7 Stiff Knee Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo

7 Stiff Knee Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo

Hey everybody, it’s doctor jo and unicorn
Remy, and today we’re gonna show you my top 7 treatments for a stiff knee. So let’s get
started. So there can be a lot of reasons for a stiff knee. Most of the time it’s muscle
tightness, sometimes it’s just an injury. Sometimes and injury causes muscle tightness.
So one of the first things I like to do is patella mobs. And patella mobs are a great
way to kind of get that stiffness out of the knee because even though the knee cap or the
patella sits on top of the knee, if it’s tight in there, it will cause a lot of stiffness
in that knee. And it will cause it to have a really hard time bending your knee. So for
patella mobs, all you do is really you’re just moving that knee cap around. So I like
to kind of grab it on the sides to start off with, and now if you don’t have a specific
injury like a dislocated knee cap, this is fine. You can kind of push it a little bit.
And if you have a stiff knee, this may make it a little hard to move around. Buy I usually
just take 2 fingers on each side and I’m just starting off by pushing side to side. Now
I’m not pushing down, you don’t want to push that kneecap down into the joint. So you just
want to do a side to side motion. It’s not pushing down into the joint. So I’m just going
side to side. And you can see, mine’s pretty mobile, it’s moving around pretty easily.
But if you’ve got a stiff knee, you might have to push really hard to get it going.
So maybe just 30 seconds to a minute this way, and then you can do up and down. So I’ll
just take the thumbs on the top, fingers on the bottom, and then just slide back and forth.
So same thing. I’m not scooping down into that joint cause that’s just gonna cause more
irritation. I’m really trying to take that kneecap and move it up and down. And so again,
if you’ve got a stiff knee, maybe an injury or tight muscles, that might be a little hard.
But the more you do, it should loosen up a little bit. So again, maybe just 30 seconds
to a minute each way, and then you can slowly progress your time on that to really get it
good. So once your have that kneecap a little more mobile moving around, then you’re gonna
go into some stretches. So I like to start the stretches with the calf. The calf muscles
come and they actually cross that knee join right here. They come up this way. If they’re
tight, they’re gonna pull on that knee joint and cause some stiffness in there. So there’s
a lot of ways you can stretch the calf. I like just using a strap. If you’re on the
floor. If you can get on the floor, that’s ok, you can do this in your bed or on a couch.
So take something that has a loop. You can use a strap. If you don’t have a strap, you
can use a belt, or dog leashes work really well. Just take that loop and kind of put
it around the ball of your foot. You don’t want to do up on the toe, you don’t want to
do too low cause you’re not gonna get a good pull. But what you want to do is just relax
the muscles. You’re pulling with the strap to get your foot to come up, but I’m not actively
moving my foot. It’s just nice and relaxed. So I’m gonna take that and then just give
t a good pull. And you just want to fell tightness, you don’t want to feel pain. You can prop
this one up, you can put it down, whatever’s more comfortable for you, and just hold that
stretch for 30 seconds. So after the 30 seconds, give it a little break 10-15 second break,
and then do that a total of 3 times. So then the next stretch s gonna be a hamstring stretch.
So again there’s a lot of different ways you can do that. Since I already have the strap,
I’m gonna go ahead and lie down. Again if you want to leave your leg propped up when
you’re lying down, that will take a little pressure off your lower back. Some people
like it down cause they feel like they get a better stretch, but I like leaving mine
propped up. So again, you’re pulling that leg up with the strap. Your leg is relaxed.
Try and keep that knee as straight as you can. If you’re bending your knee as you’re
coming up, you’re not getting that stretch in those hamstrings. Cause the hamstrings
cross the knee joint the other way. So really try and keep that leg as straight as you can
and just pull it up. If you can only go to here, that’s fine, but if you can go higher
and your knee starts bending, come back down. Really try and keep that knee straight. So
if you just pull until you feel a nice good stretch through here, and then again holding
that for 30 seconds. After the 30 seconds come back down. Give it a little 10 second
break and then do that a total of 3 times. So then the next one is gonna be for the IT
band. The IT Band is on the side here. It goes up into that TFL. That Tensor fasciae
latae, which is the muscle belly, so that’s really the part you’re stretching but when
you stretch the IT band, it comes down and crosses the knee joint on the outside. So
again, if that whole area even up into the hp is tight, it can cause that stiffness in
the knee. So again, there’s lots of ways to stretch the IT band, I’ve already got the
strap. So I’m gonna go back down into the position it’s kind of like you’re starting
with the hamstring stretch. This time I’ll probably bring this leg down because you’re
gonna come up just a little bit, still keeping that knee straight, and then drop it over
