Everyday activities and exercise can prove painful or near impossible when you have a knee injury, so no-impact or low-impact exercise is best.
Below are some common exercises you can do even if you have bad knees, as well as a helpful dietary tip to speed your healing along.
Exercise and Vitamin C
People struggling with knee pain brought on by knee injuries and overuse should concentrate on exercises that are easy on the joints, slower and with smaller range of motion than usual. This way the knee can heal better, and you won’t exacerbate the pain as much. To help in the healing process and to reduce inflammation, eating foods rich in vitamin C will help quite a bit.
Vitamin C is rich in antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory, meaning that whatever free radicals are floating around in the joints and in the blood and are causing inflammation, pain and swelling will be obliterated. Vitamin C will help the body to repair the damage to bones and cartilage. High on the list for vitamin C-rich foods are citrus fruits and dark green, leafy vegetables.
Exercise #1: Walking
Provided that you are able to walk, this is one of the best exercises you can do to strengthen your legs, knees and your body frame overall. It is very low impact and you can definitely go at your own pace. You can start with 15 minutes a day and then gradually bump up to at least 30 minutes a day.
You will want to wear comfortable, supportive walking shoes and loose-fitting clothing. Be sure to walk on soft surfaces like level grass or dirt, or use a treadmill, to absorb shock and protect your knee joints. The added bonus with walking is that as it becomes a habit, you’ll start to lose weight which will take more stress off of your knees.
Exercise #2: Stationary Cycling
Using a stationary or recumbent bicycle is also low impact and puts barely any pressure on the knees. You must make sure, though, that your pedals and seat are adjusted so that your legs are not hyper-extended or ever in a straight position.
Instead, make sure that knees remain slightly bent and you are able to move in a moderate, fluid motion. Cycling will strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings, as well as the knees; which is great since these are the larger muscles that support the knee. Again, 15-30 minutes daily on the stationary bike is a good practice.
Exercise #3: Water Aerobics
Water aerobics cover a wide range of movements, but they’re all done in the water. The water acts like a force of resistance just as if you were doing weight training, but with shock absorption and the low impact you need to protect your joints. A swimming pool is generally a safe place for you to do exercise and swim to tone and strengthen your muscles without damaging your already sensitive knees.
Always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen, especially when you have a physical injury.