Weak Knees with Aging - How to Strengthen?

Updated on May 12, 2013
M.C. asks from Largo, FL
10 answers

My knees have gotten pretty weak with age - I have trouble getting up from a squatting and now even a sitting position. I am starting to exercise to strengthen them, but I wondered if anyone had any advice about exercises that would work to strengthen the knees, and/or if anyone can recommend any nutritional supplements that might be helpful for knees/joints.

I don't have knee pain at all and it doesn't bother me to walk, hike, etc. or just be stationary. The only thing I've noticed is it feels like my knees won't support me when I get up from sitting or get up from the floor (after playing with kiddos).

Thanks in advance for any advice you have! I love this site, I am always reciting stuff from it that I've learned through the Questions and Responses.

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So What Happened?

Thanks, everyone! Seems to be a concensus around Glucosomine/Chondrotin HCL so I'm headed to the store to try that. I appreciate everyone who took time out to respond. ;>

Another note (much later ;>) I have been taking Osteo-BiFlex and I have noticed a marked improvement. I'm riding my bike and walking too, so that may help, but it's not enough to be the exercise alone. Thanks again to all who responded!

More Answers



answers from Houston on

I went to a pretty reputable sports doctor here in Houston for the same exact reason with my knees. The Dr. is part of a team of doc's that treat the NFL Texans team here so I am trusting he is good.

He told me he feels the supplements you are talking about are a WASTE of money. It has to do with how the supplements are metabolized, can't recall the exact explanation but he felt there was no way they could help. And they are expensive. He told me to save my money.

I have the same issues with my knee. I joined a gym 6 months ago and have strengthened my legs....it has worked WONDERS!! If I do a lot of lunges, I still experience knee soreness when getting up from the floor, etc. but nothing like before.

If you are overweight, that is your BIGGEST issue. If you read about weight and knee issues, you will see that excess weight puts extreme pressure on your knees.
Also, women are more prone to knee problems b/c of our hips, something about the ratios of our hip width being wider than mens. Yea for us :(

Any exercise to strenthen the front AND THE BACK of your legs will work. Work your hamstrings as well as your quad's. Hamstrings are usually far less developed. You can easily look up exercises to build these muscles.



answers from Lakeland on

Hi M.,
Have you had any knee injury or stood alot on cement floors? I think first I would have my iron checked.
Some things that might help are:
Glucosomine/Chondrotin HCL if you are allergic to sulpher
Cats Claw
some people do well w/ arch supports & some do not
insoles to cushion the feet
Walking is good exercise for the knees if there is no injury.




answers from Tampa on

Hi M.. I am a physical therapist asssitant and massage therapist. My suggestion is yes, start slow and strengthen your muscles but be sure to listen to your body and you must stretch. Lunges, squats, hamstring curls and knee extensions are a good place to start, do higher reps and low weight. Also osteobiflex has had great reviews, my mom and my husband take it. It helps rebuild cartilage in the joints which provides cushioning between the bones. Massage therapy would also be a great addition to your porgram. Best of luck!



answers from Tampa on

I have had problems getting up and down for a while. I am starting to take a Tai Chi class where the instructor tells me that the moves are to strengthen my inner muscles, and he specified the knees as one that can be weak going side to side and some of these moves will strengthen them. I haven't experienced it yet, but am hopful.


This is going to sound crazy (or at least it did to me) but it works. Tai Chi! It is slow and non abrasive on your body, and it strengthens the muscles that are attached to your bones and increases circulation. I was told this in my first classes, and I thought it would be great if it actually worked. I have the same problem, getting up from a squat and or off the floor. I am only 43 and have had this problem for quite a while. I took Tai Chi for a few months, and my circulation improved, and I could get up off the floor BY MYSELF!!! Usually my kids give me a hand and they are only 10 and 13. After this got better, I figured that it was probably something else I was doing, but after quitting Tai Chi for about 1 year, I am having problems again. I am going to start again. Also, I only did it once a week. I was bad at practicing like the teacher wanted, but it still worked. Good Luck!


I have tried to answer this, but the computer shifted on me. So if I answer twice I am sorry.

Tai Chi. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I have the exact same problem, and when I took Tai Chi, it strengthened the muscles that are attached to the bones and incresed circulation (their words, not mine). I could finally get up on my own. I stopped taking it a year ago and am back to the same problems, so I am sure that is what helped me. Good Luck



answers from Tampa on

Hi M., you could try glucosamine. I have heard that it works wonders from several sources. I also heard that it takes at least a month or so to really start working though. Good luck.



answers from Tampa on

Are you sure it's your knees and not your leg muscles? Getting up from squatting or sitting really uses your quad muscles. The best exercises are doing squats (repeatedly sit on a chair and get right back up) or wall sits (sitting in an imaginary chair with your back against the wall). In either of these exercises, do no lower past your thighs being parallel to the floor. Balance exercises would be good for your legs and knees. There are several yoga poses you could practice including the tree pose. Email me if you need more info. [email protected]____.com




answers from Tampa on

Dear M.,
There are a variety of nutrients that may help knee ligaments
but if you would like to know exactly which are correct for you there is a questionnaire on my website that can narrow it down for you-docmccullen.com, we'd be glad to help you out.
Best of Luck, doc


May be your thigh muscles are not doing their job- and a way to strenghten them is to push your back up against the wall, and slide down the wall until your thighs are ALMOST parallel to the foor. See how long you can hold that- and work up to 180 seconds- 3 minutes- don't feel bad if you can only do 10 seconds- the only person I have ever seen do this the 1st time was a long distance runner.
When you make it to 180 sec then your legs will be strong enough to support your knees.
best, k



answers from Tampa on

Oh, good, it's not just me! ;) We can tell we're getting old when it's difficult to stand up after sitting around on the floor with our kids. I haven't had any knee injuries, but I did inherit my dad's bad knees. I've had knee pain that comes and goes since I was a kid. Mine actually ache when it's going to rain. I'll have shooting pains through the left one now and again, and sadly, it's not because I spent the day walking around Busch Gardens. It's always at odd times that I get the knee pain. I always buy my supplements through www.vitacost.com and I would definitely recommend a joint blend. Everyone else so far has forgotten MSG (not to be confused with MSM in food). An MSG-Gloucosomine blend works great. It does take a good 2-4 weeks to feel the results. I like Irwin Naturals joint blend, and NSI OptiMSM Gloucosamine-Chondroitin blend. I very rarely have any knee pain when I am taking the supplements. I understand you're not having the pain just yet, but if it works on someone that's probably farther down the line with knee problems (probably early stages of arthritis...man, I'm only 29), then it should work great for you as well!



answers from Nashville on

use 2 drops of soothanol x2 rub on the effected area and you will be amazed of any pain disappearing.



answers from Sarasota on

I too have heard that glucosimine and chondrotin can help. To actaully strenghten your legs though you need to workout. Lunges and squats are best for a whole leg workout. But go slow. Sometimes as you age your body just doesn't want to cooperate anymore..as I am finding out..and I exercise regularly (I am also a personal trainer). Healthy fats are also good for the joints..olive oil, salmon, nuts...they are natural lubricants.

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