8 Best Exercise To Learn for Knee Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, which is characterized by degeneration of the articular cartilage in the knee joint. This is more common in women than male, and having Osteoarthritis is very common in an older adult, which increases with age. In addition to age, being overweight or obese will causes the high risk of Osteoarthritis. This is because when your weight increases, this will put greater pressure on the knee joint, which will damage the articular cartilage, causing further pain or discomfort.

It is extremely important to exercise when you have osteoarthritis. This is because your joint is surrounded by muscles, which will help protect it by reducing pressure or stress on the joint of the knee. This is done by 2 things: strengthening and stretching.

Note: Please remember that it is much better to have yourself consult with either the physician or the Physical Therapist before you will start performing any exercises.

These are the list of exercises that will help relieve the symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis

1. Quad Setting

This is one of the first exercises that you would initiate for your knee muscle located in the front of the thigh known as Quadricep muscles. This is will help strengthen your Quads muscle in a form of isometric contraction. This is done in 3 steps

A. Lay down either on the floor or in the bed, with your leg remains straight. Make sure both of your legs are relaxed like in the left side of the picture.

B. Put your hand under the knee, and try to push down against your hand. Your Quads will be contracting as similar as in the right picture

C. While pushing your knee down, holds this for 5 seconds, and repeats this for 10 times.


2. Mini Squat

This exercise help strengthens both the Quadricep and the Hamstring muscle.

A. In this position, slowly bend your knee by lowering your body down.

B. Try to hold this for 6 seconds and repeat it for 5-10 times. If you cannot tolerate on holding for 6 seconds, then you don’t need to perform this. However, it is highly recommended to progress this exercise to 6 seconds if you don’t experience any discomfort.

Note: Take cautious that do not let your knee pass to your toes by performing the full squat, as this will put great pressure on the knee, causing discomfort. It is important to perform only mini-squat

3. Supine in Straight Leg Raise

This exercise will help strengthen the specific muscle in the Quadricep called “Rectus Femoris”

A. After you manage to perform Quad Setting, you can progress this exercise by raising your leg up toward the ceiling. It is not necessary to raise your leg full, but just enough to perform sufficient Straight Leg Raise.

B. Perform this exercise for 10 times.

4. Seated with Alternative Knee extension and flexion

A. You will be in a sitting position, and you raise your leg up by alternatively bending and straightening your knee.

B. Perform this for 10 times

Note: To progress this exercise, you can put an Ankle weight around your ankle to provide greater resistance while performing this exercise.

5. Side Leg Raise

This exercise will help strengthen the abductor’s muscles. This exercise is important because when you have osteoarthritis, one of the complication is that you will have a risk of poor balance. This exercise will help improve your balance

A. Initially, stand in front of a chair or table as a support of your balance to prevent falling. Move your leg outward as similar as this picture above.

B. Perform this for 10 times.

Note: To progress this exercise, you can either add ankle weight; or while moving your leg outward, you can hold this position for 6 seconds.

6. Heel Raise

This exercise will help strengthen the calf muscle on your leg known as “Gastrocnemius-soleus muscles”

A. Raise your heel up while in Standing position. Like side leg raise, you need  chair or table as a support of your balance to prevent falling.

B. Perform this exercise for 10 repetition.

7. Toe Raise

The instruction of this exercise is similar like Heel raise, except this time it is in reverse, where your toes will raise up instead. This exercise will help strengthen the front muscle on your leg known as “Tibialis muscles”

A. Raise your toes up while in standing position.

B. Perform this exercise for 10 repetitions as similar instruction as toe raise.

Note: Toe and Heel Raise is extremely important despite the problem is direct to the knee, it is because strengthening those muscles help improve your balance, which will help prevent fall of risk. These exercises are highly recommended for senior adults.

8. Aerobic Conditioning Exercise

Aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming or riding in a bicycle is good for your knee. It is expected you would experience soreness, so that’s why progress this kind of exercise gradually.

Note: Jumping and Jogging must be avoided as this will put more pressure on the knee, causing pain or discomfort.



  1. i suffer from knee problems so to find this article was golden i am always looking for ways to help strengthen my knees and i will adding these exercises to my routine,
    thanks alot you made my day

    1. Your welcome Gino. I am glad it helps a lot. This exercise will help relieve your knee pain. Remember after exercise, put cold compress right away, as this will relieve the soreness in your knee after exercise. But dont worry, this is perfectly normal.

  2. Good article, Saif. I’m don’t suffer with Osteoarthritis – yet, but I am keen on gym sessions and these look good exercises. Apart from keeping my weight down is there anything I could do to avoid Osteoarthritis?

    1. As a matter of fact yes. When your going to gym and your strengthening your upper body, make sure you include your lower extremity (such as your thigh, knee and lower leg). Because having too much muscle in your upper body could still increase the pressure in the knee, and this will increase the risk of Osteoarthritis. This is usually the common mistake for body lifters, neglecting their lower extremity. As long you dont follow this practice, your good. In addition to that, make sure you increase your diet involving the Vitamin D and Fish oil as they are good for the arthritis.

  3. Hey Saif

    Very helpful info on exercises for Osteoarthritis in knees.

    I suffered from injuries to my knees when I was still young and more reckless than I am now.

    As a result I battled to jog and walk for exercise and ended up finding a bicycle the best way to exercise my legs.

    What I like about the exercises that you offer is that they will not force shock on the joints and you have emphasized not straining yourself while doing them as well.

    Thanks for sharing. I will definitely be giving it a try.


    Marc Parsons

    1. Thanks Marc, This exercise will not put a lot of stress in the knee joint, and it will definitely help you a lot. Let me know if you have other questions to ask.

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