How To Exercise With Bad Knees
That said, if you get the green light from your doctor or physical therapist to start working out again, you can focus on exercises for bad knees.
Choosing low-impact forms of exercise can help reduce the forces of your own body weight and gravity on your knee joints, Prestipino says. Using softer surfaces, such as cushioned flooring can also help to decrease unnecessary stressors on your knee.
When selecting lower-body exercises, “closed-chain” ones in which your feet are firmly planted on the floor keep your knee in a more stable position, Dr. Rivadeneyra says.
“These movements will lead to greater quality of movement that will take the stress off the knee, decrease inflammation within the joint and shuttle healing blood to the area to speed the recovery process,” says Andy Coggan, CPT, a certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist with Gold’s Gym in College Station, Texas.
You can also largely reduce stress on your knee during lower-body exercises by limiting how much you allow your knee to bend, like capping any knee flexion at 90 or even 45 degrees.
Keeping your weight balanced in the heel of your foot will also transfer excess weight to your hips and core and off your knees.
Additional reporting by Rachel Grice.
Unweighted Exercises Leg Cycle Exercise
Start by lying on your back with both legs upward. Extend both your arms out at your sides for balance. Begin a cycling motion with your feet in the air. Try to increase the range of motion in the knee joint area, so the flexion in each leg goes from almost straight and extended to bent at a ninety degree angle.
Exercises For Knee Arthritis
If you have knee arthritis, you might be worried that exercises will make the condition worse. After all, knee arthritis usually is caused by wear and tear on the joints. Doesnt that mean more wear and tear from exercise will make the condition worse? The answer is, it depends on the exercise. Many knee exercises for arthritis can actually help decrease symptoms and improve joint health by reducing inflammation and stabilizing the joint.
Also Check: How To Use Ginger For Knee Pain
What Else Can Help With Knee Pain
Finding relief from knee pain depends on the cause or issue thats making it difficult for you to go about your daily activities. Carrying excess weight puts extra stress on your knees, which may lead to osteoarthritis.
In this case, the most effective treatment, according to the Cleveland Clinic, is weight loss. Your doctor may recommend a combination of diet and exercise to help you lose weight and strengthen the muscles in your lower body, especially around your knees.
A 2013 study found that adults with overweight and knee osteoarthritis experienced a reduction in weight and knee pain after 18 months of a diet and exercise program.
But if overuse is the culprit, your doctor will likely suggest RICE which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation and physical therapy. A physical therapist can work with you to develop a program that includes range of motion exercises, stretches, and muscle strengthening movements.
How To Strengthen Legs With Bad Knees
Painful knee joints can derail your fitness goals and leave you feeling frustrated. A torn ACL or meniscus, arthritis, patellar tendonitis or just soreness in the knees when you workout can make you wary of leg exercises for bad knees for fear you might do further damage.
Video of the Day
Although you should always consult your doctor before exercising with sore knees, there are leg exercises you can do that will strengthen your legs without hurting your knees. You might even find that building leg strength helps lessen your knee pain because the joints are better supported and stabilized, according to the American Council on Exercise.
You May Like: Whiten Knees Fast
Move 1: Standing Hip Extension With Resistance Band
The glutes and hamstrings are the main hip extensor muscles, connecting the hips and the legs at the back of the body. You use these muscles when you extend your leg behind you.
- You can do this exercise with a mini band, too.
- If the band puts some stress on your knee, try looping the band higher up your leg.
- Ditch the resistance band and do the movement without any added resistance.
Quad Strengthening Exercises For Bad Knees
How are your quads linked to knee pain?
When it comes to knee pain, its easy to assume that the pain is due to a problem with the joint, but this isnt always the case.
All the muscles in your body are interconnected so pain in one area can often be the result of other muscles not performing as well as they should be, particularly when it comes to joints like the knees.
Your quadriceps, or quads, are a large muscle group that sits around the front and sides of your thigh and plays a key part in hip flexing and knee extension. Weak or tight quads are a common cause of knee pain these issues can prevent the muscle from being able to properly support the knee function, leading to a to a lack of stability and, potentially, greater wear and tear in the knee. And its not just the quads either – weakness in the hamstrings and IT band area can also lead to aching, sore or painful knees. In fact, the risk of osteoarthritis of the knees is increased when quad strength is lower, particularly in women.
