How important are knee strengthening exercises?

Sophie Heywood

The short answer is... very important.

In new research, results from more than 40, 000 people showed that knee weakness can lead to a greater pain and arthritic change on knee Xray. Quadriceps (front thigh muscle) or knee extensor muscle weakness increased the odds of both symptoms and radiographic knee osteoarthritis by around 30%.

This highlights the importance of leg strengthening exercises. Although exercises can be difficult when you have knee pain, seeing your physiotherapist or local exercise professional should be a priority to get good advice and support to stick at an exercise program.

Another review found that for people with knee arthritis, to get the best results, strengthening exercises should be done at least 3 times a week for at least 12 sessions. This is more likely to improve knee pain. For many people, getting started with strengthening needs to be slower and it may take many months to build up resistance and see improvement in pain. Exercise programs for knee arthritis should also include cardio fitness as well and leg resistance training.

The pool is one place you could try some leg strengthening, you can find some tips on starting in this article or if you'd like a program designed for you to do in your own pool or the local pool please check out our Kickstarter Program.