How To Exercise With Bad Knees
Everyone needs exercise, but if you have sustained a knee injury, you need to learn how to exercise with bad knees. In order to avoid long-term damage, you might have to modify what you are doing (depending on how bad your knees are). Follow these suggestions on exercising with bad knees.
To learn about how to exercise with bad knees, you will need:
- A doctor's evaluation of your knees (prior to exercising)
- Access to a gym (optional)
- Get the right gear. If you have bad knees, it is very important that you wear the correct shoes for you and your sport. For example, if you are prone to knee injuries, you will probably require more cushioning to soften the impact of running. Additionally, if you are trying to play soccer in running shoes or you are trying to run in basketball shoes, you are setting yourself up for pain.
- Figure out what is wrong with your knees. "Bad knees" is not a diagnosis. Your problem might not be as bad as you think. You should see a doctor who specializes in sports medicine if you can. Often times general practitioners don't have the specialized knowledge of injuries common to athletes. Additionally, many general practitioners will give you a blanket statement to "stop" doing a given activity because it seems like a logical solution to make your pain go away, but sports medicine specialists are better equipped to help you modify your training without quitting entirely.
- Warm-up. This might sound like common sense, but too many athletes forget to warm-up and/or cool down. The American Council on Exercise says that you can prevent sports injuries, like knee osteoarthritis, by warming up properly and practicing correct form and technique in your sport.
- Stretch. Stretching will improve your performance and reduce your likelihood of injury. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends choosing stretches that can be done standing for your warm-up (since the goal of the warm-up is to increase your heart rate and prepare you for more intense exercise) and floor stretches for your cool down segment.
- Ice. Ice before your knees start to hurt. Ice after every workout if you can. You can ice as much as 15 minutes every hour.
- Consider a low impact activity. You don't see many swimmers with bad knees. If you have pain in your knees, a great way to alleviate that pain is to participate in a sport that doesn't cause it further strain. Swimming has no impact at all. The elliptical machine and biking will take the weight off of your knees, but depending on how bad your knees are, the constant bending motion of your knee might aggravate your condition.