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Knee injury
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rjcb52 posted:
I need to exercise (and loose some weight I have gained). I have a small tear in the medial meniscus but when I exercise I get pain in my knee. I can't run. I love to dance but the lateral movements and twists to the knee cause a lot of pain and days or weeks to subside. What can I do to strenghten my knee so I can exercise. What exercises are safe?
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Rich Weil, MEd, CDE responded:
Hi rjcb,

I recommend straight leg raises to strengthen the muscles around your knee (primarily quadriceps). To do them lie on the floor on your back, one knee bent, the other straight, hands palm down under the buttocks to support the low back. Contract the quadriceps on the straight leg, then raise leg to the height of the other knee. Pause 1-2 second at the top, then lower leg but do not allow it to touch the floor. Repeat 10-15 reps, 3 sets. As you get stronger and can easily do 15 reps, use ankle weights. Start with one pound and work up. You should always be able to do 10-15 reps. As you get stronger, you may be able to progress to leg extensions, leg curls, leg presses, squats, and other exercises, but first you should get your leg stronger with the leg raises. Here is a slide presentation that is relevant.

http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/joint-injections-9/slideshow-knee-exercises (slide #3).

And the click to slide #4 which describes how to tighten the quadriceps before lifting as I instruct above.

As for exercises, non-weight-bearing may be better. A stationary bike (upright or recumbent) could work. Make sure the seat is high enough so your leg gets almost straight on the downstroke. Sometimes the elliptical machine is okay too. You'll need to experiment with whatever machine you use. Of course, swimming will cause no pain.

I hope that helps. Keep us posted.

Take care,
Rich


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