Exercising With Sore Knees

At some stage, we have all suffered from sore knees. It is an extremely common musculoskeletal issue that plagues a lot of patients that I see. It can stem from various issues such as:

  • Increased levels of physical activity.
  • Malalignment of the patella as it moves through the femoral groove.
  • Quadriceps muscle imbalance.
  • Tight anatomical structures, e.g. retinaculum or iliotibial band.

Having sore knees can be a killer when it comes to exercise as naturally we tend to avoid exercises that are uncomfortable or painful. So I have taken the liberty of putting together a small list of exercises that you can do no matter how dodgy your knees are!

1.  Partial Range Squats

  • Ensure feet are hip-width apart
  • Slowly lower yourself onto a chair or bench
  • Maintain correct knee-toe alignment
  • Raise and repeat

2. Step Ups

  • Using a small step or staircase
  • Step up on top of the step and lower yourself using the same leg
  • Alternate between sides, ensuring knee is directly over the ankle at all times.

3. Calf Raises

  • Using a chair for balance
  • Push yourself up onto your toes
  • Hold for 2-3 seconds under tension
  • Lower your heels to the ground and repeat

4. Prone Leg Raises

  • Lie on your stomach with your legs straight.
  • Tighten the muscles in your bottom and the hamstring of one leg
  • Lift your legs toward the ceiling.
  • Hold 3-5 seconds, lower and repeat.

5. Hip Abductions

  • Lie on one side with legs stacked.
  • Bend the bottom leg for support.
  • Straighten the top leg (without locking the knee), and raise it to 45 degrees.
  • Hold for 5 seconds. Lower and relax briefly

There are also a few golden rules to follow when it comes to exercising with sore knees.

  • Always make sure you perform each exercise with correct technique.
  • Never perform an action that causes pain. Maintain movement through a pain-free range of motion.
  • Never allow your knee to travel past the line of your toes. This puts an excessive amount of pressure through the knee joint.
  • Always ensure you sufficiently warm up before you exercise.
  • Avoid bending your knee beyond 90 degrees including stretching and aerobic work.

Just because your knees are sore, it does not mean that you are forever stuck doing upper body and core exercises. There are a multitude of effective exercises out there that can give a great workout whilst still allowing pain-free movement. Resistance training is also crucial for rehabilitating injuries and strengthening the musculature that surrounds the knees. This, in turn, can actually help reduce or even eliminate pain in the knees.

If you’re a little bit apprehensive of starting, or coming back to training after a knee injury (or if you have sore knees in general) then speak to any member of the Optimum team and stop being a slave to soreness!

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