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 Post subject: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 8:46 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
So, today I went to the doctor because of knee problems I've had issues with since february. It was worse than I thought is would be, and I am not allowed to run, swim, bike or do regular yoga or anything that can put my knees in an awkward position.
My doctor recommended that I "sit in front of the TV and lift my legs a few inches every day" which uhm.. Is not really compatible with my lifestyle, as I don't own a TV. Obviously I can do it when I'm reading, but I won't be doing a lot of that until July, and I think I need a little more action, like super gentle yoga exercises so that I can just do those and not worry too much about it, and also exercise is important for my mood and to avoid migraines.

She said that I can do anything that doesn't stress the knees too much, and then I'm going for a checkup in two months and hopefully it's better then.
But do any of you know any good exercises or sites to use as a resource? I am specifically supposed to strengthen my thigh muscles, because she suspects that it's the combination of my hypermobility and a lack of muscle strength in the muscles that keep the knee joints in check.

HALP. I need inspiration and advice!


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 Post subject: Re: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 9:57 am 
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Saggy Butt
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Can you tell us any more about what caused your knee injury and your symptoms? I'm just imagining that the advice people might give for an overtraining issue would be different from an acute injury. I have quite a bit of experience with runner's knee, which in my case was caused by weak quads and tight hamstrings so it kind of sounds similar, but I really don't want to give you inappropriate advice!


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 Post subject: Re: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 10:02 am 
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Pilates might be a good option, since most of it is done on the floor. It's good for strengthening your core, and I generally notice a difference in my thighs when I'm practicing regularly.

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 Post subject: Re: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 10:17 am 
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Is it possible to see a physiotherapist? I imagine they would have some good exercises for you, and maybe a better idea of what is safe for you to be doing.

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 Post subject: Re: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 11:15 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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It's not an injury at all. It just started all of a sudden in february (I wasn't working out back then) and kept being an issue. My doctor said that hopefully it's just a matter of a specific thigh muscle that's not storing enough to keep my knee joints in place because of my hypermobility (she said it's an issue that a lot of very tall people have if they don't have big leg muscles and have hypermobility) and that I should try to do gentle exercises to train my thighs without stressing the knee - and then I have to check in again in two months, and if it's not better, I will get a physiotherapist and she'll do the more invasive tests to check for arthritis.

Mostly I just want some tips on what types of exercise people with general knee problems do. She didn't seem overly concerned with how I do the gentle exercise, besides from the leg lifts.

Ugh, I am 24 and live a healthy life and I am within the normal weight range, I really shouldn't have knee problems!


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 Post subject: Re: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 11:45 am 
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If you really aren't supposed to do ANYTHING with your knees, I would suggest an arm ergometer (i.e. handbike), but you would have to find a gym that has one and I'm not sure they are all that common. Or maybe some sort of boxing workout video that you could do seated. I would really suggest seeing a physio or getting a second opinion because low resistance biking, water walking, and other low impact aerobic exercises are rarely contraindicated for chronic knee issues.


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 Post subject: Re: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 1:11 pm 
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Saggy Butt
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Are you allowed to bend your knees if you're not doing anything weight-bearing on them? I did a lot of pilates when I was rehabbing my knees, and it did help! A lot of the leg work I did work used straight legs, or if I was bending my knees I was on my back so legs were in the air. Do you have access to a pool so you could swim? That seems like it would be ideal. Or what about yoga DVDs specifically for injury rehab or inflexible people or people with mobility issues?

If your problem is musculoskeletal and it is okayed by your practitioner, I highly recommend using a foam roller to do self-myofasical release and loosen up your quads and hamstrings to stop the pulling on your patella and the rest of your knee. My physical therapist had me start with a foam roller and it has made a massive difference. If I don't keep up with it I totally feel tightness creeping into my knee. There are lots of tutorials and YouTube videos of foam roller techniques for knees.

Sorry I don't have any resources for where you live, but look for a really dense, hard foam roller that is pretty long -- something like the largest size of this (rather than the spongier ones -- it shouldn't sag when you lie on it): http://www.performbetter.com/webapp/wcs ... 1004918_-1


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 Post subject: Re: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 2:22 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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I am allowed to do low impact biking! I just don't consider that exercise, as it's my main type of transportation ;)

The doctor just told me to avoid anything that might put my knee in an awkward position - so no high impact anything, I guess? Water walking is a good idea! I guess slow water aerobics would be okay as well! I will talk with a physio if the pain isn't gone by the end of the 2 month period - but my doctor didn't seem overly concerned for now.

I think she may be wrong about the swimming, though. I guess she must've meant no high impact swimming, because according to every single online resource I can find, regular swimming shouldn't be a problem with the knees!


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 Post subject: Re: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 4:23 pm 
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Saggy Butt
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Regarding swimming, maybe she means no breaststroke/whip kick? (Sorry, I missed the swimming limitation in your first post)


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 Post subject: Re: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 2:13 am 
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smoothie wrote:
I am allowed to do low impact biking! I just don't consider that exercise, as it's my main type of transportation ;)
!


Following my knee surgery (which discovered I didn't have minicus tear the mri showed but serious chondromalacia), I was told the same type of thing by 2 otho surgeons and a sports specialist Dr.. The surgery caused my leg muscles to totally atrophy and I couldn't do any of the exercises to rehab it without my knee blowing up with fluids and aching. I was told my days of anything other than a light short walk or very easy biking was done; however, I could swim with my legs on a kickboard using only my arms...whoopeee!. I listened to this advice for years until I saw Fat Sick and Nearly Dead: the sight of the 400+ lbs. man -- who had done his damage with diet -- running/hobbling down the street teed me off soooooo much. I felt good for him but I was really angry that my healthful lifestyle, filled with daily sports had led me to a path that I could not do what he was doing. I decided on the spot to aggressively ride my bike, start walking increasing distances and find out for myself how far I could push my leg within the realms of acceptable pain.

