How to strengthen bad knees

Shadow87
Shadow87 Posts: 27 Member
I'm trying my hardest to lose weight, but my biggest obstacle every time is my 2 bad knees (I have Patellar Tendonitis in both). I know a lot of people recommend water aerobics but aside from lack of confidence, I'm also terrified of being in the water (to the point where its not uncommon for me to have panic attacks in the shower, which majorly sucks). I try doing modified squats but I feel like the pain kicks in to early and I don't get much out of them. I also walk the dogs 2-3 times a week but don't want to over do it as that's caused a flare up in the past. I love Yoga, but at the moment most of the moves seem to be killer on my poor knees. I really want to lose the weight this time (not only cause I know it will help the pain, but I'm tired of being 70 lbs overweight as well). Any recommendations for things to do/try to help strengthen the leg muscles and tone up? Especially things that can be done at home as I'm a bit to poor to go to the gym at the moment so limited on equipment I can use.

Replies

  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,728 Member
    What does your PT say?

  • Barbs2222
    Barbs2222 Posts: 433 Member
    edited May 2018
    I'm not really answering your question about knees because I don't know, but I wanted to give you encouragement on losing the weight. I lost 40 pounds while being a complete couch potato. I just stuck to the 1200 calories and I lost about a half pound a week. I weighed daily so the fluctuations didn't bother me. I like one big meal and it worked. Maybe do a search in you tube for some exercises? Good luck!!! :smiley:
  • 0ysterboy
    0ysterboy Posts: 192 Member
    Strengthening your knees might be a tough task as your problem is more likely tendon/ligament issues rather than muscle weakness. I second what stanmann said, talk to a physical therapist.
  • mutantspicy
    mutantspicy Posts: 624 Member
    Yoga while fairly non intense, can be hard on the joints for a beginner so be patient careful and kind to yourself, remember you trying become stronger not further any injuries. That said, I'm not really a fan of cardio machines but your situation maybe a perfect candidate for the elliptical machine most people say those are really easy on the joints. At least until you strengthen up a bit and lose a little weight. The weight loss itself will help your knees obviously.
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,728 Member
    If you can't afford a PT, there are some fairly good books on the subject. I found Bulletproofing your knees to be consistent with the guidance from my PT. But every knee is different. and the causes of knee pain can be anywhere between the ankles and the ribcage.
  • SonyaCele
    SonyaCele Posts: 2,841 Member
    you might have luck using the TRX for some leg exercises. Its much easier on the knees for things like squats. I have bad knees and i wear tight compression knee sleeves and they make all the difference in the world for my knees.
  • demorelli
    demorelli Posts: 508 Member
    I used to have problems with my knees, they would pop while I exercised and then hurt like crazy for a couple days after. I went to the campus clinic for advice and what they said was to use elastic knee braces and if an exercise was still too hard on them, to step out of class and do low intensity cycling. The first semester I did a lot of cycling, especially when the class did any type of squats or lunges. The second semester I took a class that the teacher's favorite activity was stair running. I put on my elastic braces every time and it helped keep the stress off my knees. By the end of the semester I could do almost 100 flights of stairs without the braces. They gave me the support I needed to build up my weak knees.
  • Shadow87
    Shadow87 Posts: 27 Member
    What does your PT say?

    unfortunately I only work part time so don't have insurance to go see a PT, and the ones around where I live are way to expensive to visit without insurance (and barely affordable WITH it). I do some of the exercise I remember from a visit a few years ago, but they've never seemed to help. My doc said the biggest help will be losing the weight, but hard to lose weight when knee makes you not want to do anything. This time around I'm trying to focus more on diet changes, but still incorporate exercise (and trying my hardest not to let myself come up with excuses), but want to make sure I don't so anything that will be more harmful than beneficial. And I'm the first to admit I know almost next to nothing about exercising at home without following a dvd of some kind...