to the side. So now you should be feeling that stretch through here. Depending on where
your tightness is, so people feel it more in the hip, some people feel it down at the
knee, some people fell it kind of all the way through. It’s different for everybody.
Sometimes people if they’re a little bit lower they feel it more, if you can come up higher
without bending your knee, coming up higher and bringing it over, sometimes people feel
that stretch just a little bit more. So just play around with it a little bit from the
height and see which one feels better for you cause everybody’s just a little bit different.
But still same thing, so that’s 30 seconds, take a little break in between, and do that
a total of 3 times. So then the next one is gonna be for your quads. So the quad doesn’t
technically cross over the knee joint, but the quad goes into the quad tendon that connects
to the kneecap or that patella. So if it’s tight, again it’s pulling on that area causing
that stiffness and tightness in that knee joint. So I’m going to roll over onto my stomach
this time. so I’m just gonna switch legs so you can see it closest to you. This time put
the strap kind of around your ankle. And as you turn over, put the strap around your shoulder.
That’s usually the most comfortable way to do it. Now I’m propped up on my elbows, make
sure you’re comfortable doing this. So if you want to lie all the way down, you can.
Don’t end up getting something else sore or tired by trying to stretch out. I like being
on my stomach. You can do the same stretch on your side, but when I’m on the floor, you
can see here it keeps my hip in that kind of neutral position. And so to get the best
quad stretch, you want it to be kind of straight up and down. And then you’re just gonna take
that strap and pull your heel towards your bottom. Now if you have a stiff knee, tight
knee, maybe a little injury in there, you might not be able to get this far, that’s
ok. If you can only get to here, you want to feel that tension, some pressure, but you
don’t want to feel any pain. So just kind of holding it there again for that 30 seconds
and then come back down and do that a total of 3 times. So then the next one is gonna
be a little bit activating the muscles now. So this is still kind of stretching out the
joint, that stiffness in there, but now you’re starting to get some movement into it to get
those muscles activating. So you’re gonna lie down again and go into a heel slide. So
with a heel slide, it’s just like it sounds. I like to prop this one up again just to kind
of take pressure off the back and to give myself a little push. If I have a really stiff
knee, all I’m doing is just sliding my heel up trying to bend that knee. Now there’s a
couple of different ways you can do it. If it’s really tight and you’re having a hard
time pulling it up, you can take the other leg and kind of help pull it up like this.
Or if that’s not really comfortable, something that you can do. You could take this strap
and then you can put it wither like this and help pull it up to get that stretch. Or again
you can kind of take that strap and put it around your ankle and then as you’re sliding
up, you’re using that strap to get that little bit of over pressure to get that stretch.
Once you get to where it’s tight, you don’t have to do a full 30 second stretch. I’d maybe
just hold it 3-5 seconds and then slide it back down. This is more kind of an active
movement so you’re not really doing a long hold for this one. So maybe 10 reps, 2 sets
of 10, a couple times a day just really depends on what’s going on. And so the last one is
going to be seated in a chair. So seated in the chair, you’re gonna do heel slides again,
but they’re gonna be a little different than lying on the floor, or on your bed or on the
couch. So this time, if you have to start out here depending on how much distance you
have that’s fine. You’re just gonna slide your heel back while seated, and as soon as
you feel a little bit of tightness, you’re gonna tap your heel a couple of times. So
once you do that, maybe 3-5 times, then you should be able to slide it back just a little
bit more. And so then you’re gonna keep tapping again, you know 3-5 times, and then slide
back even more. But the goal is to try and keep your heel down on the floor while you’re
sliding. But that little bit of tap while you’re doing it sometimes helps to loosen
up some of that stiffness and tightness. And then you should be able to slide back just
a little bit more. And so again you just want to feel tension, some pressure, you don’t
want it to be so painful that you have to like jerk back as soon as you’re at that last
spot because it hurts some much. Just getting that pressure, getting that tension, start
back over and then do that again. So again, you can do 5 -10 of these since it’s a little
bit of a process all the way through. And you can do these a couple time throughout
the day. So you don’t have to do a set number, but especially if you’re working at a computer
a lot or watching TV, this is a really easy one to do to help get that knee loosened up.
So those were you’re top 7 treatments for knee stiffness. And if you’d like to help
support my channel, make sure and click on the link up there, and don’t forget to subscribe,
where? Down there, yeah! And remember, be safe, have fun, and I hope you feel better

