If you’ve had a knee injury, kneen surgery or any kind of problem with your leg joints, you’ll know how frustrating and painful it can be. It’s especially frustrating if you’re into training, or want to get into training.
I know! I’m recovering from one now.
Yeah, I get it. Pretty funny. I run a site called Home Gym Experts but I managed to ‘do my knee in’.
Full disclaimer here – if you’ve hurt your knee, get help from a pro. See a doctor, a physio – someone with qualifications to deal with this kind of thing. Don’t mess around with your joints!
All I can talk about is my experience and some of the things I’ve been doing to keep, and get back in shape.
How I injured my knee
Well here’s the weird thing…
I’m still not sure.
Like a lot of injuries, this one didn’t actually rear it’s ugly head during a training session. I was actually lying on the sofa when the pain kicked in.
And man, did it kick in!
I suddenly felt a twisting sensation in my knee, a weird noise, or feeling, and then BOOM.
Or should I say OW!
Not exactly agony but a definite ‘something is wrong’ my my knee sort of pain. You never know if these injuries will go away the next day. Well, this is one of the ones that definitely didn’t.
So, what was the culprit?
Well I can guess as to what caused this injury.
I’m ashamed to admit it but I tried a new leg exercise with my dumbbells, with a weight that was way too big. I should have started with a much smaller weight and got the form right. It’s so easy to get complacent with these things.
As the song says, I guess I got what I deserved. Lesson learned. I’ll take this more seriously next time and only go hard with things I know how to do and only when I’ve got a clue what I’m doing with new exercises.
If you’re wondering what the ideal weight to start out with as a beginner, you might like this guide.
Resting a knee injury is almost impossible, but so important
I definitely didn’t make things easier by going out and trying to train ‘through the pain’. Recovery time for each injury is different but I made the mistake of training too soon.
Lesson learned: Give yourself time to rest and recover. It’s worse to knock your recovery back and in the long run, no pun intended, you’re doing more harm to your training than good.
Machines I’ve been using during recovery
Exercise machines to avoid
Let’s look at the things that are definitely not good for knee / leg pain recovery!
- Running – even gently, barely hobbling. I think I set myself back a fair bit by trying to run again too soon. Leave the running machine alone!
- Upright bikes – while technically, there’s no impact involved here, I’ve been finding the circular motion is not good at all.
- Free weights and dumbbells – Even picking a lighter dumbbell up risks further aggravating an knee injury. I especially love my hex dumbbells (probably too much) but they’ve got to be put aside for now.
Exercise machines that did help with recovery
There are a some exercises and machines that I’ve found are good if you’re recovering from a knee injury. If you’ve got one of these, then give it a try.
- Elliptical cross trainers – I’ve always used and loved ellipticals. The advantage being there’s no jolting to your knee joint, only that velvety smooth elliptical action. The only thing that gets worked out is your muscles. They’re also great for keeping up with your cardio, even if you can’t be as active as you used to be at the moment. You can also get these machines starting under £200. Or treat yourself to one of the NordicTrack machines if you have the budget.
- Recumbent bikes – Because of the reduced angle your knees are at on a recumbent and the reduced weight you’re pushing down, you might find these supportive bikes helpful in your recovery. There’s some knee movement but if you’re on the road to recovery, then don’t pass up on these more laid back bikes.
- Any upper body exercises that don’t involve you picking up a weight – Things like dips are ideal because you’re only using your arms. Pull-ups are also a great one. Or, if you’ve got a smith machine, and a bench, you can work your upper body without every putting any weight on your knee.
Let us know about your knee recovery or problems!
Any tips for any of us out there struggling to recover from a knee sprain or other injury? Let us know in the comments.
Stay safe and happy training!