When knees are painful, non weight-bearing stretching and strengthening exercises are safer, avoiding pressure on the joint.
1) Stretching the quadriceps:
Sit in a chair turned sideways on one butt cheek and bring your other knee up so you can grasp your ankle. Lower your bent knee (still holding your ankle) toward the floor until you feel a pull along the front of your thigh. Exhale and stretch for 2 seconds. Bring the knee back up and repeat the stretch 10 times. (If you can’t reach your ankle, use a strap, belt, rope or towel wrapped around it as an extension of your arm.)
2) Stretching the hamstrings:
Sit all the way back so your thighs are supported on the chair seat. Use a strap, belt, rope or towel wrapped around your foot. Holding the strap in both hands, tighten your thigh muscles to straighten the knee as much as you can until you feel a pull down the back of your thigh. Exhale and stretch for 2 seconds. Bend the knee again bringing your foot to the floor and repeat the stretch 10 times.
3) Stretching the gastrocnemius in the calf:
Sitting in a chair, wrap a strap or towel around the ball of your foot and put your heel up on a stool or another chair in front of you. Push away with your heel and bring your toes toward your face actively stretching the calf. Exhale and assist the stretch by pulling on the strap or towel for 2 seconds. Relax your ankle and repeat the stretch 10 times.
4) Stretching the inner thigh:
Sit sideways in a chair and extend your other leg out to the side with your foot on the floor and your knee slightly bent. Exhale and straighten your knee until you feel a pull along your inner thigh. Hold for 2 seconds, then relax your knee. Repeat the stretch 10 times.
5) Stretching the outer thigh:
Sit into the back of your chair again and wrap the strap around your foot. Tighten your quads to straighten your knee then turn your entire leg outward away from the middle of your body. Bring your leg in this position across your other knee until you feel a pull along the outer thigh. Exhale and stretch for 2 seconds. Release and repeat 10 times.