How To Exercise With An Injured Knee?

Keeping an injured knee active is key to a fast recovery, but knowing how to exercise with an injured knee can be tricky.

Depending on the severity of your injury there’s a good chance you can continue on exercising. And in most cases some sort of activity that involves that knee is vital to recovery.

Whether you are exercising your way to recovery from surgery or exercising on through an injury, these simple workouts will aide your knee.

Find out what knee sleeves do on this page and if you think they would aid in your recovery.

Exercises for knee injuries are crucial. Exercise will speed recovery time, increase the strength of all surrounding muscles which will help protect it from future injuries. So, let’s see how to get started and which exercises provide the best results for an injured knee.

How to Exercise With an Injured Knee?

How to Exercise With an Injured Knee
Exercising on an injured knee can keep muscles from shortening

Always Warmup First

Warming up cold muscles prior to any exercise is the key to injury prevention. You never want to go straight from tight and cold muscles and joints to exercise without increasing blood circulation first.

Wearing a knee sleeve on your injured knee will help bring blood to the area and warm it faster and more completely. If you’ve never worn a sleeve before, you will be surprised at how comfortable it makes exercising with an injured knee.

How Do You Warm Up Before Exercise?

Knee injuries can wind up involving all the muscles in your leg and even your back. That makes exercise for an injured knee vital. But you never want to start exercising without some sort of warm up period of at least 5 minutes.

warm ups with injured knee
Warming up muscles before exercise for an injured knee is crucial

Warming up muscles is gradually preparing your body for the stress you’re about to put it through. Going straight into exercise with cold muscles can easily set you up for more injuries.

Warm-ups of any kind will help lessen the current damage, so you can’t afford to miss this step. This warm up period could be anything from simply standing in place and lifting your leg from the knee a number of times, to more advanced stretching routines.

1. Straight Leg Raises

Demonstrating straight leg exercises with knee injury for exercise
Straight leg exercise is a simple but effective for knee injury recovery

Straight leg raises are about as simple as it gets, but the best place to start. The first step is to lay flat on your back. If you like you can put your head on a pillow, or even prop up on your elbows.

Once in position and comfortable, get one foot flat on the floor with your knee bent. Now straighten the other and lift your foot from the floor with your toes pointed to the ceiling. Tighten up your stomach muscles and the muscles on top of the thigh as you lift.

It doesn’t really matter how you do these straight leg exercises with a knee injury. The most important thing is keeping your leg and back muscles strong while you recuperate.

Do 10 repetitions with each leg, and do several sets with each leg.

2. Hamstring Curls

Ham String Curls Exercise With an Knee Injury
Ham String Curls Exercise With an Knee Injury

For this exercise, I use a dining room chair. Just stand behind any chair that you can put your hands on for balance while standing straight up.

Spread your feet apart to help maintain your balance and bend one knee. Your calf and foot is now behind you as you lift your foot up and towards your butt. Just lift it as high as you can and hold it there for a few seconds and let it back to the floor slowly and controlled.

Do 15 repetitions with the first leg and then the other. You can actually do the same exercise lying on the floor face down, which comes in handy since you’re already on the floor.

3. Prone Straight Leg

After the hamstring curls, roll over onto your stomach with legs straight out behind you. Lift one leg to the sky as you engage and tighten your butt and hamstring muscles.

When you have that leg lifted as high as possible, without straining yourself, hold it there for about 5 seconds before slowly lowering it. Do this 5 times with each leg and remember that the key is control.

Control both the lifting and lowering of your legs and go slow without allowing them to drop to the floor uncontrollably.

4. Side Leg Raises

Woman demonstrating side leg lifts
Lie all the way down, or prop up on your elbow for side leg lifts

The last exercise to do with an injured knee is to raise your leg from lying on your side. So, from the last move, now lie on your side. It’s best to bend the leg on the bottom from the knee slightly.

Now, while on your side, lift the top leg as high as you can. Keep the leg straight and your foot ridgid and pointed. Don’t let your foot hang limp as you raise and lower it to a 45° angle.

Hold your leg at the 45° angle for about 5 seconds and then slowly bring it back to the floor. Repeat the move 5 times for each leg.


There, you have it. Do the simple exercises above with a knee injury or for knee injury prevention. Each of these exercises increases muscle mass and tone in your legs which is important for evenly distributing body weight and absorbing stress and stain.

When you’re dealing an injured knee — how you warm up and approach exercise is key to strengthening muscles without creating more problems. Start out slow and work your way back to full mobility with these exercises every day.

Leave a Comment