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TOPIC: Exercises that won't hurt knees

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April 14, 2013 6:19 PM
Hey guys,

Lately my knees have been hurting more and more. Last fall, I did a month of the program Insanity, and had to quit when my knees just started hurting too much. I went to my PC doctor who initially thought I had torn my meniscus. However, my orthopedic doctor said that wasn't the case. He said I just didn't have much cushion in the joint, which caused any bending in my knee to put more pressure on the joint than usual. He recommended giving up any high impact exercise. Prior to that issue, I was doing quite a bit of high impact exercise, including running, kickboxing, hilly bike riding, zumba, and so on. So I took the doc's advice and scaled back to doing only pilates and walking. After a while, I incorporated some occasional zumba and kickboxing back in to my routine, and didn't notice any pain for months.

Unfortunately, in the last several weeks, the pain has returned quite a bit and seems to be difficult to soothe, even with limited exercise. I would describe the feeling as just very stiff and inflamed. It hurts quite a bit when I walk up steps and do many other simple daily tasks. I also notice that the tendon or ligament that runs from my kneecap down feels swollen and rounded, not flat like the other one. I absolutely hate being limited on my exercise and really miss the more fun workouts. Can anybody recommend any exercises that would burn a decent amount of calories but would not hurt my knee, and would maybe even strengthen it? (Biking on level ground is comfortable, and is my regular weekend workout, but I need better weekday options. Also, swimming is not an access to a pool.)

Please help! Any advice is welcomed!
April 14, 2013 6:24 PM
I wear a stability band below my knee cap. Helps the pain. I have bad knees and there are days when I know I need to wear the band starting out.
April 14, 2013 6:26 PM
How about a pilates workout - Gaiam has some good ones. If you have a netflix account you could get some to try without having to invest in the dvds first. All you need is a mat.
April 14, 2013 6:27 PM
oops - totally missed that you do pilates. Doh!
April 14, 2013 6:40 PM
Sounds like you have knees like mine. Have they done an MRI? They never saw anything wrong with mine with just x-rays no matter how many times I told them it hurt (and I have a high pain tolerance so if I say it hurts, it REALLY hurts!!) until they finally did an MRI and found lo and behold, I had a lesion on the cartilage and bone rubbing on bone. So they finally did surgery for that about a year and a half ago. It's helped some but I am still not pain free and after losing almost 92 lbs. so far, my doctor had to concede that it isn't my weight causing the problem and is going with osteoarthiritis (the rheumatoid test came back negative). It doesn't hurt all the time, but everyday at some point and I still have to take painkillers which I had hoped to get off of.

Anyway, to get to your question about exercise, check out or search for fitness blender low impact at They have alot of good workouts that I can do on my knee and with what I learned from the low impact, quiet, easy on the knees workouts, I can modify some of the other ones when they include an exercise my knee won't handle. Kelli and Daniel rock and I am looking forward to getting my hernia fixed next week and getting through recovery so I can resume exercise as normal and shed these last 24 lbs! I never thought I'd say I WANTED to exercise, but I've come this far, I don't want to give up so close to my goal and exercise is the fastest way to get there!! :o) Right now I am limited to walking or cycling by the doctors so when it rains, (which is often in Northwest Oregon!!), all I can do is my knee PT (ask your doctor for a sheet of knee strengthening exercises you can do at home -- I can go longer without pain meds if I do those first thing in the morning) and the Fitness Blender Indoor Cycling workout on the stationary bike I picked up at Salvation Army when I was put on restrictions. That or do my own stationary cycling workout --I alternate for variety. Hope that helps...knee pain is no fun for sure!!
April 14, 2013 6:43 PM
My hubby realized he had this problem and had an MRI a couple week's ago. Found he's lost all the cartilidge in his knee, and if he is going to keep walking on daily basis, he's got to really limit activity. I recommend finding out for sure what's going on if you can. How about exercise ball stuff? Nike Training Center is a fun can modify exercises that require bending so that you don't, but I think you'd still get a good workout.
Edited by JoanB5 On April 14, 2013 6:43 PM
April 21, 2013 8:36 AM
Did a 5K yesterday, pretty flat. Walked a bunch after. Today we have a weather front moving in and I have 5K. My knee is sore, not terribly, but kind of grumpy. So Stability band, here we come. I will have to wear the band to do the 5K.

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