Hurt Knee but Want to Excercise

Updated on April 20, 2010
J.B. asks from Marrero, LA
18 answers

Hey moms,
Well I am hoping some of you fitness people can give me some insight. I had my second child three months ago and started exercising about two months ago. I have lost about 20lbs so I really want to keep it up but it seems I have hurt my knee. It is swollen and hurting especially if I try to do squats or lunges which is huge part of my regimen. Even my hubby, who bless him, tends to minimize anything like an injury etc, says it is swollen and I need to take care. I really don't want to lose the ground I have gained with my weight loss, plus I still have like 50lbs to go! I think that may be why I did hurt myself bc I am so heavy and trying to exercise. So what can I do? I have a newborn and a preschooler so I really need something that works at home. Should I just try like yoga or pilates for a while? How long do I let it rest? When should I see a dr about it? Any insight or ideas would be really welcomed. Thanks!

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answers from State College on

RICE-Rest, ice, compression and elevation are 4 of the things that will help it heal. I would avoid lunges or anything that really bends it for at least a week and see how it is feeling then.It may take a couple of weeks to heal and you may want a little compression knee brace for a few weeks, depending on what you did to it just to help stabilize the knee. If the swelling is gone and it doesn't hurt to walk you could do that after a couple of days and some stretching, but I wouldn't do anything that puts much strain on it for about a week or longer. If the swelling doesn't go down in 24-48 hours or it hurts to walk, etc I would check with your dr. Yogo or pilates would be good and will help with toning too. Great job with your weight loss so far and hope you have a speedy recovery!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I agree with Denise. I would also advise that you see a chiropractor, but be careful to get a referral to a good one.
As a personal trainer, I see people doing squats and lunges incorrectly all the time and that may be what caused the problem. When you are doing them, make sure your knees stay directly above your ankles. Don't let them come forward. I think WebMD has some photos that show correct posture.
When you are better, try to find a place where you can use a recumbant bike to get the knee back in shape. You can get a stability ball and do aerobic exercises on it without stressing your knee.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I wouldn't do yoga or pilates "for awhile", I would do them forever.
Your injury may have been aggravated by your weight, but you were probably doing your lunges wrong.
Guess what? You do lunges in yoga. And, they will teach you how to do them correctly. Also, if you have a knee injury, yoga instructors are fully qualified to give your body the work it needs without aggravating your injury, therefore you still lose weight and gain tools to be more self- and body-aware

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi J.,

I'm not a mom, but my wife is pretty active, and is about to give birth to our 2nd child. We're both gym rats - my wife more so than me, but one suggestion i would make is check with your doctor, and get some rest. Once you're are ready try hopping on an elliptical machine try what they call high impact interval training. If you're not familiar it works like this you start with a short warm up period, then for each minute you are on go as fast/hard as you can go for 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds, and repeat for about 20 minutes.

You'll burn a lot of calories, and you wont have to work out as long. Plus, the elliptical is easier on your knees. Then once you're ready you can ease back into the weights, and really tone up.

Good Luck!!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Big clue: lunges and squats are a huge part of your workout, per your comment.

For someone trying to lose weight, those exercises should be a very MINIMAL part of your workout. Lunges and squats---large numbers of them are for the really, really fit or the body builder types.

That's what your knees have been saying.

Ice the knees to get rid of swelling, take some anti-inflammatory meds for a week or so.

Do yoga, Pilates, walk, swim, or water aerobics is great!!!! Elliptical is good---running would not be.
I am disagreeing with another post who said spinning is easy on knees. I am a spin instructor and your bike must be set up 100% correctly for it to not bothered hurting knees.

A balanced work-out is best for everyone---little cardio, some weights, some yoga, some swimming.....Do yoga or Pilates with an instructor who can give you modifications for your knees.

(certified swim coach, spinning, weight training, and yoga instructor)

Someone after me said no swimming for hurt kness. this is incorrect. you can swim if your knees are swollen---just don't do breastroke---and most people don't know the breastroke kick anyway, so swim crawl stroke or freestyle.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I would go see a doctor and have the knee checked out. It could be something minor that will go away in a few days, or you could have a serious injury.

For the next week, as far as the excerise goes, just concentrate on upper body. You could use weight and do arm excercises, you could do sit ups, or possibly leg lifts.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

If you don't take care of your knee now you will lose ground permanently. The knee will get worse and you will be forced to quit working out permanently. Pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong. See a doctor. If the pain becomes chronic, then look at something such as Pilates. But take care of the knee first.



answers from San Antonio on

I agree with Denise that told you about RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). If you continue to have trouble with your knee you may need to see your doctor. Have your doctor write you a referral to a Physical Therapist. They will be able to help you so you can heal while still doing strengthening exercises. They will teach you how to prevent re-injuring your knee, as well. I recommend Texas Physical Therapy Specialists their PT's have doctorate degrees and really know what they're doing. They helped me get back to running after I developed a painful hip bursitis.

