I find after strenuous exercise (competitive basketball specifically) that my knee needs a couple days to recover. Are there any specific exercises I can do to strengthen the joint and reduce my recovery time? I prefer in-home techniques.

Specifics: I jammed my knee into a rock while fielding a ground ball three years ago and have had issues since. I wear a brace/sleeve whenever jumping is involved, though I usually can run with no pain. 95% of the time, I'm fine. I started to wear the sleeve because I had occasions where I'd come down to the ground and my knee would buckle like it wanted to give out completely. When there's pain (minor, generally just a hindrance on stairs), I tend to have a hard time with any squat type movements, particularly with weight (like a toddler).

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    Could you provide some more information on what type of injury?
    – G__
    Mar 9, 2011 at 21:29
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    Honestly, this sounds more like a question that should be asked of a physician. It'd be hard for us to know enough about the specific nature of your injury in order to recommend specific exercises that wouldn't cause unnecessary pain/discomfort or re-injury.
    – whaley
    Mar 10, 2011 at 17:05
  • @whaley - Should I edit the question to remove the part about the injury? Tests by GP didn't turn anything up (my prescription was stretch better, ibuprofen and take it easy). Mar 10, 2011 at 17:27
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    @steve-jackson Maybe not remove, but de-emphasize. When I read the question originally I fixated on the injury and not what you were really asking (how to strengthen the knee).
    – whaley
    Mar 10, 2011 at 20:40
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    @Steve - You don't provide enough information. The type of pain and the location could be helpful. For example, pain in the front of the knee would indicate a different problem (and treatment) than pain on the outside of the knee. You did mention "giving way" which could easily indicate a ligament injury. A professional opinion is probably a good idea, but in the meantime here's a link: orthopedics.about.com/od/hipknee/a/kneesymptoms.htm
    – wdypdx22
    Mar 13, 2011 at 17:53

4 Answers 4


I have osteochondritis desicans(sp?) in my left knee. Basically a nerve is pinched when my support muscles tire and sometimes the pain is bad enough that my knee buckles. My physio initially recommended movements like swimming (breast stroke) and cycling. This was good at first.

But what really helped was lots of squats and bar bell training (deadlift, front squat, back squat, various Olympic lifts).

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    I'm glad to see someone claim that squats are actually good for the knee. Mar 14, 2011 at 18:51
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    I've added squats and a little extra plyo to my weekly workouts and I haven't had a "bad day" for months. Thanks! Oct 12, 2011 at 20:11

As an ACL reconstruction patient, I was told to always stretch before you do anything. Work on hamstring, calf, leg extension, and knee bend stretch before you do anything physical. These are the exercises that i do to strengthen my knee back to 100%:

Static, side, split-squats, ploymetric lunges:

  • Static lunges are great for working all the major muscles of the hips, glutes and thighs. In this version of lunges, you're simply dropping your knee down rather than stepping forward or back.
  • side lunges are similar to static but you are basically stepping to the side to work the lateral movement.
  • Split-squats can be done with or without weights(dumbbell or barbell). There are different variations of split-squats you can do it with dumbbell with one leg elevated on a chair and squad down as if you are doing static lunges or you can use barbell without elevation and position barbell on back of shoulders and grasp barbell to sides. Stand with feet far apart; one foot forward and other foot behind.
  • Plyometric lunges involves fast pace, burst movement, and balance coordination. This is more advance form of lunges and builds strength. They come in many different forms one example would be "Mary Katherine Lunges" where you basically repeatedly doing static lunges with a jump in between each rep with little down town as possible.

Knee pain can have many causes which can't be resolved in the scope of an internet forum, but squatting, with or without weight, is an excellent natural motion that helps in strengthening all the components of the knee. To build endurance and strength gradually over time, I recommend twohundredsquats.com. If basketball on a hard surface is your only knee exercise, that is pretty tough. I recommend sprinting barefoot on grass, sand or track surface.


I had knee pain and these two exercises helped me to strengthen my knees. After some weeks, the pain disappeared.

But I recomend you to visit a doctor.

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