If you spend your day sitting behind a desk and not moving much, you might find that your knees stiffen up and become painful.
This can be uncomfortable and affect the way you walk, the ease of driving, and everyday activities, as well as your mood. You may find that the pain stops you from doing things you would normally, like exercising or going out. While wearing dress shoes for knee pain can help, adding exercises is a great way to strengthen your knees.
Here are 6 exercises to do at the office for pain relief. You can do these during your lunch break or even while sitting at your desk. They’re simple and effective to improve circulation and range of motion.
Let’s have a look at exercising with knee pain.
Should You Do Strength or Stretching Exercises With Knee Pain?
Sometimes, moving your knee can cause it to become painful. However, this doesn’t mean that the movement itself is what’s causing the pain.
You may be tempted to keep your knee still or immobilize it to reduce or prevent the pain. But in most cases, doing strength or stretching exercises can actually be the thing that helps to reduce your pain.
This is because these kinds of exercises strengthen the muscles around the knee, which helps to hold it in place and prevent excess movement that could cause pain.
Stretching helps to increase blood flow, which brings oxygen-rich blood to the painful joint and helps it to heal faster.
If your knee pain is a result of an injury or surgery, gently stretching it can help to improve your range of motion while increasing circulation and speeding up healing.
If you have pain in your knee due to arthritis, you may assume that less movement is better. However, exercise is better for your joints as it helps to strengthen them and keep the joints mobile.
Just remember that when you stretch and strengthen your knee, make sure to never move your knee beyond its natural range of motion or push it through high levels of pain. Compression sleeves for knees and wearing good shoes when you are out walking will also help.
You should start slowly and make sure that the knee can handle the exercise. As it begins to get stronger, you can increase the intensity or weight at which you do the exercise, increasing slowly and making sure that your knee can handle it without hurting or moving out of alignment.
6 Exercises for Knees You Can Do at Work
1. Stand on One Leg
Stand behind or next to your desk or office chair with your hands at your sides.
Slowly lift your right foot off the floor until your knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Make sure you aren’t standing so close to the chair or desk that you hit your knee!
Try to hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds without holding onto your desk or chair.
If you do lose your balance, rather grab hold of the chair or desk instead of putting your foot down. This will protect the sore knee.
Repeat this movement 2 to 4 times on each leg.
2. Quadriceps Stretch
You can hold onto your desk or the back of your chair to help you balance as you do this stretch.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and then bend your right leg back towards your buttocks.
Hold your ankle with your right hand, helping to pull your knee back until you feel the stretch in the front of your quadricep.
Once you feel the stretch, hold the position for 30 to 45 seconds and then slowly return to a standing position.
Try to keep your knee directly below your hip and don’t pull it back too far.
You can do this stretch 3 to 5 times on each leg.
3. Lift Your Legs
Push your chair back away from your desk. You should have enough space to fully extend your leg out in front of you underneath your desk.
While seated, make sure that your feet are flat on the floor and that they’re hip-width apart.
Keep your back straight and slowly extend your right leg out in front of you. Focus on squeezing the quads as you extend your leg.
Once your leg is fully extended, hold the position for 10 to 20 seconds, and then slowly return to the starting position.
Repeat this motion on both legs 10 to 12 times.
4. Pillow (Fist) Squeeze
If you don’t have access to a pillow, you can use your fist or a stress ball.
Place the pillow, your fist, or the stress ball between your knees. Then bring your knees together and try to squeeze the pillow, your fist, or the ball as hard as you can with your knees.
Hold the squeeze for 5 to 10 seconds and then relax. Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
5. Step Ups
For this exercise, try to find either a step outside or something that will be stable enough for you to step up on.
Step up onto the step with your right foot, then bring your left foot up and tap the top of the step with your left foot.
Then step back down, bring both feet back to the starting position.
As you step up, make sure that your knee is in line, directly over your foot.
Repeat this 10 times on each leg.
6. Walk and Talk
Sitting for an extended period can cause the muscles and tendons in your knee to stiffen, which can cause pain.
To help alleviate the pain, try standing instead of sitting down when you have a phone conversation, or take frequent breaks where you can stretch your legs.
If you happen to have a call on your mobile phone, try to take a walk either in your office or in a space that will allow you to walk and talk freely at the same time.
This will reduce the amount of strain that’s placed on your knees and will result in less knee pain throughout the day.
You can also take a walk during your lunch break or if you need to speak to a colleague, rather walk to their office instead of calling them on the phone.