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tranquilsea's avatar

What kind of cardio can I do with gimped up knees?

Asked by tranquilsea (17655points) June 27th, 2011

Keep in mind that it is really difficult for me to get to a pool which I know would probably be the best thing.

I bruised my kneecaps (the insides of them) two months ago and I was told by my doctor that it could take up to 6 months to heal. He advised that I bike but I have found that even bike riding makes them hurt.

I have just recovered from fasciotomy surgery on my anterior tibialas muscles that will eventually allow me to start running again pain free. I really want to try running but I really don’t want to re-damage my knee caps because it takes so damn long for them to repair.

Any cardio exercises that you can suggest? I am staring down a pool for my only cardio for the next few months?

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28 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

Before she died, my grandmother did cardio in a chair. I don’t know what method she used or how effective it was, but she passed at 83.

marinelife's avatar

Does walking hurt? It might be good.

tranquilsea's avatar

I guess what I’m looking for is an intense kind of workout that is fairly equal to running or biking. I can walk for longer distances but my knees do ache a bit after which isn’t a good sign.

mrrich724's avatar

This is a difficult question… what you basically just said is “what cardio can I do that isn’t running, walking, biking, or swimming” !!!!!

athenasgriffin's avatar

Get an elliptical. They are really kind on your knees. Make sure to try one first, though.

Rarebear's avatar

Get a good physical therapist and have them advise you.

tranquilsea's avatar

@mrrich724 which why I suspect that swimming is my only option. Bleh.

@Rarebear good suggestion I may just do that.

Judi's avatar

Don’t they have you in physical therapy? The physical therapist can tell you exactly what you can do to get your cardio and support your specific healing at the same time. That’s the stuff they love. People committed to their health, not jut going in waiting for them to “fix” them.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Have you tried bouncy push-ups on your bed? Stand with your feet 3 feet from the edge of the bed and do push ups with your hands on the edge. The object is to bounce yourself back up. Try it a few times and tell me if your heart isn’t pumping like you were running.
You can make the workout more difficult by putting your feet further from the bed.
Obviously this does not work with a memory foam bed. :-)

tranquilsea's avatar

@worriedguy great idea. I’ll give it a try.

I had tried hill climbers last week but my knees were bad the day after.

tranquilsea's avatar

@worriedguy That would be great exercise because push-ups are my worst area.

I’m still lifting weights excluding every squat-like exercise.

mrrich724's avatar

Swimming is definitely the best option…

mrrich724's avatar

stationary bike isn’t a bad choice either!

IsshoNi's avatar

I suggest swimming. Or biking. Don’t run at all. Or your knee caps will get worse. Also when you do recover and start running again I suggest jiki-tabi shoes (check online), or shoes that are close to bare-foot style. (Check at REI stores or online)

Padded shoes, and standard shoes, by research, have been shown to make running mechanics worse and make people more prone to running injury, back injuries, and hip pain. Slightly off-topic, but it is good preventative injury advice. Do your research. (Source: I am a XC-Runner)

tranquilsea's avatar

@mrrich724 The stationary bike is what caused my knees to ache after. That was sad as I was depending on using biking as a means to get through the six months.

I may just have to make the effort to go swimming. I hate the chlorine in pools but it just may be a necessary evil…

ETpro's avatar

I do heavyhands for cardio. It doesn’t require running and is equal in cardiovascular results to cross-country skiing. It’s simply walking with weights in each hand, swinging them through as much motion as you can manage as you walk. You can start just pumping up and down with perhaps 3 to 5 pound Heavyhands weights or dumbbells. I’d start with 3 pound unless your arms are already well developed and have endurance from rowing or skiing cross country.

I’ve worked up to 15 pound weights (max to use if you want to keep elbows healthy) an go through a 30-minute set of interval training using them to finally end up swinging them from arm fully down to arm straight over my head. A few minutes of that, even with 3 pounders if you’re new to it, will have your heart pumping like a 6 minute mile.

Dr. Leonard Schwartz developed the exercise. He’s 82 in this picture, and still going, so it clearly works.

tranquilsea's avatar

@ETpro I don’t know that I should walk with weights as it is too close to what got me into this trouble to begin with. Any arm swinging would have to be stationary with straight legs. I’ll give it a try and see.

ETpro's avatar

@tranquilsea I don’t think 3 pound weights would have much impact on your knees so long as a half-hour of walking is comfortable. Another possibility is rowing. A lot of the foring machines require part of the push with the legs, but pure rowing with the torso muscles and arms should be comprotable and kenn-safe.

What did get you into the mess, BTW? Hope you recover soon.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I absolutely love my gazelle. http://www.google.com/search?q=tony+little+gazelle&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1440&bih=799

I have a bad hip from scoliosis, and said hip is of course full of arthritis. It gives me a lot of trouble, but the gazelle has consistently given me good workouts and no pain. I’m not saying that hips and knees are interchangeable, but it might be worth a shot. They are really affordable, as well.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@tranquilsea The bounce push-ups are a totally adjustable workout. You can also try to push yourself up fast enough to clap your hands. That adds a little variety to the effort.

Judi's avatar

Or you can do them against the wall and alternate wide and narrow hands.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Judi (Assuming you don’t have a memory foam bed) Bouncy ones are easier to do and you don’t need to turn your neck backwards.
The beauty of doing it against a wall is that they are available in every room.

tranquilsea's avatar

@worriedguy I currently do my push-ups at about a 45 degree angle using my hope chest. I can see where the bed would be softer.

@ETpro This is how I got here and it deserves a giant facepalm.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@tranquilsea During the day I do them at a 45 against my desk. But the bed bounce turns it into a cardio workout – and it is training for other semi-related activities. ;-)

ETpro's avatar

@worriedguy I’m liking that bouncy push-up idea more and more as you explain it’s finer details. :-)

@tranquilsea Ouch. Good forewarning for any others that might think about doing the same.

msbcd's avatar

I’ve just recently started working out again after inflaming my knee a few months ago. My doctor had prescribed swimming( although I can’t quite get to one, as well) and low impact walking. So nothing with inclination or pressure on the knee should be fine. I used to do kick boxing and other cardio classes, but they involved far too many lunges. So right now, I attend zumba classes which is a ton of fun, yoga and in terms of cardio, Exercycle for about 30/40 mins. I can feel an improvement on my knee so I’m sure you should too.

tranquilsea's avatar

@msbcd thanks for the post. I’m resigning myself to hauling my butt to a pool and giving a good try. I even have two people who have asked to come along.

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