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Simple Leg Exercises


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Late winter I started having pain in my left knee and then instead of getting better, the other knee started the same kind of pain. Finally I went to a physical medicine doctor who examined my knees, had them x-rayed, and told me I do not have arthritis, that the knee pain is caused by hypermobility and I have a collegen defect. (This was not news to me, but it was nice to go to a doctor who correctly identified my problem without my telling him first.)

We now believe that I did not have the pain in the past because of my regular exercise program, but when Jeff was diagnosed with cancer last June, I stopped exercising because our whole routine fell apart and taking care of him and learning all the medical stuff I had to learn was about all I could manage.

The physical medicine doctor said the only way to take the stress off the knees is to keep the muscles toned and he sent me for physical therapy. I have been there 8 times now and have been doing the homework and it is amazing how toned my legs have become in such a short time. I think it may be helping my POTS a little. And oh, yes, the knee pain is much better.

So if you want to know the specific exercises, I will list them here. They are very simple and easy, except most are done standing so that may be a problem for some.

Knee push: This one is done lying down on a bed. Lie on your back and press the backs of the knees into the bed. You want to tighten the muscles around the knees. Hold for a count of 10 and repeat for 4 minutes.

Small squats: Place your back to a wall and feet a little in front of you and lower yourself into a squat, but not a deep squat. Hold the squat to a count of 10 and repeat 20 times. I do these against the fridge door because a painted wall will not let me slide down and up very well but the fridge door is slippery.

Heel touch: Stand on a 2" high surface. A 2x4 is good for this. Stand on the 2x4 with one foot. Flex the heel of the free foot and then bend the knee of the leg on the board just enough to let the heel of the other foot touch the ground. Do 30 on each foot. hold on to the back of a chair for balance.

Ride a stationary bike for 10 minutes.

This one requires an exercise band. Tie the band to something very solid so it makes a circle. Place one leg into the circle and position the band mid calf. Stand so the band is stretched and has tension. Then do 3 sets of 20 small knee bends. Then do the other leg.

Of course one should start by doing just the number of reps or the length of time that is comfortable. The efficiency of these exercises has amazed me and I have been a regular gym goer for years and have had many session with a private trainer in the gym. The results I have seen from these exercises are better than the results I got from working regularly on the leg machines.

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