How to get up off the floor with bad knees

How to get up off the floor with bad knees

Aging comes with a lot of pride – there’s a wealth of experiences we can look back to and tons of achievements to toast to.

But we also face a couple of niggling issues that we have to adapt to including knee pain- it’s quite common in our golden years, often brought by osteoarthritis (the wearing/tearing of knee cartilage).

The issue makes getting up off the floor, no matter what took you to the floor, an immensely tough challenge without assistance and can limit us significantly.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way: there are ways you can get up the floor despite your painful knees without bothering your caregiver or grandchild.

Read on to discover how to get up off the floor with bad knees.

How to get up off the floor with bad knees –step by step

First, we’ll assume that you’re on the floor:

Step 1: Get onto all-fours

It’s good to keep a chair in front –you may need extra support since you’re just starting out- at first.  

Also consider using some form of protection for your knees when kneeling – a mat or even a thin cushion would suffice.


  • Start by rotating your body onto one hip. Choose the side that you find comfier.
  • Next, slowly move your whole self as if to go to one side and onto your two hands and the knees.
  • You’re now resting your body on all fours- both hands will be right under the corresponding shoulder and your knees straight under the hips.

Tip: Be sure to engage your core while in this position. It helps make you more stable.

Getting onto all-fours from a lying down position

Even when lying down, the easiest way to get yourself onto your all fours is by swaying onto your side then pushing your body up onto both hands and knees.

Here is how you can quickly and safely move onto all fours in this case:

  • Rise up into a sitting position and rotate to your favored side.
  • Now bend your first knee (go for the strong leg) and proceed to bring it onto the floor, in front of your body.
  • Next lift your strong arm and place it on the floor, again in front.
  • Bend the other knee and put it down onto the floor followed by the remaining arm.

Step 2: getting up

To begin with, plant your hands either on the arms or seat of your chair for support.

Now raise the first knee (this should be your stronger knee) and plant the foot close to the chair.

While holding on to the chair tightly, clasp the toes of your back foot under then begin to shift your weight to the ‘leading’ leg – simply push it back onto a standing position.

This will enable you to bring the ‘trailing’ leg up. You want to transplant the foot on the floor as well.

Lastly, with your knees still bent, lean over the chair (this transfers your weight there), slowly but surely stand up.

Step 3: Repeat

Repeat the above steps as many times as possible.

The idea is to understand each and every step of the way for your security- a single miscalculation can lead to tragic consequences including a catastrophic fall.

Helpful things for elderly

How to get up off the floor with bad knees – useful exercises

Still unable to get up from floor?

Don’t panic- your body needs good strength at various points during the above getting up off the floor exercise and you may struggle if you’re not sufficiently strong.

For example, you need fairly strong chest muscles to shift your weight to all fours.

Likewise, sound leg and glute strength to confidently step one foot forward.

All is however not lost- these easy but helpful drills will help you build the required strength.

Remember that both are safe for seniors with troubled knees.

Create time for them then retry:

Wall-Facing Chair Squats

The only requirement for this plain sailing exercise is a regular table chair.


  • Face your chosen wall.
  • Stand about a foot away from the wall, keeping your chair right behind you.
  • Place your feet parallel while maintaining hip-width gap in the middle.
  • Now lower yourself down onto the chair (to sit on it) slowly- Ensure you have braced your core while at it. This creates stiffer support (in the lower body section) and strengthens the key muscles, particularly around your knee joints.
  • Redo this 8-12 times.

Here is how to improve leg circulation in the elderly

Seated Leg Extension workout

  • Find a stable chair (without wheels) and place it anywhere free in the room/outside.
  • Next, sit upright on the chair- toward the edge- while keeping your feet a reasonable but comfortable distance apart.
  • Lift your first leg as high as you can and hold it for 2-3 seconds then bring it back down.
  • Now raise the opposite leg and hold up in the elevated position for an equal duration of time. Return it to position and repeat with the previous leg.
  • Keep repeating with the alternate leg for between eight to ten times.

This exercise works the upper muscles of your legs- the quadriceps- and can help you build the necessary strength.

Side note: Avoid retrying the ‘how to get up off the floor with bad knees’ steps immediately after these two exercises. It’s important that you catch some breath in between.

While most of these tips are easy to master, it may take you a few rounds of practice to become fully confident of rising off the floor on your own.

Don’t panic- practice, practice, and practice more until you feel sure that you can safely get up and down from the floor without assistance.

We urge you to give it your best shot- a bad knee shouldn’t condemn you to a 100% late-life dependency lifestyle.

That said, consult your doctor before attempting any of the above, especially if you’ve serious arthritis or you have had a surgery in the past.

How to improve leg circulation in the elderly

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