Unfortunately, not all exercises will help relieve knee pain. As a matter of fact, some exercises may aggravate your condition. Here are some guidelines to follow:
1. Cycling or using an Elliptical exercise machine are the best options to help relieve knee pain.
Walking, cycling, and swimming will all help relieve mild osteoarthritis pain, and stiffness in the knees. However, my favorite ways to achieve knee restoration and maintain knee health are cycling or using an elliptical exercise machine. Both provide a good knee and leg muscle workout while keeping the knee within its permitted range of motion. This provides for the thigh muscles to get strengthened without wearing down the cartilage in the knee joint. Cycling can be accomplished with either a bicycle, a bicycle-like exercise machine, or a recumbent bike.
Start by cycling, or using the elliptical, for 5 minutes daily for one week, and every week thereafter increase your time by 5 minutes until you reach 20 minutes. If your machine has variable resistance, use the lower settings initially, and build up slowly. If cycling, make sure that the seat on the bike is adjusted properly so that you don’t further injure your knee joints.
2. Exercise done correctly should not cause any knee pain.
If you are experiencing any knee pain during or after exercise, STOP! Pain while exercising is a warning that you are about to cause injury. If you stop at the onset of pain, you will prevent any injury. Please remember there is a significant difference between PAIN and soreness. Experiencing muscle soreness after exercising is normal and is a good thing! It means you’re actually using and working out the muscles!!
3. If weight lifting, use low weight, and more repetitions.
If you’re doing leg extensions or leg curls at the gym make sure that you are using very light weight and completing more repetitions. When performing a leg extension, you should never stretch out the knee completely. Rather, you should stop the extension just before the leg becomes fully extended, so the joint never locks.
4. Avoid doing squats and lunges.
Individuals with mild to severe osteoarthritis, or those recovering from knee injury, should not be doing squats or lunges- it puts far too much strain on the knee cap and supportive ligaments.
5. Avoid exercises that force the knee joint to ‘twist’.
During rehabilitation from a knee injury or in cases of severe arthritis, activities where an individual is planting their foot on the ground, and twisting their upper body, should be avoided. This type of movement will aggravate an arthritic knee and may cause meniscus or cartilage tears in the knee. Individuals who experience knee pain while playing golf or tennis, which twists the knees, should discontinue until the joint can be evaluated and appropriate treatment, such as acupuncture or prolotherapy, is instituted.
Exercise is necessary for knee rehabilitation. By following the above tips, knees can recover quickly and completely!