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Author Topic: Do you go to the gym if your knee already hurts?  (Read 3861 times)

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Offline blackbeltgirl

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Do you go to the gym if your knee already hurts?
« on: May 23, 2006, 09:49:49 PM »
You can read my case history in my signature, but basically, I'm missing a lot of articular cartilage, and my insurance company doesn't want to pay to get my knee fixed.  In the meantime, I'd like to work on getting in better shape.

Here's the basic question -
My knee hurts from my workout yesterday.  Ibuprofen is helping, but I can tell when it's wearing off.  I wear a brace when I'm at the gym, and I only use one machine (it's the only one that doesn't usually make my knee hurt), so my knee very rarely hurts while I'm on the machine.  And odds are, it won't hurt much worse after the workout than it hurts now.  If that was all, I'd go to the gym and suck it up.  The counter-argument is that every time I stress the knee I'm making it worse, and it will be harder to fix.  And I'm already a bad candidate for any cartilage replacement/repair procedure since the damage is so extensive.

I have a feeling I"ll go to the gym anyway, but I'm curious how others have/would react in a similar situation.

Thanks for your thoughts,
Jess
ACI was supposed to be 2/21/06.  On 6/29/06 Insurance co said have another scope, and if it still looks good, they'll ok the ACI.
Microfracture Dec 7, 2004
   3cm x 6cm lesion, LFC; 3cm x 1cm lesion, trochlear groove; lateral tibial plateau lesion
2nd degree black belt, tae kwon do (had to stop)

Offline sezb

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Re: Do you go to the gym if your knee already hurts?
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2006, 11:15:49 PM »
Try some ice.... wouldn't like to suggest anything else really, sorry!
Sez :)
ACL op R. knee 02/90
ACL op L. Knee 04/06 
(Yes went and did the other knee too - skiing again!)
Had enough of knees now!!!

Offline Janet

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Re: Do you go to the gym if your knee already hurts?
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2006, 12:56:38 AM »
It's interesting that I asked my doctor almost the same question just this afternoon. I am looking at a patellofemoral replacement, or possibly a TKR, because the articular cartilege is worn away on the back of my patella. When asking how best to get myself prepared for possible surgery, I asked if it was good to go ahead and go to the gym and try to get stronger even if it hurt. He said no. He said that when things hurt, your brain will not allow them to work correctly (or something like that), so in the long run the pain from working out is preventing strengthening to occur. I have found this to be true in the past but could never figure out why I was "working through the pain" but nothing was happening!

He suggested that I do only upper body exercises to get the heart rate up and exercise in the pool where I could isolate my bad leg and not use it in the exercise.

Of course, your sitaution may be different, but that was the advice I was given.

Janet
Torn quad tendon repair & VMO advancement 4/99, MUA with LOA 10/99, Patella baja and arthrofibrosis, LR & medial release & LOA 5/01, LOA & chondroplasty 6/03,TKR on 11/06, MUA 12/06. From perfect knees to a TKR in 7 years, all from a fall on a wet floor...and early undiagnosed scar tissue.

Offline slyguy1

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Re: Do you go to the gym if your knee already hurts?
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2006, 03:52:14 AM »
Hi Jess,

            I've been going to the gym and still have good and bad days as far as pain/discomfort goes. Is there a machine that puts less stress on your knee that you can do for the time being? I am officially 6 months post-op and i am able to do the elliptical trainer and bike....some days when my knee is acting up i just do other upper body stuff....as long as i can get into that gym i always feel better in some ways.... I try to alternate using different machines and try to get as much of a cardio workout as i can....any workout is better than no workout. You know how important motivation and a positive attitude is .....i hope and pray that you are able to do some kind of a workout that helps you relieve stress and motivate you to continue with the positive thinking.

Joe.....from NJ

Offline tdadamo

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Re: Do you go to the gym if your knee already hurts?
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2006, 04:13:14 AM »
I goto the gym as much as I can... I use the elliptical, lift upper body and ride the bike. I really miss lifting my legs(they were my strongest muscle)...

Offline heather k from wales

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Re: Do you go to the gym if your knee already hurts?
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2006, 08:57:40 AM »
Sometimes when my knee is stiff and painful, I go to the gym to help ease it up....it seems to work, but I probably have totally diffferent knee issues to you.
Other times when I have sharp medial pain, it is impossible for me to exercise and I definatley wouldnt push it.  It really depends on the type of pain I am having at the time.

