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Knee exercises

Patient information A-Z

Hamstring stretch

Place one leg on a table or bed while standing next to it. Straighten both legs and slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch at the back of your knee. Hold the stretch for 10 counts. Remember to keep your chin up and your back straight. Do not bounce during this stretch.

Hamstring stretch
Hamstring stretch

Quadriceps exercise (Stage 1)

The quadriceps is the front knee muscle (the thigh). Tighten this muscle to make your kneecap move- hold this contraction for five counts and then relax. This exercise is done with the leg straight and can be performed standing, sitting or lying down.

Terminal knee extension (Stage 2)

Lie on your back and place a rolled up towel under your knee causing it to bend slightly. Bend other knee to support your lower back. Lift heel in order to straighten your leg. Hold for a count of 5 and then relax.

Straight leg raise with heel lift (Stage 3)

Lie on your back and place a rolled up towel under your knee causing it to bend slightly. Bend other knee to support your lower back. Lift your heel so that your leg is straight. Once straightened, lift straight leg to the height of your other bent leg. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then relax.

Straight leg raises (Stage 4)

Lie on your back with opposite knee bent to support your lower back. Tighten your knee muscles (quads) and point you toes upwards. Slowly, lift your leg straight up slightly lower than your bent knee. The leg should be straight throughout the lift. Lower and relax leg between each lift.

Stage 1

Stage 1 stretch
Stage 1 stretch

Stage 2

Stage 2 stretch
Stage 2 stretch

Stage 3

Stage 3 stretch
Stage 3 stretch

Stage 4

Stage 4 stretch
Stage 4 stretch

Leg flicks

Sit on leg extension machine with legs out straight, with a 5-10lb weight flick legs up and down with movement from the hips making sure not to bend the knees.

Knee push backs

Leaning against a bench raise and lower alternate heels off the floor in a walking motion. When heel returns to floor ensure that knee is pushed back out as straight as possible.

Calf stretch

Measure three foot-lengths away from the base of a wall and place feet together with hands on wall. Lean forward until chest touches the wall making sure that heels do not leave the ground. You should feel a stretch in the back of the calf.

Quads stretch

Standing with support nearby to maintain balance, bend one knee back and hold fully flexed with hand for 30 seconds, repeat each leg.

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Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151