Knee pain, whether it’s the result of an injury, accident, chronic condition or just wear and tear as we age, is something a lot of people struggle with. This pain can make it hard to do the things you want to do, the things you have to do, and importantly, keep active and get the exercise you need to heal and strengthen the knee joint.
When your knee hurts, exercising may be the last thing you want to do. But it’s one of the best ways to treat the condition, and over time it can help immensely with things like pain, instability, swelling and stiffness. Besides that, exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, which is one of the best things you can do to take some of the load off your knees.
The key is to make you’re doing the right kinds of exercise and doing them regularly. So, what are the best exercises for knee pain? Here are a few things we recommend to help you exercise with knee pain:
Walking. Walking is a great low-impact activity for people with knee pain. Don’t try to move too fast, and don’t push yourself too fast. Start with a few minutes a day if that’s all you can do and work up to something like 20 minutes per day.
Water Exercises. The buoyancy that water affords makes it a lot easier to get the exercise you need, allowing you to work your legs and knees without putting your full weight on the joint.
Low-Impact Workout Equipment. This includes things like elliptical machines, stationary bikes, and rowing machines. These are all great ways to strengthen your legs and knees for added stability without putting a lot of stress on it, and they also offer a fantastic aerobic workout to help you shed excess pounds. Just remember to take it easy at first.
Stretch and Warm Up. Taking the time to stretch your muscles and warm them up can make a huge difference on your workout and how much you feel it later. Take a little time to stretch body and your legs before a workout or walk around a bit to limber up and get your blood pumping.
Things to avoid
For those who want to be active but have knee pain, it’s important to avoid exercises that are high impact or put a lot of stress on your legs and joints. This included running and jogging, as well as sports like basketball, tennis, racquetball, squash, soccer, and football that require a lot of stopping, starting, jumping and pivoting.
These high-impact activities can aggravate knee pain and make your swelling and stiffness a lot worse. But it’s not just these activities that can make it worse, even if you’re doing low-impact exercises, you need to consider how and where you do it, as well as the equipment you’re using.
Avoid hard surfaces like concrete, asphalt, even a hard gym floor, as these surfaces don’t offer any shock absorption. Dirt paths or grass are better options (just be careful of uneven surfaces), while treadmills and purpose-built rubberized walking paths are ideal.
Another thing to avoid are exercises that require you to bend your knees too much. Strength-training is a good idea, but things like squats and leg presses can do more damage than good, especially when you’re starting out.
The most important thing to remember is to take avoid overworking yourself. When you’re tired, your muscles don’t absorb the impact of exercise as well. That’s why it’s critical to listen to your body, and if your knee or any other part starts to hurt, take a break.
Quantum Pain & Sports Medicine can help
If you have knee pain, back pain, shoulder pain or any other kind of acute musculoskeletal pain, the experts at Quantum Pain and Sports Medicine can help. We are experts at diagnosing and treating pain, but we’re also your source for holistic pain management, offering diet and nutrition plans, exercise and physical therapy plans and more to help you get started on the path to wellness today.
Call 469.913.6136 or contact us to learn more.