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Knee pain = exercise plateau

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Old 05-11-2011, 04:05 AM   #1
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Default Knee pain = exercise plateau

Hi everybody!

I'm not sure this is the right forum for this (still getting used to how everything works! ), but here goes! I've been having a lot of knee pain lately which has led to an almost complete halt in exercise. I think the pain is just as a result of being overzealous and thinking that I could be a 280 pound runner (I come from a family of bad knees and every time I try to jump back into running, this happens, though usually not this bad...). However, I don't want to give up! I'm starting Atkins in a few days and getting my diet back in order again.

I was wondering, though, if anyone had any creative knee-friendly ideas for workouts/burning calories? I don't want to just sit around all day feeling bad about it, but I don't want to increase any damage that may have occurred. Has anyone had knee pain and, if so, did it decrease as you lost weight? I'm hoping if I drop some pounds the pain will follow (obviously it will not cure the problem, but it couldn't help that my knees are supporting this much on a daily basis!). I'm terrified of destroying my knees this early in life, so I'm taking this as a sign that I need to get back on track and get my weight under control before I cause MORE problems for my health and future!

Thanks for reading and thank you in advance for any knee-happy ideas you have! (Sorry if this turned into a bit of a ramble... I'm anxious about it!)

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Old 05-11-2011, 04:27 AM   #2
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You're making a great decision to save your knees early! I've struggled with knee pain since I turned 40 (10 years ago) and have had to modify exercise until I lose more weight. In fact, I had to move to a single-story house because of my knees as well. I have switched from doing weight-bearing cardio to muscle-strengthening Pilates. I love it, and my knees (and damaged shoulder) are much happier for it. I've definitely strengthened my hamstrings and inner/outer thigh muscles and tendons, all of which support the knees.

I've beed doing the Pilates for over a year, and now my instructor has me just starting to get into power walking. She's been helping me with proper alignment for managing pain during the walking too. The key is to suck in your abs, tuck in your tail bone and keep yourself in good spinal form while running. It takes some practice, but she has be doing this just 20 minutes, three times a week. After three weeks, I'm starting to do it more naturally.
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:02 AM   #3
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Hi Patrizia,

I am dealing with this exact same thing right now! My doctor diagnosed me with an IT Band injury and sent me to a physical therapist - she says that this is one of the more common injuries for runners, especially overweight runners. Funnily enough, mine didn't pop up until I had lost all this weight - I started exercising more and suddenly OUCH.

I would recommend seeing your doctor, just to make sure nothing more serious is going on. Physical therapy can be expensive - I couldn't do it without my insurance - but there are good websites that can give you exercises to do to strengthen the muscles in your thighs that will in turn strengthen your knee.

As for exercise you can do, I bike and swim or use the elliptical. They're all (swimming especially) low-impact exercises that still give you a ton of benefit. I still walk my dog a lot, and the PT says that's fine as long as it's not hurting me.

Also, both my doctor and PT recommended taking an anti-inflammatory OTC pill like ibuprofen after exercise, as well as icing the knee for 15-20 minutes to reduce swelling and inflammation.

I hope this helps!
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:53 AM   #4
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I had a chair aerobics DVD that I used to use. If you go to YouTube, there are some clips.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:09 AM   #5
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I have two bad knees as well, and as a result I have problems with the elliptical and the treadmill. However, I have NO problems on the recumbent bike, so I do that every morning.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:12 AM   #6
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Hey, we're about the same weight and I've just gotten into to running too, my knee isn't the problem but my ankle is. I'm having to mix up the exercise days with running and a little sitting down exercise. I think the main thing is to stop when it hurts otherwise you'll do yourself an injury. You can always go back to it later but not if you have a damaged knee
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:13 AM   #7
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Anything low impact will be better for you. I like workout dvd's at home. If you are on netflix you can preview some. U tube also.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:17 AM   #8
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I don't know if you have any access to a pool but my friend who has early-onset arthritis swims for low-impact on her knees
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:19 AM   #9
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Lots of great advice here! I personally, as others have, would HIGHLY suggest finding a pool somewhere, if you haven't already. I have struggled with knee pain since high school. I was diagnosed with patello-femoral syndrome my freshman year. I played TONS of sports but luckily I was young so I could work through the pain...not so much anymore. I've worked hard to strengthen my thigh muscles which helps a lot but swimming is by far and way the best exercise for someone with joint problems. It's so low impace but super at burning calories. I burn calories twice as fast swimming laps in the pool as I do on the treadmill!

Definitely see a doctor too though. It's always best to make sure there's nothing serious going on in there...

Best of luck!!
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Old 05-11-2011, 12:18 PM   #10
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I was going to suggest a recumbent bike too. I think I'm going to get one soon.
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Old 05-11-2011, 01:43 PM   #11
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my knees are fine, it's my hips that kill ! and it didn't really start til after i lost the weight which is a fine how do you do!! LOL Pool stuff has been mentioined, but I also really like exercise bands, a lot of it you can do sitting down even. Tons of vides on the youtube lol With my hips, rest vs activity doesn't matter - they hurt either way, so I just do stuff anyway, won't make it worse... but knees are a funny business, so be careful !
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Old 05-11-2011, 01:45 PM   #12
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ps. about ibuprofen -- how much do people take? Sometimes when I'm in severe pain I'll take TWO extra strength, 800 mg in total eeeek! Otherwise 3 of the 200mg. tabs, so 600 mg

will this make me dependant on it?? i don't want to be a drug addict! ack! i take the enteric coated to protect my tummy
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:28 PM   #13
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Another thing to watch out for with knee pain is the amount of resistance you use. I like to bike, but I've found that I have to keep the resistance lower than I might like in order to minimize the amount of strain on my knees. As my muscles get stronger I've been able to increase that amount some, but it's important to keep in mind that even low-impact activities like biking can lead to over-use injuries all too quickly.
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Old 05-11-2011, 05:50 PM   #14
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Personally I've found that taking glucosamine/msm (I use Move Free Advanced) has helped me quite a lot. I experience far fewer problems when I am taking it. (I stupidly slack once in a while because I get tired of taking big pills and hey my knee is feeling fine now, but then I regret it because it really only works for me when taken consistently. )

I do water aerobics three times a week out of my 5 days of cardio and love to be in the water in general. Swimming is good and if you are feeling your knee tweak while kicking, you can put a pull buoy between your legs and just use your arms to get you back and forth.

Recumbent bike and elliptical are both good non-impact exercises too if your knee is okay with them.
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Old 05-13-2011, 12:27 AM   #15
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Wow! It took me a bit too long to get back to this thread, and there have been so many great suggestions! Thank you so much!

@kaebaka - I had never considered the resistance problem! In retrospect, that may have had something to do with it! I was going to the gym 5 - 6 days a week and doing about half treadmill half elliptical. My elliptical time though was almost always at the highest resistance possible (or at least in the top 1/3rd of resistance). I think when I get back into things I'll definitely try not to overshoot my level!

I would LOVE to get back to swimming! I think I'm going to wait until August to start swimming, when I get to grad school and have a gym I can be part of for CHEAP (I'll probably also get more into recumbent bikes, hopefully!)! Until then, I think I'm going to try tiding myself over with at home suggestions (DVDS, possibly pilates, chair/resistance bands!) and see how that goes!

Thank you for all your suggestions! Hopefully they'll help me get back on track to losing weight (the exercise plateau really threw off my motivation and made me doubt this whole journey). Thanks for everything!
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