Healthy Lifestyle

Knee and Hip Strengthening

When we hurt, it’s hard to get up and get the exercise we so desperately need. And when we’re overweight, things seem to hurt more. It’s a dangerous catch-22.

Millions of Americans suffer from knee and hip pain – it’s one of the most common joints affected by osteoarthritis, which is highly associated with obesity. If you are hurting, strengthening your hips and knees will help improve function and decrease pain.

Here are four strengthening exercises you can perform to decrease osteoarthritis pain.

Seated Knee Extension

Sit in an upright posture with or without back support. Fully extend your knee and hold it for three seconds, then return your foot to the floor. Repeat. You may add ankle weights for progression once the exercise becomes easy to perform with little to no pain during the motion.

Straight Leg Raise

Straight leg raise is a great exercise for both your hip and knee. To perform this exercise, lie on your back and raise your leg up to the same height as your other bent knee while keeping your raised knee in a locked position.



Lie on your side and bend both your knees. Keep your ankles touching as you and lift the top leg. Keep your hips forward and do not rotate your back. Hold your top leg for three seconds and then return it to the starting position.

Sit to Stand

This is a great functional exercise you can do to strengthen your lower extremities. Find a sturdy chair to sit on. You will want to sit at the edge of the chair. Lean forward so your “nose is over your toes” and stand up tall. Return to your chair in a slow and controlled motion while reaching back for hand rails. If you have difficulty standing up out of chair, simply raise the height of the chair by using a pillow or cushion to stand up.

Walking, stationary bike or water aerobics may also help if you have knee or hip osteoarthritis. Exercises that are weight bearing often come with increased discomfort. Keep in mind that it’s okay to have mild discomfort or pain when doing these exercises. It’s also normal to feel sore after doing them.

If you have questions about exercises that can help with your osteoarthritis pain, contact your Methodist Physicians Clinic primary care provider or physical therapist.