Knee pain can be helped by targeted muscle strengthening for the gluteals, quadriceps and core. Following are some of our favorite exercises we give our more advanced patients. Disclaimer: if any of these exercises irritate your knee pain, you should stop and seek help from a PT to further guide you on what the best home exercise you can do at your current state in pain and progress.
PT favorite exercise #1: The Power of Penguins
Sidesteps with a resistance band around either your lower thighs or your ankles are a classic exercise to strengthen your hips and gluteal (buttock) muscles, which helps stabilize your knees and offload your back. Keep your core tight and swing your leg out to the side without letting it drift forward.
They come in different variations, and the classic upright version is often called “Penguins”. When performed correctly and in optimal alignment, this exercise helps not only strengthen your hips, but also your all-important core and leg muscles. It also gives your entire leg and ankle muscles a good work out, as these muscle groups are dynamically stabilizing with your steps to each side. This can help reduce knee pain, hip pain, back pain.
PT favorite exercise #2: Skaters
Another variation is called Skaters, and they have an additional toning effect on your thigh muscles. They are also fun! They are essentially sidesteps stepping forward with their feet pointed out to the side. Make sure you keep your knee and ankle aligned, and avoid your knee from caving inward with this.
PT favorite exercise #3: Monster walks
Once Penguins and Skaters become too easy, and after your PT has ensured you’re doing well with squats and hip hinges, you may graduate to Monster Walks. They combine the beauty of hip strength with the incredible benefits of all-around gluteal strength and core strength. Just make sure your knees and hips are aligned, back straight and core tight during the exercise. Keep your torso still and gliding, for an added progression to this exercise.
By the way, If you have been told you have “smiling patellae”, Penguins can help fix those! Smiling patellae are kneecaps that are drifting inwards, towards each other when you are standing upright. They can be caused by weak hip abductor muscles, suboptimal joint alignment of the hips and/or knees, and they can be improved with good form and targeted exercises.
Alice earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from USC in 2007, and have practiced Physical Therapy for 12+ years in the Outpatient Orthopedic Setting. Certified in ASTYM, she also has been a featured expert on Physical Therapy on numerous publications including health.com, healthline.com and yahoo.com.
This place is amazing. I am so happy I found Stride Strong PT. Alice pays attention to all of the details, she watches every single move I make, my posture, and the way I move through every exercise. She is very knowledgeable, she was able to pin-point the problems in my back and she has a plan to help me become stronger where I need. The place is brand new, huge, and has nice exercise machines. I tried a few physical therapists in the area, and Alice is TOP, second to none, and I feel super lucky to have found her. Highly recommended!!
Dr. Alice at Stride Strong is one of the best PTs I have come across. Her attention to detail and assessment of the root cause of injury is very good. She is excellent in evaluating pain patterns and giving a training schedule for a rehab & injury prevention, she is extremely knowledgeable. I would strongly recommend Stride Strong to anyone looking for PT. It is easily the best PT clinics in Hillsboro area.
I recently had a massage from Joel at the Hillsboro location. He was able to work on an ongoing issue I have been experiencing with my back after a sports injury, and I left feeling so much better. The whole facility looked incredible, and everyone I met was friendly and welcoming. I would highly recommend Stride Strong for massage and physical therapy.
Dr. Sydney is by far the absolute best physical therapist I've worked with ever! Her expertise in designing highly effective and efficient exercise plans is beyond compare. I feel so much better as my strength and function increases. She comes up with the most brilliant and fun ideas to motivate. To my delight she even offered to come to my home in Vancouver and work with me on my own equipment including a Stott Pilates Reformer. Talk about going above and beyond! Couldn't be more grateful I found her!!!
A full hour of a dedicated PT professional's time without aides or techs? That's just one of the things that sets this clinic apart from others. Competent, professional, and amiable, Dr. Alice Holland and her team are the best in the area. While I generally see them at the Cedar Mill Clinic on Cornell, situational constraints took me to their new Hillsboro clinic today near Intel Jones Farm. Beautifully furnished, spacious with easy parking and access. May you continue to grow and thrive, Stride Strong!
After foot surgery I went to Stride Strong for therapy with Alice Holland. She helped me reach my full mobility again by continuously introducing new and challenging exercises. The entire staff is friendly and professional. They are always on time and do not rush. I look forward to doing 1/2 marathons again and riding my recumbent trike. Thank you Stride Strong for your care and high level of expertise.
The best physical therapy ever. Both JP and Sydney were a great PT, they helped me understand how I can help treat my injury and how it may have caused. And also they informed about so many techniques that I can use to help my injuries or any other injuries I get in the near future. They are both friendly and nice to talk too, and verbunformative. And there is also Krystal, she is the best front desk receptionist ever, she is nice and friendly and can easily manage your schedule based on the patients comfort if they want to schedule or not. She can help and she replies fast to any patients email. And she is easy to talk to. Thank you Stride Strong Physical Therapy.
Mary Szal here: I've had three sessions with Brittany at the Hillsboro location. I can say that she has been the most effective and instructive physical therapist I've ever experienced. Her personality, energy, knowledge and results are top notch.
Awesome place for PT. Hillsboro location has plenty of parking and very spacious. I had the pleasure to work mostly with Dr. Alice Holland and JP. I came in with a shoulder injury and thank goodness they understood what I was going through. They are the best of what they do, I would recommend Stride Strong to anyone who needs PT.