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Exercises for a Grade One Knee Sprain

A grade one knee sprain is considered a mild knee injury in which one of the ligaments in the knee is overstretched 1. The symptoms include swelling, pain and inflammation. Certain exercises can help strengthen the quadriceps and the hamstrings – the muscles that support the knee – and speed recovery time. Keep in mind that though the sprain is not severe, it still requires care. Without adequate healing, this injury can very easily progress to a more serious and debilitating knee injury. Consult a healthcare provider, such as a physical therapist, for specific exercises for your particular injury.


Knee bends on a step or stair can help to strengthen the quadriceps, the big thigh muscles that support the knee joint. Focus on maintaining the alignment between the knee, the hip and the ankle as you step up, and make sure you support yourself with a bar or railing. For extra stability, perform stepups wearing a knee brace.

Bodyweight Squat

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Squats using only your body weight activate the quadriceps and the gluteal muscles while placing moderate stress on the ligaments of the knee. Using a wall or railing for support, squat halfway down slowly, then return to standing squeezing your muscles as you come up. For extra stability, perform the half body weight squat leaning back on a resistance ball.

Leg Extensions & Curls

For a grade one knee sprain, leg extensions and leg curls need to be performed without added weight. Sit on a bed or table and extend the leg fully. Hold for a count of five then slowly release your leg back down. Leg curls can be performed lying on your stomach using only the weight of your leg for resistance. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions.

  • For a grade one knee sprain, leg extensions and leg curls need to be performed without added weight.

Range of Motion and Cardio

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Light cardio helps to get the knee moving and increase blood flow to the joint. The optimal piece of cardio equipment to use if you have a grade one knee sprain is a stationary bike. Keep the bike seat set quite high so your range of motion remains minimal.