Working out with joint issues.

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    Apr 20, 2009 9:07 PM GMT
    So I wrestled in High School, and I think I have a repetitive knee injury, as it constantly snap crackle and pops, and gives me a bit of a limp now and again. Tread mills just kill me, and I cant do stairs at all, but ellipticals seem fine. I'm wondering if those could end up helping the injury or making it worse. Any advice?

    Also, I have serious joint issues pretty much all over, I guess its premature arthritis or some stupid crap, but mainly the pain is in my shoulders. I used to lat pull and fly sick amounts, but now I can barely pull down 100lbs because of sharp pains. My muscles are pretty much always up for more, its my joints that kill it. My doctor told me I had loose rotator cuffs, and I'm wondering continuing to workout with low weights can improve the condition so that eventually I can increase the weight.

    I would love to find out some workouts I can do that will make a difference with my muscles but without hurting the joints. Those joint problems are so depressing that sometimes I just give up mid-workout because it feels pointless to try and build muscle when the joints cant take it.

    And any advice with taking pain killers prior to a workout? I'm thinking that if I do it'll increase my chances of being injured. Anyhow, I'd love some feedback. And if you're in the Las Vegas area and have similar issues maybe we can workout together, that'd help with the gimp feelings.
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    Apr 21, 2009 12:01 AM GMT
    My advise would be to work a good orthopedic surgeon to establish a diagnosis for all the pain and joint problems you are experiencing. There are a lot of different medicines that a doctor can prescribe for joint and/or muscle pain.

    Have your ortho doctor recommend a physical therapist - talk with the physical therapist so you know exactly what you can and can not do safely and figure out a game plan for keeping yourself fit into the future. As you mentioned, the thing you don't want to do is compound your problems by choosing the wrong exercises.

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    Apr 21, 2009 12:17 AM GMT
    I wish I could do all of that. And I will as soon as i can.

    My big problem right now though is that I don't have insurance, because I'm a law student, and its just too expensive for me to buy independently right now. Hopefully that will all change soon, but I would like to do some basic workouts in the meantime.

    So if you or anyone else has any ideas for some low impact workouts, I'd love to hear them.
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    Apr 21, 2009 12:42 AM GMT
    My injured knee sounds similar to yours, but only a PT would be able to fully diagnose your injury. That being said, here's my story:

    I injured my left knee from excessive running (and the associated impact.) It lead to patellar tendinitis and I also had some popping and cracking. I recently re-injured it and my PT found all sorts of things that needed to be corrected. My goal with him was to be able to run across the street without pain... Sounds like a small goal but I suspect you understand.

    1. Massage therapy - he found some issues with my hamstring, IT band, and muscles around my knee and thigh that needed massage to correct.
    2. Standing quad stretch, where you stand and pull one foot to your butt, for like 30 seconds, each side.
    3. One-legged hamstring stretch, where you lay on your back, and put your butt up against a wall corner or column. Then, put one leg up on the wall, and the other leg down straight, along the floor. 30 secs each side
    4. Runners stretch, where you spread legs wide and stretch to one side with the other leg extended straight, really stretching your groin.
    5. Bridges - Lay on the ground, knees up and heels to your butt. Lift your pelvis to the ceiling and squeeze glutes at the top for 3 sets of 25. Add 25 lbs weight after you start feeling stronger
    6. Isometric Quad Exercise - instead of using the Quad Machine to go from 90deg bend to straight legs (with weights) just put the pad at 45deg, jack the weight up really high, and try to lift the weight for 20 seconds, then rest for 10, the repeat. This allows you to work quads without moving your knee (and the associated pain/popping.)
    7. Hamstring Curls - standard hamstring curls with whatever weight you can do.
    8. Chair pose - the yoga pose - 3 reps of 30 secs each, focusing in tightening the muscles around the knee

    He gave me a ton more but I don't want to rattle on if it's not helpful...

    In the end, my issue was that my muscles around my left knee were underdeveloped and I was overcompensating with my right knee. The goal was to improve muscle around my left knee and I'm getting there. After about 6 weeks I'm able to run for about 90 seconds, which is pretty good!

    Good luck with healing! I'd definitely go to a PT versus a PCP...
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    Apr 21, 2009 1:23 AM GMT
    I've just been through 18 mos of back surgery (rod & screws) followed by rehab. Other than walking, the first thing the doctor gave the OK on was swimming (wouldn't work with your shoulder prob), followed by the elliptical machine (fun workout if you've got some good music) and then (much later) stationary biking (I love spin class). He (neurosurgeon) is also a HUGH fan of isometrics.

    You might want to look into acqua jogging. I know a lot of triathletes do that when they are rehabbing hip/knee/feet problems.
  • metta

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    Apr 21, 2009 1:33 AM GMT
    Your knees sound worse than mine. I have a very slight problem occassionally with my left knee from doing way too many years of high impact step class. So I do what I can to protect them. I try and stay away from doing squats. I do the eliptical and stair stepper instead of the tread mill. If there is an exercise that I feel puts pressure on my knees, I try and stay away from it as much as possible (usually not doing free weights for those exercises). I do sometimes do the machines but I'm careful there as well. I use less weight than I can do and do more reps.

    It always makes me wonder seeing people do legs, how they pile on crazy amounts of weight. I also do less weight because I don't want legs so big that I have trouble getting pants to fit me. And seeing people literally jump up and down doing squats with heavy freeweights on the back of their neck. I don't notice their legs being any better than anyone elses.

    If I begin to feel a twinge of something in my knee, I just take a dose of Synthovial Seven Pure Hyaluronic Acid (HA) and that normally is good enough to make it go away. (it is vegan friendly, BTW). You just a full dropper in a little water and drink it. It is natural and your body naturally produces it as well.

    http://hyalogic.com/about_hyaluronic_acid.htm

    I want to protect them because I have friends that are much older than me and many of them have knee problems as they get older.

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    Apr 21, 2009 1:38 AM GMT
    Eric,
    I have the same knee issue as yours but stopped PT (insurance company only allows a certain # of sessions per year and I've already used them for my shoulder).
    Would you mind adding on to the exercises you listed? This would help me a lot as I can do them on my own at the gym.
    Thanks.
    Frederic.
  • metta

    Posts: 39134

    Apr 21, 2009 1:41 AM GMT
    gameboi saidI wish I could do all of that. And I will as soon as i can.

    My big problem right now though is that I don't have insurance, because I'm a law student, and its just too expensive for me to buy independently right now. Hopefully that will all change soon, but I would like to do some basic workouts in the meantime.

    So if you or anyone else has any ideas for some low impact workouts, I'd love to hear them.


    Have you looked online? I get mine from http://www.einsurance.com and find them to be pretty inexpensive. Also, most larger schools have very inexpensive health care plans. If you school has a health center, call them and see if they have a cheap plan for you.
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    Apr 21, 2009 3:29 PM GMT
    Thanks everyone for your great advice and support. Eric that list totally helps, I'd love to see the rest of it, and I totally understand about running across the street lol. jtaustin - Aqua jogging also sounds perfect for cardio and strengthening the joint I'm definitely going to try that. Unfortunately, my school doesn't offer full medical insurance - which sucks, but when I do get it I'll be sure to check around online. Synthovial Seven Pure Hyaluronic Acid (HA) sounds interesting, I'll have to look into it more.