42 Replies to “7 Stiff Knee Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo”

  1. Do you have any videos on how to stretch/heal an exterior ankle? Rolled mine a couple weeks ago and it still aches from time to time

  2. These stretches are helping me a lot! I have an imbalance in strength on one side as a result of disc injury and all of my leg muscles are tight!

  3. Another great video Doctor Jo. I’m recovering from a bone bruise on the left side of my knee cap. I noticed when doing heel slides, the most stiffness occurs when I extend my knee out. Bringing my knee in is no problem. I assume the same rules apply when doing this movement?

  4. Hello doctor jo my name is Alex I’m 11 years old. I torn my acl last year and my knee still hurt on the outer side of the knee.. whenever I try to stretch my quads or whenever I bend my knee it hurts;( what do I do to improve the pain

  5. Hello Doctor Jo
    2 month ago I got an accident and broke my leg. Now I have a rod in my femur and some screws in my knees. I think my knee is stiff coz I can't bend it. Doctor suggest me some exercise.. but its not working. Can you please help me or guide me?

  6. Hi I had orif patella surgery 8 weeks ago my knee is not bending and I can't lift my leg can I do this exercises

  7. Which of your exercises would be good for water on the knee as a result of an over use injury (no arthritis)? Thanks for all you do!

  8. I had my left knee dislocation and ex fix was there for a month and it was removed and after 2 months of my injury my PLC was reconstructed and know I can't able to flex or fold my knee to 90° also can you please help me by some exercise videos please

  9. Hye doctor jo i am suffering from knee lock problem please please help me suggest me any exercise please please help me

  10. I cannot thank you enough for your thorough and detailed video! I started following your stretching exercises, and I am virtually pain free. It's an incredible transformation! I am 5 weeks post ACL reconstruction using my hamstring tendon and have been dealing with way greater than normal pain. I have been asking the physical therapists if maybe stretching more rather than focusing on painful extension and flexion exercises and squats would make more sense. My doc finally ordered me to stop PT for 2 weeks to get my pain level under control. Rather than doing nothing, I started doing your program plus foam rolling/lacrosse ball stretching my glutes and stretching my tight hip flexors with a stretch strap several times per day for the past 2 days with amazing results. Since my knee flexibility is limited, I cannot seem to keep my glute from cramping up. Any suggestions? Also, for your last move, I am unable to heel tap (maybe I have too much muscle weakness). Is a toe tap an ok substitute until I gain more strength?

  11. I sprained my MCL a week and half ago and since then I can’t bend my knee and it stiffens up . I kno the injury still early but will it always be like this or will it go back to normal over time

  12. How often should i do these a day? I can bend my knee about 90° and its not that bad of a pain. But beyond that point its hella painful. Especially when i lie on my stomach and try to bring my foot to my bum.

  13. I had fluid on my knee which they said is most likely caused by torn ligament. After a week I still can't bend my knee further than 90* angle. I'm a larger person so I couldn't find compression to fit my leg. I did everything else. Why is my knee still stiff? And I still have a bit of swelling. Why do I still have swelling?

  14. I love the simplicity of your style! Who needs to go to physio and get left behind a curtain (for ages) waiting for the next "move"

  15. Hello Dr. Jo, I am 14 years old, and I would like to ask a question about my knees. About a year ago I started to notice that my knees would grind when I straightened them, for example from a sitting position lifting them up. I didn’t think much of it because I thought it could be growing pains of some sort, and just blew it off. Come to a year later and my knees are still the same, and grind whenever I straighten them. It’s very discomforting and my knees don’t feel right when I run. I play basketball from time to time and when I’m finished playing my knees feel painful and sore, even though I make sure to stretch before. I was wondering what this could be exactly and if I should get it checked out because I go to the gym and refrain from working my legs as to not cause any more damage to my knees. I hope something like this can be treated for

  16. Hi, i just had arthroscopic debridement and excision of plica on my left knee almost 2 weeks ago. I dont know whether it is normal to feel that tightness (even after 2 weeks post surgery) as i still cannot actually bend my knee in full. I had a couple of physios but tbh I am short financially to go to physiotherapy all the time. please help me. please. I am an athletic male of 32 years of age, asian, with height 161cm and weight 57kg. I have no other knee injuries prior to this. Please kindly help. Your assistance is very much appreciated.

  17. I got a dead leg and now I am experiencing knee stiffness could these be linked and what would u recommend to do?

  18. Good intelligent approach. But, after you get comfortable on mat/bed with stretches, and then stand, things change eg an extra 150 or so pounds on the joints. Maybe you should include more standing exercises (qigong?). And when you start walking, things change again . . . Just a few thoughts. Best regards.

  19. Thx you ppl was saying I hyperextended my knee at my football game when i messed it up and the first day I couldn't straighten it out or bend it completely without pain I though it was a miniscus but i heated and iced it with a heat and cold pack and it's alot better and tried the first stretch you showed in this video

  20. hi,Dr i had my knee arthroscopic 6weeks ago. i can bend my knee 90 hardly,my knee is also not straightn too. my theripst trying hard to get the range but its getting painful day by day.. what to do ? is the pain necessary in therapy sessions to get range of motion?

  21. I have developed a stiff knee as results of squatting and stretching enough. Been resting and stretching a little but stiff not much progression.

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