Best Hydrotherapy Exercises for Knee Problems and Injuries

6th October 2022

If you are experiencing knee pain, you might want to consider using a hot tub. The benefits of hot water and hydrotherapy for a knee injury or other painful joints have been known for a long time, and a hot tub could just provide you with what you need to soothe discomfort in your knees.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why you might want to use a hot tub for knee pain along with a few simple exercises you can try yourself.

Why Use Hot Tubs for Knee Pain?

Heat therapy can help to relax stiff joints in a natural way. Maybe you’ve got stiff knees, or perhaps you’re considering hydrotherapy after knee replacement surgery. 

Whatever your situation, soaking in warm water can provide you with an affordable and safe complementary therapy, helping to loosen up stiff knees and provide relief to aching muscles. 

Man swimming in hot tub

But why is it effective? 

Increases Blood Flow to Painful Areas

Hydrotherapy has many benefits. For a start, relaxing in warm water can help to increase blood flow to the joints and muscles, including stiff knees. As you warm up stiff joints or muscles, the blood vessels enlarge, allowing more blood and oxygen to get to the injured area. 

Whether you want to try hydrotherapy for knee osteoarthritis or you’ve got stiff or aching joints, soaking in warm water may help. 

Takes the Pressure Off Your Knees

When you carry out hydrotherapy exercises for knee pain, the buoyancy of the water makes your body lighter and reduces the pressure on your joints. This can reduce strain around the knees, and muscles around them can relax so they become less tense and less painful. 

Massages Your Muscles

One of the great things about hot pools like ours at Hydropool is that they provide massages using water jets. Massage has long been known to help with stiff muscles and joints, and hydrotherapy for knee pain can provide similar benefits.

Not every hot tub is the same. At Hydropool, our Serenity Hot Tubs have a range of Wellness Programmes that have been designed to help specific areas of the body.

For example, there is the Leg Pain Treatment programme. This lasts for 25 minutes and uses three zones. Along with DreamScent Aromatherapy and a recommended Air Therapy Option, it may help to provide relief from leg pain.

Or there’s the Sports Recovery Treatment, which could help if you’re feeling stiff after doing sports activities and lasts for 35 minutes.

Woman in hot tub overlooking beautiful view

Water massage is very gentle on your muscles and joints. You don’t have to be concerned about someone pressing too hard or in the wrong place. And because it is completely effortless on your part, you can sit back and relax.

Exercises Are Low Impact 

When you carry out exercises for your knee in a hot tub, they will be low-impact exercises. Any high-impact exercises can make the knee worse, so gently moving your leg in the water while enjoying the support it provides can be ideal.

Water Provides Resistance

When it comes to hydrotherapy for knee pain, water is also a great way to get gentle resistance. Once your knee is a bit better, you can use more intense exercises. The resistance provided by the water is gentle on your joints.

Helps You to Rest and Relax

You need to recuperate as well as exercise, and that means spending some time relaxing to give your knee time to recover. And is there any better way to relax than in a hot tub?

Hot Tub Exercises for Knee Pain 

If you think that you might benefit from hot tub exercises for knee pain, you need to know where to start. Whether you want to try water exercises for arthritic knees or you simply want to loosen up stiff knees, here are a few simple and gentle exercises you could try. 

It’s important to note here that you should talk with your doctor or physiotherapist first, especially for more painful injuries. They may recommend complete rest, for example, or they may have their own exercises they recommend. But the following exercises can provide you with a good starting point.

Stretching

One of the simplest things you can do in a hot pool is stretch. Sit down and simply stretch your leg very gently. This could be all you do to start with for the first few sessions.

The idea is to simply get your knee joints moving in a safe environment. Over time, the movement can help to strengthen the muscles and increase flexibility in the joints. 

Walking in the Water

If your hot tub is deep enough, you might want to walk around slowly. The water will support your body as you walk and you can use a natural walking motion like you would on land.

While on land, gravity may put too much pressure on your knees. In the water, you will get more support. Walking is the most natural movement for legs and knees, so your hot tub could provide you with the perfect way to move your legs without the pain you experience on land.

Old lady walking in hot tub

Sitting Knee Raise

Sit down on the seat in your hot tub and place both feet on the floor. Lift one leg up and raise your knee, then pull it in gently to your chest. Hold for a few seconds and slowly return to the starting position. Then do the same with the other leg. 

Standing Knee Raise

This is similar to the previous exercise, but this time you do it standing up. Stand on both legs and then lift one leg and bring it in towards your chest. Hold it for a few seconds, then lower your leg and do the same with the other leg very slowly.

Stand and Sit 

Start by standing up in the hot tub and then lower yourself down until you are sitting on the seat. This can be too painful on land, but the water provides buoyancy that makes it easier.

This may be too difficult if your knees are very painful. But if you can manage it, the exercise can be an effective way to build muscles in your legs and get your knees moving. 

Quad Squeeze

Sit down on the seat in your hot tub and lift your legs off a few inches. Squeeze your quads, hold them for a few seconds and relax. Then repeat.

The idea is to strengthen your muscles so that when you are back on land, they do more of the work.

Bicycle Motion

Stand up in your hot tub and hold onto the bar behind you if there is one, or just hold onto the edge. Then lift both legs up into your chest and rotate them slowly like you are riding a bicycle.

This can strengthen the muscles in your legs and abdomen while getting your knees moving. 

Relax After Exercising

The exercises you try will depend on your hot tub, the pain in your knee and what you feel like you can manage. You may simply want to start by sitting down and moving your leg around gently before you move on to other exercises.

Hot tub surrounded by candles

Don’t overdo it, and only do what you are comfortable with. And whichever exercises you do, make sure you finish your session by relaxing and letting the warm water soothe your aching joints.

Try Hydrotherapy Exercises for Knee Pain

Hydrotherapy has long been used to provide relief for pains, aches and discomfort. If you are experiencing knee pain, talk to your doctor or physio and ask for their recommendations. They may well recommend using hydrotherapy to provide relief, in which case the exercises above can help.

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, it’s always a good idea to start with a few gentle exercises first, or even to simply relax in your hot tub while gently stretching your legs. As you become more comfortable, you could then work your way up slowly by trying a few of the exercises above and seeing how you get on.

At Hydropool Surrey, we have a large range of hot tubs to choose from, including models that fit up to nine people. Our Serenity Hot Tubs are particularly useful for people suffering from aches and pains because they have been designed with assistance from physiotherapists and osteopaths and are ideal for anyone seeking hydrotherapy and massage.

Explore our collection today and feel free to ask any questions you have. Remember that you can also book an appointment at our showroom to try our hot tubs for yourself in a comfortable, relaxing, no-pressure environment.