Knee Pain Exercises

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This leaflet has been provided by Arthritis Research UK, the national charity committed to preventing the onset of arthritis, developing a cure for arthritis and transforming the lives of those with arthritis.

This leaflet provides simple exercises that may help with knee pain.

  • Knee pain can be caused by a number of different things. Whatever the cause, exercise and keeping to a healthy weight can reduce symptoms.
  • You can take painkillers to ease pain. Taking them before exercise can help you stay active without causing extra pain.
  • Try the exercises suggested here to help ease pain and prevent future symptoms.


  • Sit on a chair.
  • Without using your hands for support, stand up and then sit back down.
  • Make sure each movement is slow and controlled.
  • Repeat for 1 minute.
  • As you improve, try to increase the number of sit/stands you can do in 1 minute and try the exercise from lower chairs or the bottom two steps of a staircase.

Leg stretch

Leg stretch
  • Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front.
  • Keeping your foot to the floor, slowly bend one knee until you feel it being comfortably stretched.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Straighten your leg as far as you can and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times with each leg.

Leg cross

Leg cross
  • Sit on the edge of a table or bed.
  • Cross your ankles over.
  • Push your front leg backwards and back leg forwards against each other until the thigh muscles become tense.
  • Hold for 10 seconds, then relax.
  • Switch legs and repeat.
  • Do 4 sets with each leg.

Step ups

  • Step on to the bottom step of stairs with the right foot.
  • Bring up the left foot, then step down with the right foot, followed by the left foot.
  • Repeat with each leg until you get short of breath.
  • Hold on to the bannister if necessary.
  • As you improve, try to increase the number of steps you can do in 1 minute and the height of the step.

Knee squats

Knee squats
  • Hold on to a chair or work surface for support.
  • Squat down until your kneecap covers your big toe.
  • Return to standing.
  • Repeat at least 10 times.
  • As you improve, try to squat a little further.
  • Don't bend your knees beyond a right angle.

Content used with permission from the Arthritis Research UK website: Exercises to manage knee pain. Copyright for this leaflet is with Arthritis Research UK.

Now read about Pain Control in Palliative Care

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Arthritis Research UK
Peer Reviewer:
Arthritis Research UK
Document ID:
29104 (v1)
Last Checked:
25 September 2015
Next Review:
24 September 2018

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.