A Simple Fix for Knee Pain

There’s nothing like a little knee pain to make you feel old and out of shape. Ironically, it is normally when you are trying to get in shape that you discover these little annoyances.

When I started jogging a few years ago, it was a shock to my system. I quickly discovered my body much preferred a brisk walk over running. I had never felt that out of shape before. Although I was lifting weights and occasionally doing the stepper or elliptical, my body wasn’t used to jogging and it let me know it quick! My hip ached, my knees throbbed, and my muscles were incredibly sore.

Even though most of my body adapted to the new routine eventually, my knees took a little longer to improve. Believe it or not, it was a simple fix – all I needed to do was stretch.

I am sure this may sound odd to some people. I mean, what in the world could stretching a muscle do for a joint? Well, plenty! You see, my leg muscles were really tight, especially my quadriceps (thigh muscles). Since these tight muscles attach to the patella (the knee cap), tight muscles were most likely the cause of my discomfort.

If you gently stretch the leg muscles, you relieve the tension on the kneecap, allowing for proper knee tracking. The only drawback is you have to be patient and consistent with your stretching routine. You can’t expect your muscles to loosen up after just a few stretches. With increased activity comes increase tightness, so it’s something you have to do often.

I had to stretch several times a day. I would even stop and stretch in the middle of my run to help get me through my routine. Eventually, my knee pain completely went away. My two miles of limping turned into a four and half mile pain-free jog thanks to a few simple stretches.

While there are many reasons for knee pain, tight leg muscles are often the culprit, especially if you just started noticing it after increasing activity. Unfortunately, many people quit an exercise program due these new aches and pains, thinking their body just can’t handle it. My knee pain could have easily, and literally, stopped me in my tracks. Instead, I didn’t give up and I’ve been running pain free for 9 years.

When it comes to knee pain, the solution maybe easier than you think.


(photo from www.mediahelp.org)


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  3. Tom Talley

    Thanks Bonnie, I had not even thought of that. I’m sure that is what is causing my knee pain lately as I have not been stretching at all and have increased my activity. Softball and golf even hurt my knees yesterday. I am certain my quads are tight. I have concentrated on stretching just my hamstrings but not my quads. Duh.

  4. Pat

    Sharing this info with my 82-year old mother who just finished physical therapy for her knee and what you’re saying about tight leg muscles is right. Many of the exercises they had her do were for loosening up her leg muscles and I think she got to see how everything is interconnected.

  5. Keith MacDonald

    I ran for most of my life – right up until my 50th, then I got a book contract and spent 2 years sitting and writing. When I wanted to get out and run again, it was painful and futile. Now, even walking hurts after 1/2 mile! :-( (I could jog/run 5 miles @ 50! 10 minute miles…).
    A CT Scan shows bone spurs. I’m so upset. Running was a HUGE joy in life. Is there a way back? I’m 57 now, but I see guys my age and older jogging every day!
    Thanks, Bonnie! You’re awesome!

    1. Bonnie Pfiester

      I’d invest the time and money in going to a podiatrist and seeing about getting that fixed. bone spurs are definitely a challenge, but if you are aggressive with treatment (and pursuing answers) I believe almost anything can be done!!

  6. de Finish Line

    Reblogged this on De Finish Line and commented:
    Just exercising blindly can lead you to a lot of trouble. See why stretching is so vital?

  7. saaj444

    Great post. So many people talk about ‘strenghthening’ the quadricep when invariably it is the opposite that is needed. Also, the hamstring muscle behind the knee tends to be extremely short so the knee is under constant tension. The amazing Brent Brookbush has shown the world a stretch that is working like magic.
    Not trying to gatecrash your post honey as I find it very inspiring. Keep up the good work.

  8. Dennis Mastrolia

    Hi Bonnie-Stretch how? Please include some suggestions. Hamstrings-quads-tendons-ligaments? What do you recommend? I cannot at this point bend my leg at the knee all the way “back”-as in a leg curl. Would you or Steve have any help in this quandry? My cardio is suffering !!! (: Thanks Dennis Mastrolia Boston,MA. – Vero Beach,FL.- Madison,N.H.–

    1. Bonnie Pfiester

      It depends on what is causing you not to be able to get that full range of motion – but I’d definitely do a quadriceps stretch: http://www.ch4.searsfitclub.com/exercises/quadriceps-stretch

  9. Loraine

    I find this to be true about stretching

    1. Bonnie Pfiester

      absolutely! Stretching heals SO many things!!

      1. ROCIO

        i have same problem with my knee now i am going to do stretch thanks for the great tip Bonnie :)

  10. Emma

    Sounds good! I’ll try it right away! Thanks. I really didn’t wanted to pause the Boot Camp workout. It’s good to know that I can just continue

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