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View Full Version : Best leg exercises for bad knees?


lukenick1
02-16-2011, 10:25 AM
I was told by my doctor that I have no quad muscles and if I want to have no pain walking up stairs then i best build my quads. Can anyone recommend a good exercise that builds quad muscle. I cannot do eliptical trainer, squats or lunges. Those just hurt my knees.
Anyone?

Shleedogg
02-16-2011, 11:27 AM
I'm not a personal trainer, so take what I say w/ a grain of salt. I have bad knees too, my knee caps are turned out and have no cartilage between them and the bone thanks to 15 yrs of improper ballet turn out. The stronger my quads are, the more supported my knee caps are and more in place they are = less pain.

In my experience it's a no pain, no gain sort of situation. I don't think there is any way to work your quads w/out bending and putting weight on your knees. I think your best bet is a gym machine. There's one (I don't know the name) where you sit and push your legs straight out. It should be less stress than a squat or lunge because you can control the amount of weight you're lifting and gradually build up as your quads get stronger; starting with only 5-10 lbs. With squats and lunges, you're lifting your full body weight right off the bat.

My other thought is doing a basic ballet bar routine. You can probably find videos on youtube. A demi plea is going to be less stress on your knees than a squat/lunge because you're not going as close to the floor. Just avoid the grande plea. The American Ballet Academy put out a great workout video, it's on Netflix.

Swimalie
02-16-2011, 12:57 PM
I had a bad right knee since I was born with my knee out of alignment. I swam anyway but with pain. Luckily, I found a great ortho (Atlanta Falcon's ortho) and he fixed the knee. Right before the surgery, my quad atrophied from the knee being so bad so I've been through the worst.And in the mean time, I had exercises that I had to do when the pain got bad.

Lie flat on your back and just lift your leg straight in to the air. Go about 12 inches off the ground. Do this multiple times a day and work up to about 20 reps at a time.. This will strengthen your quad and let it reattach to your knee cap.

Also, turn your toes out to one side, put a rolled up town under your knee and raise just from your knee to your foot off the ground. This strengthens the inner muscle, which is hard to do with any machine or other exercise. Again, do this several times a day and work up to about 20 reps at a time.

Once your quad is stronger, then you can start doing more "true" exercising. But as long as the quad is weak, the knee will continue to hurt.

Swmr359
02-16-2011, 04:42 PM
Swimming shouldn't bother your knee too much (just stay away from breaststroke and elem. backstroke) Grab a kickboard and start kicking freestyle kick; kicking from your hips not your knees.

My dad says a rowing machine is good if you have knee pain...(I'm not sure how much I belive him on that one though)

Do you have a gym near you? You might think about buying a few personal training sessions to learn how to do exercises that will help but not hurt your knees.

poohsdoodle
02-16-2011, 04:49 PM
I has surgery in Jun '10 to replace my kneecap due to no cartilage behind the knee. Riding a stationary or recumbunt (sp) bike helps me. I'm still working on rebuilding my quad strength. The goal is to wear high heels and walk those many, many miles when visiting Disney in April!

Hope this helps a little.

n2mm
02-16-2011, 04:50 PM
Why not have your doctor recommend some PT so that you can learn some exercises to do and the proper way to do them. I've done PT several times for back issues and find the excercises I learn to be helpful still today and it's been over 5 years since I was in PT.

robinb
02-16-2011, 04:54 PM
I was told by my doctor that I have no quad muscles and if I want to have no pain walking up stairs then i best build my quads. Can anyone recommend a good exercise that builds quad muscle. I cannot do eliptical trainer, squats or lunges. Those just hurt my knees.
Anyone?See a physical therapist and they will give you exercises to help with your knee. You don't need to go to a gym or use any fancy equipment and I have to disagree with the "no pain no gain" approach. If your quad muscles are very weak you will need to strengthen them slowly and safely.

