Ask the Doctor | Good Exercise Options for People with “Bad Knees”

Ask the Doctor | Good Exercise Options for People with “Bad Knees”

Having “bad knees” is a common complaint for patients of all ages. But there are many reasons for knee pain no matter how old you are, and seeing a doctor is certainly recommended to diagnose the cause. While proper treatment is crucial to motility, remaining in an active lifestyle is equally an important pursuit to help ensure longevity of your overall health. In fact, exercise can help stabilize the knee and alleviate some pain issues born of stiffness or due to lack of activity, but exercise can also aid in warding off major health problems such as cardiovascular disease and even cancer.

Of course, the best exercises for knees certainly depend on the source of individual pain, but in general, there are some low impact options that are kinder to compromised knees that can keep you active while you continue to manage or treat your knee pain.

  • Walking for low impact. If arthritis is causing you knee pain, walking might be the solution for you. In fact, a regular walking routine can reduce stiffness and inflammation and won’t generally contribute to worsening chronic conditions. According to the CDC, walking keeps your heart and bones strong and joints working as you age. Just try to build strength and endurance slowly, listen to your body as you limit exercise time and make walking on softer surfaces with flat, flexible athletic shoes a priority.
  • Swimming for cardio. Swimming is an enjoyable activity that’s good for almost everyone–and a great calorie-burning exercise. It alleviates weight placed on the knees and joints, while allowing movement with less pain. Swimming also has the ability to work all your muscles, toning the back, strengthening the stomach and working out arms and legs. For some extra training, many gyms with pools offer water aerobics classes that provide the benefit of a weights or resistance workout without the added pressure on your joints you’d have in a traditional gym session.
  • Try the elliptical.  If you belong to a gym, or are in the market for some home equipment, the elliptical machine is a great option as well. It enables the same motions of running without the impact on the knees. The great thing about the elliptical machine is that it works out arms, too, giving full body benefit while allowing you to decide how long or how hard to train. Additionally, if you’re recovering from a knee injury, it can even improve your knee health by providing an opportunity to build leg strength through the use of resistance settings.
  • Biking. While this workout will require you to consult your doctor about the safety of biking with your particular knee problem, it can be a good option for bad knees. Cycling is even often recommended by doctors as a good recovery option from knee injuries. If the particular motions cause you pain, try adjusting the settings on your bike at the gym or the length of time you exercise to work up stamina and strength slowly. Done outdoors as well as in, investing in a real bike (as opposed to a stationary one) may be one of the most beneficial things you’ll ever do if getting fresh air is something you love.
  • Try Yoga! Yoga is an extremely popular exercise that offers a myriad of benefits for health and fitness, including reduction of chronic pain, the promotion of relaxation and the ability to build strength and stamina. Because it’s often low impact, yoga can be enjoyed by almost anyone and can range in intensity depending on preference and skill level. Yoga helps building core muscles, improving muscle tone and flexibility, and poses can always be modified to provide less stress on knees.

While the above are great ways to stay in shape even if you experience knee pain, Dr. Irvine can advise you on the specifics of your situation for recovery from injury or management of chronic conditions and will ensure optimal safety—and enjoyment–in your exercise routine. Contact us for a consultation today!

Get your balance back – in diet!

When it comes to playing & participating in sports like track and field, baseball, football and really any everyday activity, many people struggle with choosing the fulfilling foods right for fueling your body. Following the simple guidelines below will help you & your body live a healthier lifestyle and grant more energy!

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1) A balanced diet the key: A balanced diet is low in fat, high in carbs and just the right amount of protein. You may have heard of some athletes doing a “carb heavy” the day before an important event; however you should know that while carbs are important for energy, doing a carb heavy diet may leave you feeling weighed down and even tired. As always, it is important to make sure your intake includes enough proteins, nutrients and vitamins. And, always hydrate with water!

