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Each knee has two half moon-shaped pieces of cartilage called menisci that cushion and lubricate the knee. The menisci are situated between the femur -- thigh bone -- and tibia -- shin bone -- and are capable of distributing the load between both bones. Because the meniscus is not a muscle, in order to strengthen it you'll need to target the muscles around the knee, particularly the quadriceps located on the lower thighs. Range-of-motion exercises and stretches will strengthen the meniscus safely without adding undue stress on the knee joint.
Kneel on the floor with your thighs perpendicular to the floor.
Place the tops of your feet flat on the floor and position the feet slightly wider than hip width.
Lean back slightly and use your hands to draw the flesh of your calves toward your heels. This makes it more comfortable when you sit back.
Lower your buttocks to the floor in between your shins. If you cannot sit on the floor, place a yoga block under your buttocks. You should feel a stretch in your knees and thighs, but not pain. If you feel pain in your knee joint, come out of the pose.
Stay in the pose for 30 seconds, working your way up to five-minute sessions of Hero Pose.
Straight Leg Extension
Sit on a chair with a straight spine.
Place both feet on the floor.
Extend your right leg toward the ceiling until the shin bone is perpendicular to the hip. The toes and knees point toward the ceiling.
Bend your right knee and lower your right foot to the floor. Repeat on the opposite side, performing 10 to 20 repetitions. Work your way up to three sets.
Lie on your back with your knees bent.
Lift your toes toward the ceiling, so only your heels are resting on the floor.
Engage your core muscles by drawing your belly button in toward your spine.
Press your heels into the floor and lift your hips as high as you can. Your knees, hips and shoulders should be in a straight line. Hold the hips in the air for six seconds and lower them back to the ground.
Perform 8 to 12 repetitions, working your way up to three sets.
- If you have injured your meniscus, enlist the help of a physical therapist to help you rehabilitate and strengthen your knee.