Knee pain exercise
You’re anxious to go to your regular workout, but you’ve got knee pain. Do you power through the knee pain or skip your workout? We’ve got some advice.
Of course, the answer can change depending on what type of knee pain you have and how bad it is. Did you feel your knee give way? Is it swelling, or are you having trouble moving it? If the pain is sudden and severe, see a doctor right away so they can diagnose and treat a possible acute injury, like an ACL tear.
Has your pain been more gradual and developed slowly? You may have an overuse injury. Do you also have symptoms like stiffness, tenderness, or loss of flexibility? You may have knee osteoarthritis. Your doctor can help you get to the bottom of any persistent knee pain.
If you’re injured in any way, you should give your knee a rest. The RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) along with a HeatWrap like ThermaCare® is enough to treat most minor muscular aches. Your doctor may also recommend seeing a physical therapist or just immobilizing the knee with a brace.
As crazy as it sounds, exercise can sometimes help knee pain.
If your pain is mild or moderate and you’ve been diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis, some specific exercises may help the joint feel better. The goal is to increase the strength in your leg muscles, like your quads, and slow or stop the progression of knee osteoarthritis.
Ask your doctor if it’s safe to try the following moves:
- Do mini-squats. With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand behind a chair. Hold the top of the chair and slowly bend down just a few inches. Hold the pose for 6 seconds, making sure your knees don’t go past your toes. Tighten your glutes as you straighten your knees.
- Use a resistance band. Tie a resistance band into a figure eight with 2 loops. Sit down in a chair and put 1 loop around each ankle. With 1 foot planted on the floor, raise the other leg until it's straight and parallel to the floor. Hold that pose for 6 seconds and switch legs. After that, you can do the opposite move: With 1 foot planted on the floor, slide the other leg backward under the chair, as far as you can. Again, hold that pose for 6 seconds before switching legs.
- Work your glutes. Hold the back of your chair. With your toes on the ground the entire time, slide 1 foot back until you feel your glutes tighten. Slide it back to the starting position, then switch feet.
- Swim some laps. If you’re in pain, high-impact motions like jumping or sprinting on a hard surface are a bad idea. That doesn’t mean you have to skip your cardio. Get some laps in at a pool or try water-walking. It will get your heart rate up and challenge your muscles while keeping the pressure off your knee.
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