"If you have tight muscles, the knee joints are being compressed by those tight muscles and if you've got arthritis, or bone on bone, then that's compressing, making more pain," said Chris Mallett, Owner of ATP Specific Training in Pasadena.
Mallett says the solution is loosening up tight muscles along with strengthening weak ones. In general working hamstrings, quadriceps, inner thighs and calves. He says many are in the habit of diving right into their sport, jumping back in the car without stretching. Bad idea. Stretching for three to five minutes post exercise will help relax tight muscles and relieve pain.
Since it is important to stretch tight muscles and strengthen weak ones, he suggests starting with a wall sit that strengthens the entire group.
"You want to keep the glutes back," said Mallett. "But you also most importantly want to keep the knees behind the toes."
Prone leg raises (stomach side down) also strengthen the glutes or buns as do hip lifts. Side leg raises strengthen muscles used in walking or running. Lying on one side, raise your top leg slowly up, and then down again. Do each exercise three times ten, meaning three sets of ten repetitions.
It is also important to strengthen the adductors or inner thigh muscles. Lying on the same side, take the top leg's foot and bend knee so the top foot touches down in front of the straight bottom leg. Lift the bottom leg slowly up and down again. Remember, all exercises are performed three sets at a time, ten each. Do the exercises on both legs even if just one is hurting.
Using tubing or a towel, this stretch relaxes hamstrings. Open leg out to the side to stretch the inner thigh known as the adductor, vital to knee support.
A standing stretch will relax the quadricep or thigh muscle, followed by a calve stretch, surprisingly also important.
"Not only do the calves cross the ankle joint but they cross the knee joint," said Mallett.
Whether pain is due to excess weight, inactivity or over exercising, Mallett suggests strength and non-impact cardio sport like swimming or elliptical training three days a week, but stretching should be done every day.
"Keep moving, joints need to be moved if they don't move they stop working so well, so definitely the best combat against anything really is to keep moving, keep exercising," said Mallett.