You can still exercise it just needs to be low impact like pilates. Just be aware that if you're not burning as many calories you need to reduce your intake a little to still continue with your weight loss. Keep it up; you're on your way!



answers from Minneapolis on

I was going to recommend yoga, but you may want to talk with an instructor about modifications you can do for your knee. I think the advice to rest is great, but I think you could adapt some yoga poses so you can keep up the momentum without causing further strain on your injury.


answers from Killeen on

Knee injuries are very serious. If you push yourself further while there's still swelling and pain, you could end up damaging it further.

Case in point. I damaged my knee doing jumping jacks of all things, and here, two years later, I'm FINALLY cleared to start working out again. Short walks or treadmill only, upper body workouts, and absolutely nothing that will put strain on my knee.

Considering it can pop out and put me back where I started, from something as simple as walking to the bathroom, I take it very seriously.

You should see a doctor now, to make sure you haven't done some serious damage. Ice, elevation, and motrin are helpful, but a professional opinion is best.



answers from Tulsa on

I would suggest a warm epsom salt bath. if that doesn't help you may need a doc. wear a knee brace and cut everything down by half. this is what they tell weight lifters. if you stop you have to start all over but for a weight lifter they say reduce until it gets better and slowly work your way back up to where you were.



answers from Victoria on

i would give it a week before going to the doctor. you can do sit ups and arm exercises in the mean time. work on toning. it will help once you start really exercising again.also you did not say how you hurt your knee. when your doing lunges and squats make sure your knee dosent go past your toes. the knee should be above the foot just as if you were standing. be careful. i am in the same er chubby race as you ...but i have more than that too loose :)



answers from Austin on

One of my favorite exercises when my kids were babies was sit-ups with my legs at a right angle and off the ground. My calves were parallel to the floor. I would put my baby on his or her stomach on the top of my calves, looking at me as I held their hands. They would smile as I would blow into their face with each sit-up.

To ensure that your squats are being done correctly (after you heal), put a chair behind you and lean back to sit barely on the edge and then stand up. I would avoid lunges for now. Swimming is great if you can get to a pool.

Do not put heat on your knee until all swelling is gone. Ice is best.

To keep up your cardio, google "sitting aerobics" and you will find all kinds of great exercises.

Congratulations on losing so much weight. Keep it up!



answers from Austin on

Don't push it. If you have swelling, you certainly don't want to strain it more. If it's still swollen after a few days, you should go to the doctor. Do what you can with a hurt knee (push ups...if they don't hurt). Even push-ups up against a wall or countertop are good. They work MANY different muscles. Don't feel bad about laying of the cardio. Do the push-ups. Various crunches on the floor, etc. Try to do at least 3 sets of 10. More, if you can. It will work you out more than you know. When you work your muscles, you are burning more calories than you think. Just because you don't work up a sweat doesn't mean you aren't burning calories! Swimming is good, but I'm not sure you should be doing much with that knee right now. Swimming might not even be a good idea. As disappointing as it is, it's best that you lay off completely until you are healed. Don't push it or you might injure it more and be out for a very long time.



answers from Austin on

Try swimming or cycling. Spin class burns tons of calories and is easy on the joints!!



answers from Chicago on

You should take it easy for a few days, otherwise you are going to aggravate the injury. Focus on walking and no weight bearing exercises such as squats or lunges. Good luck.



answers from Austin on

J. B.

I also have problems with my knee. I cannot due lunges because my right knee hurts me so bad. Squats aren't so bad, but I struggle with my right knee.

My trainer gives me alternative exercises to do. For example I use the elliptical for cardio and when I work on the treadmill I put it at a higher incline and more resistance to get a better calorie burn. Also, try riding a recumbent bike, it is not as stressful on your knees.

Hope this helps.

C. B.

SAHM trying to lose weight, but it is a day to day struggle.



answers from San Antonio on

Do you go to a gym? At my gym there is a machine like a stationary bike, but you use your arms to pedal it. It gives you a great upper body and cardio work out. Also, just grab a couple of dumbells (heavy as you can take) and start lifting weights. Building muscle will really help to increase metabolism. You also need to walk. Walking us the best excercise there is for your whole body (unless you have access to a pool, then swim !)If your knee is too painful to walk, you need to see a doctor. Lunges are the devil. I am very fit and cannot do them due to an old knee injury. Don't do lunges! Yoga is great too. Listen to your body and you should be fine.

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