If you’ve injured your knee, certainly you aren’t going to be able to work it like you did before. Exercising while you are recovering takes great caution so that you help your knee repair itself and not aggravate the injury further. Here are three exercises that will achieve that goal:

Exercise #1: Partial Squat

Perform a full squat and you risk making your knee worse. However, if you only go down about a quarter of the way, you’ll start to strengthen the muscles that support your knee, which are namely your thighs and hamstrings. Hold on to the back of a chair to make sure you don’t fall if you feel unsteady.

Exercise #2: Step-Up Exercises

Another great way to get your knee to begin to heal is to use a step. Place it in front of you and simply step up with one foot and then the other before stepping down one foot at a time as well. If you are comfortable, you can also stand beside the step and step up from your left or right, working your outer thighs and hips as well. 

Exercise #3: Straight Leg Lifts

Lie on your back and keep your legs straight, lifting one heel at a time off the ground about 4-6 inches. This, again, will allow you to strengthen the muscles in the rest of your leg without doing any further damage to your knee.

Just be sure to perform light stretching exercises on your thighs and hamstrings both before and after so that you keep your knee limber. Also, if you’d like a cardiovascular exercise that won’t give you pain or complicate your injury, a stationary bike is the way to go. It is low impact and doesn’t put a lot of stress on your knee area like running, an elliptical, or rowing.

Finally, take it slow. If something doesn’t feel right, stop doing it. You’re doing these to try to make your knee better…not worse.