Checking Your Full Knee Extension

Human Body Owners Manual | Series 2

As we continue the Human Body Owners Manual series, it is important to check in with your body. Another important life-long aspect of efficient walking and knee health, is full knee extension.

A healthy normal knee should be able to fully straighten. Sometimes when a knee is painful or injured we protect it by keeping it a little bent when we stand or lay down. If this pattern continues, the knee will stiffen up and lose it’s ability to fully straighten. This inability to fully straighten when standing and walking often leads to more pain.

Your knee should fully straighten when you are standing up or laying down. If you lose this flexibility, you are more likely to have some knee pain. Checking your knee flexibility is convenient and simple.

Watch the video down below for a simple way to check your knee extension range of motion and how to improve it if it’s limited.

Here is how to check your knee extension and flexibility:

  1. Sit with your legs on the floor (if you cannot get to the floor, use your bed or couch)
  2. Use your hand to check how much space is between the back of your knee and the floor

If the distance between your knee and the floor is 1 finger width or less, you are on the right track! If is is more than 1 finger width, we recommend doing a quad set mobility exercise to improve your flexibility. In this exercise, you are going to take the thigh, squeeze and hold it for 2-3 seconds. You should feel the back of your knee getting closer to the floor. Perform 10-20 reps everyday until the range of motion improves. Please contact your physical therapist if the range of motion does not improve.

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