Anyone know of any good exercises for someone with a bum knee?

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Joined: Jan 08
Posts: 19

Posted: 09 Jun 2009, 13:33
A few years back, I had my left ACL(anterior cruciate ligament) replaced with my hamstring. I had completely disrupted it during running when I was in the Navy. It was a nasty surgery and horrible recovery. I have screws still in my knee, which make it unbearable for me to kneel on it, squat, or do things that would cause it to be loosened up while exercising, like kicking my leg out, etc. My meniscus is also nonexistant because of the injury. Anyway, I always try to find exercises to do at home, but most involve doing things that would put my knee in compromising situations, or painful ones, so I usually skip it. I'm looking to find something where I can be consistent and do it a lot. Something kind of aerobic or something for my legs. My left leg looks retarded now because the muscle has atrophied to the point where my leg looks smaller, but has more fat on it than my right leg. I want to do something to strengthen it other than walking. Anyone have any ideas or suggestions? ANYTHING would be appreciated! Thanks and hope you all are having a wonderful day! Smile

Joined: May 09
Posts: 18

Posted: 10 Jun 2009, 07:33
I think you should see a physical therapist who will recommend safe exercises to help you get a work out and help your knee recover. I have an ankle problem that prevents me from walking, running, or cycling. Those are the activities I relied on for years to help manage my weight and fitness. I had to find something else.

I started swimming every other day and lifting weights. Neither of these hurt my ankle. I understand that a pool is not available to everyone. Weight lifting, at least for your upper body, might be a possibility for you. But before doing any leg exercises, you should see a PT.

You probably already know this, but I thought I'd add my thoughts.

Good luck.

Joined: Jun 09
Posts: 1

Posted: 10 Jun 2009, 07:42
I have an exercise DVD called "Jodi Stolove's Chair Dancing". The whole thing is done sitting down. I know she has at least 5 different ones and there are ones from other trainers also. I got mine from QVC, but have seen several on-line. My local library carries quite a few, too. They really give you a good work-out.

Joined: Jan 08
Posts: 19

Posted: 19 Jun 2009, 12:14
thanks for the input guys! i think i will talk to my doc, or just keep walking but not overdoing it. thanks again!

Joined: Jan 09
Posts: 86

Posted: 21 Jun 2009, 06:51
Hi Navy chick... My hubby had acl recon about 10 years also and it went poorly also. He has alot of arthritis and swelling still. However he can swim and use the eliptical with little to no problem with his knee. Dont know if that will work for you since everyone is different but swimming helped him the most. Erin

Joined: Apr 09
Posts: 440

Posted: 21 Jun 2009, 08:12
I also have a reconstructed ACL, with a follow-up arthoscopic surgery to remove torn meniscus. Actually, I think HAD is the better word. LAst time I went to a dr he said the reconstructed ligament was tearing.

Anyway, I'd been going to pilates for months. We built up, gently, a lot of strength in my hamstrings (esp on the bad knee side). I was feeling good and strong so I started doing a program that included squats and interval training. My knee's verdict: WRONG!!! I wasn't even using weights but it KILLED my knee. It's all wobbly and I feel just like I did before my surgery. Sad

Anyway, I'm rediscovering an old exercise I used a few years ago called callanetics. It's super super gentle on your knees and back. And it totally works. It's not the most exciting, but it does work and it is gentle. Pilates is another option. It was designed for soldiers who'd been injured in world war I--joseph pilates made up a way for the men to exercise from their beds despite their injuries.

You CAN work out safely and effectively with a bad knee. In addition to walking, you will want to do some strength training for that injured leg (whether it be pilates or something else non-weight baring). If you don't, trust me, that bad knee side will lose more and more muscle and the leg will become weaker.

Then, your body will be thrown out of whack bc your other side will start to overcompensate and you WILL most definitely start to experience hip, back and shoulder issues. BEEN THERE, DONE THAT.

The thing no one tells you is it's not just about the post-op rehab--it's a lifelong struggle to keep that injured leg as strong as your non-injured leg. Still now, after months of working on this issue, my injured leg is smaller than my non-injured leg. As you have discovered, it's VERY hard to keep the muscle where it needs to be because you can't help but favor that leg.

Talk to a physical therapist about some safe exercises to keep the strength on your "bad" side. If that's not an option, there are many website, especially ones for runners, that talk about safe non weight-baring ways to gently build strength in your hamstring/quads on your injured side.

Here's one great low-impact way to build strength on your injured leg. (A pilates instructor who helps rehab runners with knee injuries showed this to me.)

Try with two legs, but you'll want to use one leg (if you can, if not--build strength first and then focus on injured leg) to get that muscle back. You can do it. This IS fixable if you put in the work.
Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.

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