If you find yourself suffering with mild knee pain, rather than holding off all exercise completely, it could serve you better to work through quad strengthening exercises to better support the joint.
If your knee pain is extreme or has come on suddenly, consult your doctor before starting or continuing any kind of exercise routine.
10 Quad stretches and exercises for sore or weak knees
Don’t Miss: Inversion Table For Knee Pain
To Get Better Results
If you have healthy knees, aim for 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps of each exercise. If you havent worked out in a while, start with one set and build up from there.
If you have osteoarthritis, try to do these exercises 3-5 times per week for 8-12 weeks. Studies suggest this can help you manage the knee pain and improve your knee function.
- Stop doing these exercises if theyre painful or you feel a sharp pain in your knees.
- Dont push through the pain or you risk getting injured.
- Mild swelling is common, mostly if you havent exercised in a while. Too much swelling is a sign that you might be doing too much or theres an injury.
- Reduce the number of sets or repetitions if you have too much muscle soreness afterward.
- Combine these exercises with good sleep and nutrition habits for best results.
If you arent sure whether you can do these exercises or not, consult with a physical therapist first.
How Often Should You Do Knee
You dont need to slot in knee-strengthening exercises every day in order to see results. In fact, Bochnewetch suggests doing knee-strengthening exercises just two times per week. Pencil them in alongside your usual leg workouts, or as a separate standalone routine, she says.
As a general rule of thumb, do each exercise for 8 to 12 reps and 2 to 3 sets. If youre using weights, choose a weight that will allow you to perform reps at an intensity that feels between a 6 and 8 on difficulty scale of 1 to 10 , Bochnewetch advises.
Don’t Miss: Inversion Table Knees
How Can I Make My Knees Stronger Exercise
Workouts for bad knees generally focus on several goals:
- To make the joint more flexible
- To stabilize the joint
- To strengthen knee ligaments, muscles, and tendons that control joint movement
- To decrease inflammation and pain
- To reduce the risk of future injuries and falls
If youve got weak knees, here are four knee strengthening exercises you can do starting today to keep your knees healthy.
1. Straight leg lifts
Most people with weak knees also have weak quadriceps . Straight leg lifts help tone those quads, and the exercise is simple to do. Lying flat on your back, bend one knee and put that foot flat on the floor. Keep the other leg straight. Raise the straight leg to the height of the bent knee and hold it for a few seconds. Then gently lower and repeat 10 times on each side. Aim for three sets.
2. Backwards leg lifts
These lifts are similar to the lifts just described, but this time, you lie on your tummy and both legs are straight. To do this exercise, contract the muscles in your butt and one leg and raise that leg toward the ceiling. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your leg to the floor. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.
3. Calf raises
For this, you need a chair or other surface to hold onto and support yourself. Slowly raise your feet up onto your toes so your heels are off the floor. Raise as high as you can, hold for a few seconds, then lower yourself back to the starting position. Once again, aim for three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
What Are The Benefits Of Strengthening The Muscles Around The Knees
See, the knee is not necessarily the most stable joint, Bochnewetch says. In an effort to make up for its lack of stability, the knee relies heavily on the surrounding muscles for support. These muscles include the quadriceps, a group of four muscles on the front thigh that help straighten out the knee and also assist in hip flexion, as well as the glute muscles, which play a key role in keeping the hips and knees aligned and controlling the knee in side-to-side movements.
Your quad and glute muscles need to be strong enough to properly stabilize the knee and keep it safe when it moves. And thats where knee-strengthening exercises come in. By taking the time and effort to strengthen your kneesthrough both quad-strengthening exercises and glute-focused movesyou can boost your knee health and reduce your risk of injuring the joint.
Bottom line: Knee strength is crucial for overall knee health. And as we mentioned, its important for pretty much everyone. But knee-strengthening exercises for runners and other athletes whose sports involve high impact moves are extra critical, says Bochnewetch. Because these people are asking a little bit more from their knees , its extra important to make sure their joints are strong enough for the tasks at hand.
Don’t Miss: Does Aflac Cover Hysterectomy
Why Quad Strength Matters To Your Knees
The quadriceps are made up of four muscles on the front of your thigh. Their main function is to extend, or straighten, your knee, and theyre involved in several important tasks of daily living, such as transitioning from sitting to standing and supporting your knees while youre standing or walking.
In a recent study, researchers performed isometric strength testing on 163 people, ages 40 to 79, and categorized them as having normal or weak quadriceps. About 12% of the participants had quadriceps weakness when the study began, and they were more likely to report higher levels of knee pain.
