4 Stretches to Reduce Knee Pain with Household Items

By Savanna Stone
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Stretching and exercising is a great way to help your body heal and stay healthy. This also works when you have knee pain. It is amazing what you can do for your body when you take even a few minutes a day to take care of it. Do these stretches for just a few minutes a day, and it can help you dramatically reduce your knee pain.


What causes knee pain?

Knee pain as a lot of culprits: arthritis, gout, infections, injury, a ruptured ligament or torn cartilage. If you have minor knee pain, small stretching and exercising can help reduce your knee pain dramatically. The knee pain you experience might include some of the following symptoms: swelling and stiffness, weakness, popping or crunching sounds, or difficulty straightening your knee. When the following symptoms accompany knee pain, go see your doctor: if you can’t stand on your knees and feel balanced, if your knees are swollen or appear abnormal, if you were just injured, or if you have a fever.



One of the major causes of knee pain is arthritis in the knees. Stretching the muscles around your knees is key to relieving that pain. The stretches in this blog post should be done a few times a day for the best relief. When you do these stretches, at first your knees might be very tight and you might not be able to stretch as far as you’d like. You can slowly work to loosen up your muscles and in no time these stretches will help reduce pain and tension in your knees. Doing these stretches regularly will also help to increase your range of motion. 



The best stretches for knee pain relief are the ones that stretch the muscles around your knees, such as the calf muscles, quad muscles, hamstrings, and your IT band. Remember to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise regimens. When stretching around your knees, be careful; only do as much as feels comfortable for you.


A short explanation of the muscles around your knees:

Hamstrings: The hamstrings are located in the back of your thighs.

Quadriceps: The quadriceps are located in the front of your thighs.

Calf muscles: Your calf muscles are located on the back of your lower legs.

IT band: The IT band runs along the outside of your thighs from the hip to the knee. 


With any of the following stretches, you can use an item around the house to assist you in your stretch, such as a dog leash, a belt, or a beach towel.


Calf stretch



  1. Sit on the floor with your feet straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee (or whichever knee does not suffer from knee pain). Place a small pillow or rolled up blanket under your right ankle for comfort. 
  2. Wrap a belt, dog leash, or beach towel around the balls of your left foot. 
  3. Gently pull the top of your foot back towards your body with the household item of your choice. 
  4. Hold for about 30 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds. Then hold for another 30 seconds. Alter time to what is comfortable for you. It should feel good to stretch. If you feel pain, release some of the tension by not pulling back on your foot as hard. 
  5. Do this on both sides, or do this on whichever side feels knee pain.

Hamstring stretch

  1. Lie on your back with a pillow under your head and your knees bend.
  2. Grab a towel, dog leash, belt, or bed sheet (if you’re extra tall) and wrap it around the arch of your left foot (or whichever side is experiencing knee pain).
  3. Keeping your leg straight, pull your foot towards your body. Make sure to relax your muscles and just use your household item to pull your leg back. If your knee starts to bend, lower your leg closer to the floor.
  4. Hold for about 30 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds. Then hold for another 30 seconds. Alter time to what is comfortable for you. It should feel good to stretch. If you feel pain, release some of the tension by not pulling back on your foot as hard. 
  5. Do this on both sides, or do this on whichever side feels knee pain.

IT band stretch


  1. Lie on your back with a pillow under your head and your knees bend.
  2. Grab a towel, dog leash, belt, or bed sheet (if you’re extra tall) and wrap it around the arch of your left foot (or whichever side is experiencing knee pain).
  3. Keeping your leg straight, pull your foot towards your body and inward until you feel the stretch in your IT band (the outside of your thigh). Make sure to relax your muscles and just use your household item to pull your leg back and over. If your knee starts to bend, lower your leg closer to the floor.
  4. Hold for about 30 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds. Then hold for another 30 seconds. Alter time to what is comfortable for you. It should feel good to stretch. If you feel pain, release some of the tension by not pulling back on your foot as hard. 
  5. Do this on both sides, or do this on whichever side feels knee pain.

Quad stretch

  1. Lie on your stomach, resting on your elbows with your left leg bent. Wrap a blanket, dog leash, or ratchet tie-down straps around your ankle.
  2. Pull your ankle towards your body. Only pull as far as is comfortable for you. 
  3. Hold for about 30 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds. Then hold for another 30 seconds. Alter time to what is comfortable for you. It should feel good to stretch. If you feel pain, release some of the tension by not pulling back on your foot as hard. 
  4. Do this on both sides, or do this on whichever side feels knee pain.


References

Ask Doctor Jo. (2017, May 15). Knee pain relief exercises & stretches. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqkndmrDoCw

Jessica Valant Pilates. (2015, March 6). Physical therapy for knee pain. Retrieved from  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5b0gS7wI1k

Lindberg, S. (2019, December 13). 10 exercises to help relieve knee pain. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/exercises-for-knee-pain#stretching-exercises

Mayo Clinic. (2020). Knee pain. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/knee-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20350849#:~:text=Knee%20pain%20may%20be%20the,also%20can%20cause%20knee%20pain.