Knees are tricky. Like a lot of things, you don't really realize how much they do for you—until they stop working properly. And anyone who's ever had knee pain or a knee injury knows just how debilitating they can be. The key to recovery from and prevention of knee injuries is strengthening the muscles around the knee to relieve stress from the joint without causing pain to it, says Alejandro Rojas, head of fitness at Health LA. Use the following stretches and exercises to do just that, but be careful: These exercises are only meant for non-contact injuries caused by muscle weakness and imbalance. As with any injury rehab, consult your doctor, orthopedist or physical therapist before beginning any exercise regimen, and if you feel any pain while doing these exercises, stop immediately.
You might be thinking, “Squats? Really? But my knees already hurt!” But unless your doctor or physical therapist has told you otherwise, a simple squat can help you assess where your strengths and weaknesses lie within your knee joint. HOW TO DO IT: Bend your knees and sink your hips back as if you were sitting in a chair while raising your arms over your head. “Look for the knees to do two things: move in (adduction) or move out (abduction),” says Maurice Williams, owner of Move Well Fitness Academy. If your knees collapse inward, you’ll need to stretch your calves, inner thighs, hamstrings and hip muscles and strengthen your shin and glute muscles, he says. But if your knees move outward, stretch your calves, glutes and hamstrings and strengthen your inner thighs, back of knee and glute muscles.
The knee is a “dummy joint,” (don't worry -- it's not an insult!) meaning it doesn’t operate on its own, says master trainer Maurice Williams. Instead, it works with the hip and ankle joints to help you move. Stretching your calf muscle and getting it to relax will take some of the undue stress off the knee, Williams says. HOW TO DO IT: Brace yourself with both hands against a wall as you step one foot a few feet in front of the other. Bend the front knee, keeping it stacked over the front foot, but keep the back leg straight. You should feel the stretch in the calf of the leg that's behind you. Hold the stretch statically for 30 to 60 seconds for one to two sets
Original article and pictures take http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011532-workout-bad-knees/ site