Over a mean follow-up period of 3.3 years, 15.5% of the participants experienced loss of knee cartilage, as viewed on magnetic resonance imaging . This loss of cartilage occurred in 44% of those with quadriceps weakness, compared with 11.7% of those with normal quad strength a threefold increased risk of cartilage loss in those with quad weakness the study authors reported.
With the quads being the main muscles that support the knee joint, if you dont have good muscle strength there, that can lead to further problems, Bungo adds.
Beware The Weekend Warrior Effect
Of course, no workout takes place in a vacuum: What your knees can handle today depends on what youve been doing with them over the preceding weeks and months. Thats why the arrival of ski season is a source of predictable carnage for physical therapists, as enthusiastic weekend warriors hit the slopes after months of inactivity.
Dr. Whittaker suggested taking the first day on the slopes easy and being willing to cut subsequent days short when it feels like your leg muscles or joints have had enough. Its pacing, she said. Its adapting to the capacity of your body to handle the load.
Better yet, she strongly suggested doing some strength training to prepare your legs before putting any new stresses on them. A simple, generic program of squats and lunges can strengthen the muscles that keep the knee stable and stiffen the tendons and ligaments around the joint. For starters, aim for three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions, lifting a weight that leaves you with shaky muscles and the feeling that you could have done two or three more reps if necessary.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Knee Fat And Cellulite
Optimize Your Movement Patterns
For athletes, the benefits of such preventive programs are clear. For the average person with for now no knee pain, its more debatable. Its also a philosophical question, Dr. Roos said: theres a risk of over-medicalizing life by spending all your energy trying to prevent problems that havent yet happened.
But there are some relatively unobtrusive ways of tilting the odds in your favor, even if youre currently healthy. Dr. Roos suggested focusing on high-quality movement patterns during day-to-day activities like getting up from a chair: use both feet and no hands, and keep the knee and hip aligned over the foot. Apply similar focus to climbing stairs and sitting down on the toilet if you cant keep the joints aligned, thats a sign you need to strengthen your leg and hip muscles.
Strengthening Exercises For Your Knees
Expert reviewer, Lucy Rath, Bupa Senior PhysiotherapistNext review due January 2023
Doing regular exercise of any type will always bring about benefit. Keeping your knees and surrounding muscles strong can help reduce stiffness, prevent injury in the first place and aid recovery of a current injury.
Below is a series of exercises you can try at the gym or in the comfort of your own home, to help keep your knees strong.
Remember, start slowly and only do as much as you can manage without feeling any pain. These exercises aren’t a replacement for expert advice, so please speak to your doctor or physiotherapist if you arent sure.
Recommended Reading: Dcf Compression Knee Sleeve
Knee Exercises For Runners
These knee-strengthening exercises will help with your running, strengthen the muscles around the knee and prevent knee pain.
The exercises strengthen all the muscles supporting the knee and stretch out the iliotibial band, known as the ITB, which runs down the outside of the thigh.
They can be done as part of your warm-up before a run or as a cool-down routine after a run, outside or indoors, or whenever is most convenient.
Typically, you should start to see some benefits after 2 weeks of doing these knee exercises every day.
You should not feel any pain when doing these exercises. If you do, stop immediately and seek medical advice. These exercises are not suitable for people with an existing knee injury.
Best Knee Strengthening Exercises For Seniors
If you are looking for the best knee strengthening exercises for seniors, I hope the exercises in this post will prove beneficial for you.
You might have noticed that your knees dont feel as strong and secure as they used to in your youth. You might even be suffering from acute or chronic knee pain when walking or doing activities.
The good news is that you can do a lot to improve the strength of the muscles and ligaments around your knee joint.
The bad news is that any kind of knee pain can be a symptom of something else than simple muscle weakness, so you definitely need to get a diagnosis before starting a knee strengthening routine is you have any kind of significant knee pain.
Otherwise, you run the risk of making things worse, increasing inflammation and pain in your knees. So always consult a medical professional as the first step to improve your knee health.
You May Like: Cellulite Above Knees
Stretching + Strengthening Exercises For Your Knees
Here, Bungo recommends five easy exercises to improve the strength and flexibility of your quadriceps and other muscles that support your knees:
This article originally appeared in Cleveland Clinic Mens Health Advisor.