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No matter what your wellness goals are, you can benefit from knee mobility exercises. “Lacking proper knee mobility can have an affect on the entire kinetic chain,” says Jeff Brannigan, program director at Stretch*d, which offers video and in-studio stretch coaching. As the largest joints in the human body, your knees carry a heavy load both literally and figuratively—stiffness or injuries here can throw your entire body out of balance. 

“When a joint doesn’t function properly, the muscles around it will be stressed in ways that they aren’t meant to be, which can lead to pain and injury,” Brannigan explains. “Over time these injuries will lead to further compensation throughout the body, making the situation worse and more systemic.” 

Stretching routines, like the best neck stretches or the best shoulder stretches, often emphasize flexibility over everything. But when it comes to knee stretches, a balance between knee mobility and knee stability is key, says Vinita Chandra Mody, MScPT, founder of Stroma Physical Therapy and an advisory board member for the Hospital for Special Surgery Rehabilitation Network. 

“Unlike flexibility—which is a muscle’s ability to stretch—mobility is the joint’s capacity to meet its full range of motion,” says Taylor Rae Almonte-Roman, CPT, a founding trainer at Fiture, whose fitness-mirror program provides in-home coaching. Knee stability involves strengthening the muscles around the knee joint to prevent the dreaded overrotation that can cause injury.  

Picture doing a squat. If your knees are tracking directly over your toes—which they should be—it’s because the stabilizing muscles surrounding the joint are doing their thing. If your knees are flailing inward or outward as you move, you’re lacking knee stability and more prone to injury, says Andrew Slane, a trainer with Fiture

“Two of the most common signs I encounter of a lack of stability in the knee joints are losing your balance during lunges and inadvertently bending your knees inward during squats,” he says. “Either of these indicate that the whole carriage of your knee, from the actual joint to the muscles surrounding it, is not strong enough to fully execute the potential of the move, and isn’t getting stronger due to poor form and overcompensation to make up for it.” 

That’s a recipe for a knee injury, including the dreaded tear in the meniscus, as well as pain elsewhere in the body. (Related: See our guide for low back pain exercises.) “There are multiple signs to look for if you think you are experiencing knee instability,” says Molly Day, also a trainer with Fiture. “Swelling and/or stiffness; experiencing a locking, clicking, or catching sensation; an inability to fully straighten the knee or hypermobility; and the obvious one: pain or inability to walk.” 

That’s where knee-strengthening exercises can help. Showing your joints some love with regular mobility and stability exercises can prevent a world of hurt. “It’s generally recommended to do a dynamic warm-up that incorporates movement at the major joints involved before a workout and static stretching afterwards,” says Jenna Crivelli, DPT, a physical therapist at Stroma. Or think of it this way: “There’s no downside to doing a little bit of stretching every day, even if it’s just 5 to 10 minutes,” says Brannigan. 



#Knee #Mobility #Exercises #Strength #Stability

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