Our expert says:
Squats, leg extensions, hamstring curls, lunges, and leg press all help the muscles connected around the knee, so that's why they help. That's not necessarily the same thing as strengthening the knee, and it may be that you're just overdoing it and loading the joint too much. Then other things take over - cartilage and tendons and ligaments. So it might be that you're trying so hard to strengthen the knee that you're straining it. I'd back off a little and see what happens. Bring the weight down, get stronger, but don't constantly strain - you know how it can be with weight training - you want to lift heavy, and by doing that, you're really challenging the joint and that can lead to the soreness the day after.
So just pull it back, work on strength. Also, considering doing some balance exercises - sometimes the strongest muscle can still not help, if that muscle doesn't "learn" how to control the joint. So balance drills on a soft mat are often really effective.
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