Weightlifting & Exercise/Knees
I am 55, no major health issues except being somewhat overweight-not obese.
Three years ago I tore the meniscus in both knees in one game playing soccer. They have not been the same since. I have no arthritis or anything, and they check out fully healed now according to my doctor. I did some physio, including acupuncture, and I do daily stretches. Only recently the pain went away. Tried glucosamine, etc, nothing helped but tylenol.
The problem is that I can do any kind of low impact exercise now, like biking and elliptical, but they cant any type of running, or weight bearing exercises like squats. Cant even run on the spot for five minutes!
With summer coming, I have 'retired' from sports, but I still want to be able to run around with my grandchildren, maybe help coach soccer or baseball.
Can you suggest anything that would help, or is this the price you pay for old age?
If I was really commited, I could probably lose 10 or 15 pounds by summer, although as I mentioned I am not that overweight and dont have high blood pressure or diabetes or any condition that would require weight loss. Would losing some weight help?
Thanks for your thoughts!
Hi there Bud,
No this is not the price of old age, you are not even old, however none of us heal like we used to. With that being said, I am curious, how long ago did you tear your menisci? Also what did the Physiotherapist and doctor say? You did not mention how long ago this injury occurred but I will tell you that these injuries are very slow to heal because the meniscus is cartilage and it has a very low blood supply as opposed to muscle. That is why when you pull a muscle you generally are better within a few days, sometimes a week depending on how bad a strain it was. It could be up to a year, perhaps more, before you are back to normal and until then I strongly advise laying off running. Running is great for the cardiovascular system but horrible for the feet, knees and hips. It is said that when you run, your weight is 2.5 times your bodyweight coming down on your joints, if that is true that really is bad. I can see why squatting is painful (I would lay off this as well) because your knees are the joints bearing the most amount of weight. So what should you be doing? I don't know what types of facilities you have access to but if you can get in a pool, that would be perfect. If you have a lap pool that is even better. You can get in waist deep water and run in the pool fast, side to side, you won't believe how hard that is until you try it. Plus there is not much force on the joints due to buoyancy. Swimming laps is wonderful for you as well, you hit all the muscles and get a great workout as well. Now for weights, try using a leg press and go just past 90 degrees at the knees but not much further as you don't want to jeopardize your menisci again. Try a weight lightter than your max, say 70% of the max you can do for a few sets of 12 reps. Do this for a few workouts and if your body is holding up all right, go maybe 30 lbs. heavier for sets of 8 reps. Also you can try lunges, make sure you front knee doesn't go past your toes as this places the knee in jeopardy of injury. By really strengthening the quads and hamstrings, this should really alleviate your knee pain fairly quickly. Again, I don't know how long ago this injury was but always warm-up and stretch and don't over due it, joint problems can really cripple you for life and you have many more good years with the grandkids. Bud try the above recommendations and give it a few weeks. If you feel any pain stop immediately and ice as soon as possible to get the inflammation down. If nothing improves in a few weeks or so, write back and we can re-evaluate what you have been doing. I hope this helps you, take care.