Heather ;)
91 Mangled Right knee on trials motorbike
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Offline mbr20

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Re: Do you go to the gym if your knee already hurts?
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2006, 10:05:52 AM »
Hi Jess

I have Grade IV damage to both patella-femoral joints.  At the moment I am trying to rebuild strength following relapse in pain and subsequent muscle wastage, which stopped me even bike riding or using the orbital machines.  Not sure if you can access a pool, but I have used swimming (straight leg kicking, with and without flippers, straight leg standing exercises in the pool) to gradually improve the strength. Also found a hydro riding class (bicycle in the pool) which is a great way to get the cardio and work the legs with zero or limited pain.  Now trying straight leg holds on the leg machines (need someone to get the weights up level) plus hamstring curls, and already seeing improvement.  I am now back on the pushbike and getting up and down the stairs alot better.  Sometimes its 3 steps forward, 2 back, but there is progress.  Worth talking to a good personal trainer or physio for professional advice though. Best of luck.

MB
Bilateral PF Osteoarthritis

Offline blackbeltgirl

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Re: Do you go to the gym if your knee already hurts?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2006, 01:04:28 PM »
Thanks all.  I was really just curious how others handled the situation.  The only cardio machine that doesn't hurt my knee is the arc trainer - the elliptical and bike are the WORST!  So I'm pretty limited in my cardio options.  My gym does have a handbike, but it's in the corner near the basketball court, and it's pretty difficult to get over there and use it.  They also have a pool, and I do water fitness 1-2 times a week, but to be honest, that usually hurts more than the machine.  It's easy to forget that jumping around in the pool will hurt later, even if it doesn't hurt now.  It's odd, but it's not really about "working through the pain", or even muscle development for me.  It's just about not being held prisoner by my knee, and doing what I want to do. 

In the end, I think it's about scheduling.  I'm usually ok for 2 days in a row, then I need a day off.  Last night I decided to go home and switch my sneakers for my swim suit, but ended up in the middle of a dozen other things, and since the knee really didn't feel right, I just stayed home.  Unfortunately for my fitness routine I have other plans tonight, and I'm heading out of town Friday, so I'll only get 2 workouts in this week.

Have a good one-
Jess
ACI was supposed to be 2/21/06.  On 6/29/06 Insurance co said have another scope, and if it still looks good, they'll ok the ACI.
Microfracture Dec 7, 2004
   3cm x 6cm lesion, LFC; 3cm x 1cm lesion, trochlear groove; lateral tibial plateau lesion
2nd degree black belt, tae kwon do (had to stop)

Offline MHillman

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Re: Do you go to the gym if your knee already hurts?
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2006, 10:46:32 PM »
My suggestion to you would be stay in the pool, but just swim, no jumping around.  Also if you have access to a personal trainer who really knows what they are doing that would be so helpful.  work on building your upper body as much as you can, this will help you in many ways you don't realize, exp. standing sitting, when or if you need crutches .  Believe me, it helps.  I cannot do the bike or the eliptical machine either, so I just swim and mostly upper body.  I too was told that if you are causing pain to your body that the brain will "shut down" the muscles to that area.  sounds weird to me too. 
Best of luck.
missy Hillman

Offline Janet

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Re: Do you go to the gym if your knee already hurts?
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2006, 12:11:48 AM »
I tried taking a pool class. The class was fun and my knee didn't really hurt during the class. But after the class, my knee was killing me for several days. I was bending my knee over and over again against the force of the water. Bad idea! If I ever decided to take a pool class again, I'd make sure that I kept my bad leg straight the entire time. My main problem is that the articular cartilege behind the patella is worn through (not in the medial or lateral compartments), so the buoyancy of the water doesn't really help much.

Janet
Torn quad tendon repair & VMO advancement 4/99, MUA with LOA 10/99, Patella baja and arthrofibrosis, LR & medial release & LOA 5/01, LOA & chondroplasty 6/03,TKR on 11/06, MUA 12/06. From perfect knees to a TKR in 7 years, all from a fall on a wet floor...and early undiagnosed scar tissue.

Offline mbr20

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Re: Do you go to the gym if your knee already hurts?
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2006, 02:17:07 AM »
Hi Janet.  I have similar knee complaints and was ok after the pool cycling class yesterday, however one knee in alot of pain last night, like you experienced!  Both are abit niggly today.  Scratch my suggestion of pool cycling  :(  Back to straight leg pool exercises only, swimming, walking and weights.  It really is frustrating.
Bilateral PF Osteoarthritis

Offline tdadamo

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Re: Do you go to the gym if your knee already hurts?
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2006, 02:46:26 AM »
I will add that Im a gym freak... I lost ~100lbs over the past year and being active was a huge part of it. I think thats why my knee problem is so mentally frustrating/depressing to me(i miss playing basketball everyday and doing heavy lifts for my strong legs)... I guess life is all about adjustments and if I can't learn to adjust now(25yrs) then I'll have a tougher time later on..

Although once I get done a good upper body lift or swim/bike/elliptical I feel so good mentally... if only I could get that feeling in pill form ;)