    The braces sound like a really good idea, I'll have to give them a shot if I can find any that fit :D
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,728 Member
    Shadow87 wrote: »
    What does your PT say?

    unfortunately I only work part time so don't have insurance to go see a PT, and the ones around where I live are way to expensive to visit without insurance (and barely affordable WITH it). I do some of the exercise I remember from a visit a few years ago, but they've never seemed to help. My doc said the biggest help will be losing the weight, but hard to lose weight when knee makes you not want to do anything. This time around I'm trying to focus more on diet changes, but still incorporate exercise (and trying my hardest not to let myself come up with excuses), but want to make sure I don't so anything that will be more harmful than beneficial. And I'm the first to admit I know almost next to nothing about exercising at home without following a dvd of some kind...

    The braces sound like a really good idea, I'll have to give them a shot if I can find any that fit :D

    Limit the use of the braces. And use the lightest weight ones you can that provide comfortable compression and support.

    They can help, or they can mask a minor injury and allow it to progress to major.
  • HoneyBadger302
    HoneyBadger302 Posts: 1,909 Member
    I would recommend a lot of balance work - for my knees, that really is key to keeping them strong and relatively pain free. If I stop with the balance work, I can tell after only a few months! Those stabilizer muscles are the key for me, BUT, my problem is different - torn meniscus in both. Not bad enough to need surgery, but enough that if I don't keep up with stuff, I KNOW it. I am prone to tendonitis in general, but AFAIK, it's never cropped up in my knees.
  • Azdak
    Azdak Posts: 8,281 Member
    I would go back to the basics.
    You can start with straight leg lifts https://www.verywellhealth.com/quad-strengthening-exercises-2696617
    Not exciting, but something almost anyone can do.

    Wall squats—a little easier if you have a ball to put behind your back, but can be done w/out
    Put your feet in front of you so that when you squat the knees don’t go forward. https://www.verywellhealth.com/wall-squat-instructions-296701
    Stay above the pain threshold—even if that mean you only go down a few inches

    Leg press with bands — try YouTube for video.

    Glute raises—start with two legs, progress to single leg. Weak glutes play a big role in patellar tendinitis
    If you have a band you can also try side steps and monster walks

    This may be too advanced, so I wouldn’t try it right away, but eccentric loading can sometimes help:
    https://youtu.be/Zxup9yKHOfo

    As usual, start at the lightest load you can tolerate and do not “work through” pain.
    These exercises should be pretty benign so, even if they don’t work, they shouldn’t do any harm either.
  • fittocycle
    fittocycle Posts: 821 Member
    Can you do any type of cycling? Riding a bike tends to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee. Just be sure and try to avoid big hills when riding outside or heavy tension on a stationary bike, at least until you get stronger.

    It sounds strange but my chiropractor did an adjustment on my knee yesterday and now it feels great. It had been hurting whenever I walked but the adjustment seems to have taken care of the issue!
  • rybo
    rybo Posts: 5,425 Member
    If you have patellar tendonitis, that is a long recovery for most. I'm battling it myself, there are a lot exercises you can google. Most of them take the range of motion just to the point of pain and then stop. Presumably over time you keep increasing that ROM as the tendon heals. Even using instagram you can find some good information from PT's about exercises to try, and how to properly perform them. Good luck.
  • bikecheryl
    bikecheryl Posts: 1,430 Member
    I’m scheduled for a double knee replacement later this year so I understand knee pain.
    I’d also suggest cycling. That and stretching and strengthening exercises have helped immensely.
    Oh and weight loss too.
  • CarvedTones
    CarvedTones Posts: 2,340 Member
    Repetitive bends of more than just a few degrees are what do me in. Even cycling or knee bends with my hands on a stool so that I am not putting much weight on my knees. I can go all the way down and back up fully loaded a couple of times and be fine if I don't keep doing it. Going from kneeling to standing and visa versa on a SUP is no problem, but I only do that once every few minutes.