2) Breakfast is your friend: No matter how much you want to skip your breakfast, don’t! It is the most important meal of the day and helps jump start your metabolism and replenish your body from it’s sleeping phase overnight. Skipping breakfast has the potential to make you nauseous or tired, however eating too much at breakfast can weigh you down and make you feel sick. So, where is the give and take right? Eat a cup of greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit and walk out the door!

3) Ditch the energy drinks: Monster & 5 hour energy drinks might be tasty going down, however drinking these to give you an extra boost before your event or game can actually damage your body as it affects your heart rate. To stay hydrated the day of the game or event, make sure to drink enough water the day of, however be sure to cut yourself off about an hour or half hour before the start of the game/event. Looking for energy? How about grabbing a bottle of powerade to replenish the lost electrolytes or nom on a banana which is full of natural carbs.


crossfit-hiit workout-sports-medicine

One of the largest workout trends to come up in the last couple of years is CrossFit. It is a high intensity workout that works to enhance fitness in areas such as cardio, strength, stamina, power, speed, flexibility, accuracy, balance, coordination, & agility.  In CrossFit you have a coach & a team and you basically change your entire lifestyle. It is all designed to make you get the most out of your workout. While this craze has attracted many enthusiasts, it has also attracted critics. These critics claim that CrossFit is a dangerous sport & that serious injuries occur from the sport.

The biggest concern about it being a dangerous sport can be combated by simply stating that any sport in which someone is inexperienced in can be dangerous. It is simply in how you approach the sport. CrossFit in itself is not dangerous. The sport does not cause injury, the person causes the injury. It’s the way people perform the activity. In any physical activity you should listen to what your body is saying. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right. You have a coach. Use him or her. Let them teach you the correct form & learn what is too much for you.

If you’ve been wanting to try CrossFit but have been scared away by these reports of it being dangerous, do not be deterred. Educate yourself. Make yourself an expert on the technique behind what you’re doing. Do it right & there’s no reason you cannot use the CrossFit tools to change your life.

Off Season Training

Sports Training Off Season

For all athletes, it is imperative to your skill level to stay active even when your sport is not in season. Training is a part of being an athlete as all who are involved in sports know. This time is used to build your muscles up and get better at the game while not having to actually perform the game. You get to perform individual exercises that build up your intensity, frequency, and duration.

As with any workout routine you need to be sure that you are exercising with the utmost safety. Although you may want to push yourself during the off season so that you do not get out of shape. Using these basic workout tips will help you avoid an injury that will set you back much further than becoming out of shape would.

  1. Use the right kind of equipment
  2. Utilize a trainer. They can tell you the right workouts that will target your weaknesses or the things you want to improve.
  3. Always warm up & stretch.
  4. Move through the full range of motion during each rep. Don’t rush it!
  5. Drink water.
  6. Cool down.
  7. Rest

Strengthen Your Knees

Knee Strengthening Exercises!


Runners are all too familiar with the hardship that your sport plays on your knees. There are steps that you can take to avoid, as best you can, injuring your knee and being temporarily out of commission. These moves can also help you recover from an injury, but you should always talk to your doctor to see what kind of moves you may do that will be appropriate for you.

1: Jumping Rope!

There is a right and a wrong way to jump rope. You want to be sure that you are landing with your knees slightly bent instead of being straight. To improve the strength of your knees, try to land in a half-squat position with bent knees.

2: Low Impact Cardio!

Swimming, walking & biking can, over time, strengthen your knees so that one day you may be able to perform high impact cardio activities.

3: Ball-Squeeze Squat!

Place a ball between your thighs and squeeze. Slowly squat until your knees are bent 90 degrees, or get as low as you can.

4: Large-Step Lunge!

Take one leg forward with a large step. Lower your body until your back knee almost touches the floor and then return to your starting position.

5: Step Ups!

10 reps of stepping up with one foot onto a raised surface and then switch feet. Do this while holding dumb bells for an extra challenge.