Tightness in the knee and ankle area is a common problem among individuals who spend a lot of time on their feet. Unnatural muscle tightness can increase the likelihood of injury, so take the time to perform simple knee and ankle stretches throughout the day, alleviating the discomfort and minimizing the chance of pulling or tearing a muscle during exercise. Perform these stretches daily, or whenever you feel the tension in the area grow to noticeable levels.
Perform hamstring stretches to reduce the pressure in the area around the knee, decreasing tension and providing some measure of relief. To perform the most basic hamstring stretch, lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Reach forward and grab your right leg around the thigh, straightening the leg itself as you pull the thigh upward so that the bottom of the foot is facing the ceiling (or farther, if you are already fairly flexible). Continue pulling until you feel more than mild discomfort, being careful to distinguish between healthy "stretching" pain and unhealthy "injury" pain. Hold in the peak position for 10 to 20 seconds before slowly lowering your leg. Repeat two or three more times before switching and stretching the opposite leg. Stretch both legs relatively equally to avoid developing a muscular imbalance.
Perform a simple quad stretch to further reduce tension in the area of the knee. While standing with your arm against a wall for support, reach down and grab the ankle of your right foot, bending at the knee to pull the lower leg up behind the body so that your heel comes into contact with your butt. Hold here for 10 to 20 seconds, repeating the drill two or three more times on the side. Switch legs, stretching the left leg in a similar fashion as well.
Stand facing a wall with your palms flat against the wall at shoulder height, your feet shoulder width apart, and your left foot about 24 to 36 inches in front of your right. Keep the toes of your back (right) leg facing forward and push into the wall, creating a stretch at the ankle and calf area as your knee moves further and further in front of your toes. Hold in the stretched position for 10 to 20 seconds, repeating two or three times before switching your stance (moving your right foot in front and your left foot back) and repeating the drill on the other side.
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