Hesperian Health Guides

Stretching Exercise to Straighten a Stiff Knee


a bent leg with muscle inside shown
tight cord
short muscle

The muscle and cord here are too short and tight. For this reason the knee will not straighten.

Ask the child to straighten his knee as much as he can by himself (if he can do it at all). Then help him slowly straighten it as far as it will go.

Both of you keep working to hold the knee as straight as possible while you count slowly to 25. Repeat several times. Do this exercise 3 times a day.

If the foot also has a contracture, try to hold or bend it up while you stretch the cord behind the knee.

child lying down while adult is pushing thigh down
Push down the thigh with one hand here.
With your arm, support the leg and bend the foot forward.
Use pressure here just below the knee to raise the leg.
child lying down while adult is lifting his straight leg up
When you get the knee as straight as you can with the hip extended, gradually lift the leg higher, keeping the knee straight.

This page was updated:27 May 2020