Knee Injury Exercises and Yoga
Many motions and positions in Yoga can harm the knees and aggravate
a condition. Seek professional help when a knee injury is suspected or
knee pain is present (especially for a prolonged period of time). A good physical therapist should be able to
easily diagnose the problem but devices that allow professional to see inside
the knee should also be used to determine the exact cause and take the
appropriate surgical action. Get a second opinion to prevent miss-diagnosis.
If pain presents itself while entering any of these knee exercises
stop immediately. If pain that was present worsens while entering stop
immediately and modify. Monitor your response the next day and if no
pain is present the exercises have been successful. The aim is to
increase good range of motion and strength in the knee joint without
aggravating a condition.
Knee Injury Modifications for Yoga Postures
Use caution if you have a knee injury and are participating in a yoga
class. Make modifications to the postures shown below so that beneficial
responses result from performing them.
Postures that involve deep bending of the knee can be hard
on the joint and aggravate a knee condition. Let us look at some
Warrior 2 Pose is an example of a standing posture that is too
deep for a knee injury or a knee with knee pain. Performing the pose
with such a deep angle would have a negative response to knee
rehabilitation and would probably cause greater pain within the knee. A
posture done with a 45 degree angle rather than 90 degree angle would be
helpful to knee stability and aid in strengthening.
When performing exercises for knee strength be sensible. Find a
stance with a width in the feet that is not to hard on the knee or not
too much strain on the quadriceps but enough to tone. The width may vary
from person to person.
Open leg stances require flexible adductor muscles. These are the
groin muscles and they have a tendency to pull the knee inward when
performing such postures. This destabilizes the knee joint and prevents
proper use of it. Be aware of this when these posture. Glance down at
the knee and align it with the ankle vertically.
Maneuver the knee slightly forward and back over the ankle to find a
comfortable point. This will also stimulate blood flow in the joint
which promotes healing.
Make sure you are well supported for balancing postures. Use a block or
prop to prevent knee instability while performing these postures. If the
hamstrings are quite flexible there is no need for a prop.
It strengthens the knee if the supporting leg is slightly bent. Then
it is also easier to hold the posture especially if the hamstrings are
It may be a good idea to avoid balancing postures if there is a lot of
inflammation present in the knee joint. Try them and feel if the knee
joint is ok. There is a lot of weight falling upon the joint. The
hamstring stretch is however beneficial.
Many knee injuries are aggravated by the yoga postures below.
Supporting the upper body weight across the fingers will result in a
reduction of strain in the knee. For this reason it may be a good idea
to use support when performing this kind of posture in yoga. Meniscal
cartilages vulnerable during these kind of postures. Moving the foot on
the bent leg forward further will stretch the knee more. For this reason
keep it tucked under the top of the opposite leg and reduce the twist in
When a knee injury is present or persistent knee pain has been
occurring modify by moving the knee into the midline and use the elbows for support. Place the hands and forearms down on both sides
of the knee joint. This will reduce the strain on the knee but continue
to stretch the hip.
This yoga posture is very healthy for building strength in vital muscles in
Be safe and avoid over bending the knees. This will cause unnecessary
joint strain. Find a pleasant boundary that tightens and tones the
quadriceps muscle in the front of the thigh.
Janu Sirsasana and
Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana involve knee flexion and mild rotation. This
may aggravate a swollen knee or a knee that is sensitive.
The same benefits to hamstring flexibility can be achieved with both legs
straight out. This may be a better option in a yoga class if a knee condition
Other Yoga postures that may aggravate knee pain further are intense knee bending
accompanied by an external rotation of the lower leg. This may not be
suitable for people with inflexible knees. Instead have both feet
crossed in front and be seated on a cushion or blanket to reduce
that involve deep knee bending for long periods of time can aggravate
knee injuries and cause swelling. The knees get stiff after being
injured. It is good to stretch them mildly and not for too long.
Circulation is important to healing. Use a prop or cushion to reduce the
strain on the knees if you are performing this posture.
Balasana the Child Pose in Yoga can be a good way to stretch the knee joints.
It may not be a good idea to enter a boundary as deep as shown. When
performing this pose bend the knees into a mild boundary where the
tension feels good. Enter slowly as the upper bodies weight is behind
the movement into the pose.
Paschimottasana is a seated forward bend in Yoga. It is a good way to
stretch the hamstrings and if the toes are drawn towards the body the
calf muscles and the achilles tendons.
Adho Mukha Svanasana which is known in Yoga as Downward Facing Dog
stretches the hamstrings, calf muscles and achilles tendons. This pose
is a great way to balance and stretch the posterior leg muscles. Bend
one knee a little and alternate on each leg for a slightly deeper
stretch on the leg muscles.
Uttanasana which is a standing forward bend is a good way to stretch
posterior leg muscles. The knees can be slightly bent while performing
this exercise if the hamstrings are really tight or alternate by bending
one knee and then the other. This can be a great way to stretch behind