other underlying causes for the pain. They will diagnose your condition and accordingly provide treatment. 

Is omega-3 good for knee pain?

Yes, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and fish oils are good for knee pain. Fishes such as salmon and sardines are a good source of omega-3. They have anti-inflammatory properties, which are particularly beneficial for knee pain. 

Updated on : 28 September 2023


Dr. Rajeshwari Panda

Dr. Rajeshwari Panda

MSc Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Certified National Diabetic Educator

6 Years Experience

Dr Rajeshwari Panda is a well-known Dietitian currently associated with SRV Hospital, Chembur. She has 6 years of experience in nutrition and dietetics and worked as an expert dietitian in different cities in India. She has worked i...View More


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HexaHealth Care Team

HexaHealth Care Team brings you medical content covering many important conditions, procedures falling under different medical specialities. The content published is thoroughly reviewed by our panel of qualified doctors for its accuracy and relevance.

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