I bought an exercise bike and parked it in front of the TV: want to watch TV - you GOT to be riding the bike. Ice (in the morning, once during the day, and right before bed), foam roller as needed and 9 months/3500 miles later, my knee is in wicked good shape again. I spun only lowest gear at the start for fairly short periods of time and worked myself up as my leg muscled grew. I still don't really go into the hard gears because they stress the kneecap which is still soft and easily damaged; however, my leg muscles now control the patella perfect. I now ride 50+ miles at a time in mid gears and have no pain that ice doesn't take care of. If I push high gears even for a couple of turns my knee will hurt for a couple of days but there is really no reason to push hard with today's awesome gearing options on bikes.

"Easy" gear biking gets results! My leg muscles are big, very hard and defined through nothing but the type of biking your talking about mixed in with daily walks to balance the leg muscles. I can't do any weight work like squats or extensions which traditionally build those muscles. The walks started off as a mile and in 9 months have worked up to two 9 mile walks a week with 2 - 4 miles on the other days. Don't give up on easy gear biking.

Second the suggesting for physio to get a bunch of exercises that build up your quads without stressing the aggravated area. Lastly, remember that icepacks are awesome for the work out pain and hurt far less than an ibuprofen induced duodenal ulcer. Keep positive, push yourself within the realms of your present restrictions and those restrictions start to recede.

Oh yeah, I have also burned like 50,000 calories and my mood is soooooo much better than it was when I wasn't exercising.


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 Post subject: Re: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 5:30 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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I've been doing the simple leg exercises my doctor told me to do (sit on chair and lift leg a few inches, lie on my back in bed and lift stretched leg up, lie on my side and lift my stretched leg up). And then I've been paying a lot of attention to how i walk; I try to lift my knees a bit more than usual.

So far, so good! My knees have actually been hurting a lot less. Which I totally take as a confirmation that I am not getting arthritis! Yaaaay! In a few weeks, if it keeps working so well, I will definitely add in some slow, controlled water aerobics and some simple yoga exercises that don't add any weight to the knees!


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 Post subject: Re: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 8:47 am 
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I specifically chose [bikram] yoga and swimming as my exercises of choice because of my knees and the fact that they are low/no impact, yet can still be fairly rigorous. I agree with the others who have recommended talking to a physical therapist though.

And Jonny - great idea about riding the bike and watching tv. I'm going to have to think about that.


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 Post subject: Re: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:43 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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GUYS. My knees seem to be doing better already. I've been doing simple exercises almost every day, and been more aware of how I walk and they're not nearly as bad. Sometimes I will get a sharp pain for a few seconds, but nothing nearly as bad as before.
I even ordered a pair of sneakers, because I figured that the shoes I'm wearing probably aren't super good for my knees. They should be here in a week or two - yay!

Hopefully this will be nothing but a memory in a few months :)


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 Post subject: Re: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:57 pm 
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Nailed to the V
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^ Awesome. Good thing your addressing it right at the onset because taking vitamin I (Ibuprofen) and ignoring it is the worst thing you can do.


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 Post subject: Re: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:11 am 
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I joined the gym because of knee problems and it's made a big difference. My brother has the same issue (knee's are too small) and his physio recommended using the leg lift and bicycling to build the muscles up around the joint. Squats are great for that too.

If your knees are bad, avoid dance classes like Zumba, or jumping exercises. But I find doing cycling and weight classes really helps :)

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 Post subject: Re: exercise with knee problems - HALP
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 6:24 pm 
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mandycoot wrote:
Are you allowed to bend your knees if you're not doing anything weight-bearing on them? I did a lot of pilates when I was rehabbing my knees, and it did help! A lot of the leg work I did work used straight legs, or if I was bending my knees I was on my back so legs were in the air. Do you have access to a pool so you could swim? That seems like it would be ideal. Or what about yoga DVDs specifically for injury rehab or inflexible people or people with mobility issues?

If your problem is musculoskeletal and it is okayed by your practitioner, I highly recommend using a foam roller to do self-myofasical release and loosen up your quads and hamstrings to stop the pulling on your patella and the rest of your knee. My physical therapist had me start with a foam roller and it has made a massive difference. If I don't keep up with it I totally feel tightness creeping into my knee. There are lots of tutorials and YouTube videos of foam roller techniques for knees.

Sorry I don't have any resources for where you live, but look for a really dense, hard foam roller that is pretty long -- something like the largest size of this (rather than the spongier ones -- it shouldn't sag when you lie on it): http://www.performbetter.com/webapp/wcs ... 1004918_-1


Thanks for this, this seems super helpful for me at the moment. I dislocated my knee about 3-4 weeks ago and fractured the patella, so at the moment I'm in a full leg Zimmer splint. Things seem to be healing pretty well but my quad muscle is pretty forked. An MRI showed no major damage, but it's super tight and it stops me from being able to move the joint much (my doctor has cleared me to bend the knee in the splint, within a 30 degree range). I'm back at the hospital for a follow up this afternoon, and I'm planning to talk to them about when I should start seeing a physio, but it's good to know what some likely options are in the meantime! I usually run about four times per week, and do Body Pump, core classes and power yoga so I've been super frustrated just sitting on my couch watching Netflix.

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