A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Video: Knee exercises to relieve arthritis pain

The third video in our four-part series shows exercises targeting arthritis pain in your knees.

Get the printable guide for these exercises.

Trouble viewing this video? Watch it on YouTube.

Range of motion exercises for knees

Preview of knee exercises for arthritisSelf-massage

From a seated position, reach for your knee and massage, pulling straight up the leg toward your heart. Use small circles or broad, gradual strokes to massage the sides of the knee and thigh. The massage should be gentle and rhythmic. Work each knee for one minute.

Leg extension

From a seated position, extend one leg so it’s parallel to the floor. Straighten your knee as much as possible, keeping your thigh on the chair. Hold for five seconds. Return your foot to the floor, then repeat the movement. Extend each leg 10 times.

Towel squeeze

While seated, squeeze a rolled towel between your knees for five seconds. Relax and repeat 10 times.


From a standing position with feet shoulder-width apart, lift one knee at a time so your thigh is parallel to the floor. Hold on to a countertop or the back of a sturdy chair if needed. March at your own pace for one minute.

Download Knee Exercises for Arthritis Handout

Try low-impact activity

In addition to mobility exercises, cardiovascular exercise is recommended to keep bones and muscles strong, improve endurance and maintain a healthy weight to reduce pressure on your joints, said Alyssa Schroeder, a Marshfield Clinic physical therapist.

Try these low-impact activities:

  • Water exercise
  • Recumbent bicycling or stepping
  • Fitness classes designed for people who have arthritis
  • Gentle or beginners yoga
  • Tai chi, which features gentle fluid movement
  • Walking, gradually building up to 30 minutes per day

More arthritis exercises

Part 1: Hand exercises to relieve arthritis pain

Part 2: Neck and shoulder exercises to relieve arthritis pain

Part 4: Ankle exercises for arthritis pain

View all videos in this series: Watch on YouTube.

  1. Jan 29, 2018
  2. Aug 13, 2017
  3. Aug 30, 2016

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