jemmouse
02-16-2011, 04:59 PM
I am in PT right now for knee issues as well. I have no muscles in my quad which then doesnt help the knee. I also have a bursa behind my knee. They have told me walking is GREAT, but NO bike or eliptical anything that would put more stress on knee right now isnt good. In time when you build that muscle that would be fine but FIRST thing you and I both NEED a muscle. I lay on my side lift knee in air, i also sit down hug one knee while lifting the other leg in air. SOunds so simple but when I tried it I saw first hand how weak my legs are. Look up quad exercises for BAD knees. Remember to ICE and take Advil if needed for swelling. BUT my best advice is if you can get to a PT try. Even if no insurance try to go at least once to learn the proper exercises. Nothing like being in pain...GOOD LUCK!!!! Maybe one day we will be the ones jogging around Disney, POSITIVE ATTITUDE I found also helps...:cool1:

shortbun
02-17-2011, 12:11 AM
I use a warm pool and do lots of great excersizes for strengthening my muscles.

lukenick1
02-17-2011, 06:53 AM
I had a bad right knee since I was born with my knee out of alignment. I swam anyway but with pain. Luckily, I found a great ortho (Atlanta Falcon's ortho) and he fixed the knee. Right before the surgery, my quad atrophied from the knee being so bad so I've been through the worst.And in the mean time, I had exercises that I had to do when the pain got bad.

Lie flat on your back and just lift your leg straight in to the air. Go about 12 inches off the ground. Do this multiple times a day and work up to about 20 reps at a time.. This will strengthen your quad and let it reattach to your knee cap.

Also, turn your toes out to one side, put a rolled up town under your knee and raise just from your knee to your foot off the ground. This strengthens the inner muscle, which is hard to do with any machine or other exercise. Again, do this several times a day and work up to about 20 reps at a time.

Once your quad is stronger, then you can start doing more "true" exercising. But as long as the quad is weak, the knee will continue to hurt.

Wow.....i tried this exercise and definitely felt the burn! Thanks for the easy exercise, I was able to do it in my comfy bed. Who knew?? lol

sillybeans22
02-17-2011, 08:15 AM
I also have terrible knees....torn ligaments in one and arthritis in both caused by lyme disease. I purchased a Pilates machine a few years ago and I absolutely love it!! I work out on it 4 times a week and have no knee pain. Your local gym may have one that you can try to see if you like it. I can't say enough about it.

Swimalie
02-17-2011, 08:57 AM
Wow.....i tried this exercise and definitely felt the burn! Thanks for the easy exercise, I was able to do it in my comfy bed. Who knew?? lol

I'm glad it helped. I've been doing the leg lifts off and on for probably 25 years now. Simple and effective and best of all, no gym required so budget :)

MsRem
02-17-2011, 10:38 AM
I'm glad it helped. I've been doing the leg lifts off and on for probably 25 years now. Simple and effective and best of all, no gym required so budget :)

Yep, straight leg raises are the best option. Its what we would recommend to all of our patients in orthopedics.

lukenick1
02-17-2011, 01:36 PM
Just to get this straight......I don't have a knee injury or anything like that. Just weak legs which cause me intermittent pain in my knees when walking up or down stairs. I will be walking up and I will get this sharp pain in my knee and it will make my knee give in. Doesn't happen all the time, seems like i am stepping on my foot wrong and its triggered. I also get the pain when squatting down sometimes, and using an elliptical machine when i used to go to the gym. I can dance no problem so I have been trying to do Zumba or cardio exercises from On Demand. :cheer2:

Epcot Mom
02-17-2011, 05:52 PM
I am recovering from a micro-fracture of my knee cap last August. I was in pt for six months before and after the surgery. Straight leg raises (40 reps) on all four sides (stomach, back, left and right side) with your quad flexed (as much as it will flex when you're starting were something I was told to do before and after my surgery. Also, simply a quad flex with your leg straight in front of you, holding for a few seconds, for 40 reps. Stand on just the bad leg, with the leg straight and simply balance will also strengthen the quad without taxing the knee since it's straight. These were the backbones of my pt and worked well. I also suggest going to actual pt, they did wonders for me. Find someone who specializes in knees, I went with a sports rehab place and they were great! Good luck!