fitness

Got bad knees? Here are 6 essential things you need to know about exercise.

Image via iStock.

Having weak or sore knees is a common complaint in people of all ages, whether you’re a frequent or more, ahem, “sporadic” exerciser.

But just because it’s common, doesn’t make it something that you should put up with and accept as “nomal”. Ignoring it can acutally cause more serious problems.

RELATED: The 5 most common aches and pains you get during exercising

1. Acknowledge the issue

According to Pick It Up! personal trainer Michael Genitsaris, while there are many injuries that can be associated with the knee joint, including strained ligaments and osteoarthritis, most will have a similar effect on your ability to exercise.

What’s most important is understanding how you can continue being fit and healthy while working through a knee injury.

“I would never recommend anyone to completely stop exercising,” he says. “But you do need to make some alterations to what you’re doing.”

2. Do what you can

Get an expert’s opinion on your situation so that they can give you a plan to recovery.

RELATED: The 10 household items you can use as exercise equipment

After that, Genitsaris says to start thinking about things that you can still do, such as upper body exercises, aqua exercises and in some cases, cycling. These are all activities you can do to keep your fitness levels up while your knee recovers. (Post continues after gallery.)

3. Make appropriate changes

“It’s likely you will need to reduce the impact on the knee, like excessive weight bearing movements, as well as repetitive bending of the joint,” he says.

Obviously, any exercises that cause pain need to be avoided. We’re talking deep squatting, lunges, jumping, running, weight lifting and heavy knee extensions. These are likely to irritate your knee injury.

Sports like volleyball, soccer, football, basketball and netball also put the knee under excessive pressure and are best avoided when injured.

Sports like Netball can put excessive pressure on your knees from jumping. Image: Kath and Kim.
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Instead, start off with static holds to begin, such as a wall-sit.

If after a week or two you're pain-free, you can progress to a wall squat using a Swiss ball, making sure the movement is slow and controlled.

RELATED: Should you be stretching before or after a workout?

"There's no cookie cutter strategy to rehabilitation of knee injuries, but as long as these exercises can be done pain-free, it's a good place to start," Genitsaris says.

4. Build up to your old routine

It's important to gradually get your strength back. Rushing into high impact activity or heavy lifting is very likely to cause damage to your weak knees.

"Start light and build your strength in surrounding muscles to help support the joints," advises Genitsaris.

"As you get stronger week by week, slowly start increasing your exercise load or intensity." (Post continues after gallery.)

5. Focus on recovery

Make sure you're doing adequate stretching before and after workout to prevent further injury. Foam rolling before workouts can also help to keep things balanced.

RELATED: The 7 best and safest stretches specially for pregnant women

6. Each injury is different

Even if you've suffered from weak knees before, it's worth getting it checked out by an expert who can tell you exactly what's wrong and what to do about it.

Feel a pain during your workout? Stop, rest, and if you can, ask a trainer for adjustments. It's not worth pushing through only to make the problem 10 times worse.

Do you suffer from weak knees? How do you cope during exercise?