Best 5 Ways to Strengthen Weak Knees

“Weak knees” is a general term that can refer to a variety of symptoms, including pain, instability, or a feeling of weakness in the knee joint. There are many causes of weak knees, but an underlying issue is usually a feeling that “something is not right” in the knee joint. Weak knee’s can affect any age of person, however, most commonly this will be reported in the over 70s.

To the lay-person, you might initially say that weak knees are simply a lack of muscle strength in the knee. However, this is rarely the case, and far more commonly, weakness in the knees are caused by an underlying pathology in the knees. For example, a common cause of weak knees is a degenerative meniscus tear (the meniscus is a c-shaped pad between the knee to help with force absorption). Once torn, the knee will often feel like it wants to “give way” with a feeling of weakness. Osteoarthritis can also make the knees feel weak. People who are hypermobile may feel their knees are weak. We also see a lot of patients who complain of weak knees following both trauma, injury, and surgery.

There are two key ways to address weak knees: Step 1: reduce pain and inflammation. Step 2: improve knee stability. Step 2. Improve knee strength.

Let’s look at our five best exercises to strengthen weak knees:

1. Ball Squat

Place a Swiss ball behind your lower back, and place your feet two foot (0.5m) from the wall. Open your legs slightly wider than shoulder width. Bend your knees to the full squat (90-degrees) position. Make sure you keep the middle of your knee cap in line with the middle toes of your foot. Always keep your feet flat on the ground, do not let your heels raise from the floor. Repeat 10-15 reps.

2. Single Leg Ball Squat

Place a Swiss ball behind your lower back, and place your feet two foot (0.5m) from the wall. Lift one leg off the floor. Bend your knee to the 1/2 squat position. Make sure when you squat you keep the middle of your knee cap in line with the middle toes of your foot. Do not let your knee drift off to one side. Also keep your hips and pelvis level as you squat, so you go down in a straight line. Be careful not to slump forwards as you squat, maintain good posture. This exercise will help to strengthen your quadricep muscles, knee joint and leg. Repeat 10 reps each side.

3. Side Walk with Band

Wrap a band around your legs above your knees. Step to one side and repeat as required. You can repeat both sides if required. Repeat for 30 seconds each side.

4. Single Leg Eccentric Step Downs

Stand on the side of a step or box. Move one leg away from the side of the step. Lower into a squat position as you touch your heel on the floor. Return to the start position. Repeat 10 times each side.

5. Single Leg RDL with Kettlebell

The Romanian deadlift. Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, and holding a kettlebell in each hand, extend one leg behind you as you bend forwards. Soften your knee slightly, and make sure you keep your back straight (or just slightly arched) throughout the movement. When you reach horizontal, come back up to the start position (on one leg). Repeat 10 times each side.

Weak knees are a common issue, and you need to address the underlying cause. This can be found out by consulting with one of our team at Surrey Physio. Once you have a clear diagnosis, use stability and strengthening exercises for the leg. Ideally this would include calf, quadricep, hamstring, hip, and gluteal strengthening, as these muscles contribute most to the knee.

If you need support, please email the Surrey Physio team or call us 0208 685 6930.