Knee Injury & Recovery

In today’s episode you’ll learn how to stay in shape after a Knee Injury

It’s something that can happen to anyone, and the thought alone sends shivers down my spine. When it happens it happens an with it comes a great deal of devastation. In addition, I’ve seen many types injuries related to sports, accidents, old age an etc, and the bottom line comes down to one thing when trying to stay in shape after a Knee Injury. As a matter of fact this applies to recovering from all injuries, DIET.

Diet is king and you have to remember this otherwise you will fall into the vicious cycle of “never being the same” after a knee injury. When dealing with a knee injury that requires us to take time off and rest we want to make sure that we are eating healthy, drinking plenty of water and performing the right techniques to sooner our recover time when trying to stay in shape with a knee injury.

Often times weight gain is the first thing that comes after a severe knee injury and because the individual isn’t moving as much anymore they are not burning as many calories as they were prior to the injury. This is a problem because when they are cleared to start exercising and begin the knee rehabilitation process they are 15 pounds over weight which means that this newly repaired knee must now face the challenge of getting back to where it was prior injury with 15 pounds of excess weight & pressure.

The knee also is now surrounded by weak muscles that have not been activated nor stimulated through exercise in quite some time. This creates a “flat tire” on the road effect, and it just makes it more difficult to loose weight, rehab and get back to where you were.
Rehabilitation.

So besides sustaining a healthy diet what can you do? Let’s say your doctor has cleared you and you’ve now started working on the rehabilitation phase of your recovery. As a result, the first thing any therapist will start you off with is ROM (Range Of Motion) exercises. A simple extension of the leg is positive sign an great start.

After a few days of knee extension you might be able to slowly start walking without any support. After this phase has been completed I would recommend to hope in a swimming pool an start performing the same exercises such as a leg extension and body squats inside of a pool.

The minimal to zero impact of a swimming pool can have huge benefits when trying to recover because it allows for just the right amount of resistance during ROM. After you’ve completed swimming pool therapy it’s time to step it up a notch and start using weights and exercise machines to further strengthen the weak muscles surrounding the knee.
Start with a stationary bicycle adding just a bit of resistance to challenge your weak muscles, you can also use various types of elliptical machines with some resistance. We want to be able to slowly start building strength with low impact movements. By this time your ROM should be back and we can now focus mainly on strength training ladies an gentlemen. Using a leg press machine is a great place to start, start with no weight at all and begin performing anywhere from 8-10 repetitions for 4 sets.

There after you can start with box squats, essentially grabbing a 24” box platform, sitting and standing back up 10 times for 4 sets. Once you’ve advanced from this move it would be a great time to add resistant bands for consistent tension allowing for better isometric strength while stretching and performing specific exercises which will have a major roll in full recovery and contribute to staying in shape with a knee injury.

Diet

I would first start off my trying to identify your body type. Check out episode #3 of the HFE podcast to get a better idea of how your diet has a lot to do with your body type.

Proteins

Fresh fish
Lean chicken
Lean steak
Turkey
Eggs
Beans
Lentils
Hemp Seed

Carbohydrates

Broccoli
Kale
Swiss-chard
Zucchini
Brussel sprouts
Cauliflower
Yams
Sweet Potato’s
Oranges
Grapefruits
Apples
Strawberries
Kiwis
peaches
Bananas
Grapes
Pairs
Quinoa
Brown rice
Barely
Millet
Jasmine rice
Black beans
Garbanzo beans
Hemp Seed

Fats

Almonds
Peanuts
Olives
Hummus
Peanut butter
Almond butter
Avocados
Canola oil
Grape seed oil
Olive oil

HYDRATION 

In Addition, staying in shape with a knee injury is already tough. Therefore, Drinking plenty of water is vital staying properly hydrated throughout the day gives your body several advantages. Especially relevant water helps you maintain an adequate blood volume so that nutrients can move through your blood and into your joints. In addition, water also allows waste products to move out of the joints. Consequently, once you damage cartilage it will not repair itself hence why often a surgery is required. While you may feel your joints stiffen up due to the loss of the low-friction quality of cartilage. So, when you have that stiff achy feeling in your joints, ask yourself “have a I drank enough water?” This is why that stiff feeling is so common in the morning after we have slept ~8 hours without drinking anything. We essentially wake up everyday with some level of dehydration.

Exercise & Rehabilitation Therapy.

 

Leg extensions (Start off by trying to reach a zero degree angle.)

Leg Extension are the first step in the rehabilitation process of your recovery. Build your way up to multiple repetitions for 3 sets.

Leg Extension are the first step in the rehabilitation process of your recovery. Build your way up to multiple repetitions for 3 sets.

Body weight box Squats

How To Stay In Shape After A Knee Injury Box Squats at Rest

Figure 1. Box Squats help with basic mobility and strengthen the weak quadriceps and hamstring muscles surrounding the knee, and also help activate your glutes. Start seated an stand up straight

Stand straight up and back down for 3 sets and 10 reps of box squats

Figure 2. Stand straight up and back down for 3 sets and 10 reps of box squats

Butt Kicks (standing)

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Resistance band hamstring curl

Resistance band hamstring curls are a move advancement movement and are great when to include when strength an mobility is increasing. repeat 3 sets of 10 repetitions

Resistance band hamstring curls are a move advancement movement and are great to include when strength an mobility is increasing in your injured knee. repeat 3 sets of 10 repetitions

Resistance band leg extension

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Hamstring curl machine

Once strength and mobility has increased you can now use exercise machines with added weight to help further strengthen your knee

Once strength and mobility has increased you can now use exercise machines with added weight to help further strengthen your knee 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions

Leg Extension Machine

Weight leg extension are also an important exercise to implement into your rehabilitation when ready. This exercise will help tremendously with building your weak quadriceps. 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions is ideal in the beginning

Weighted leg extension are also an important exercise to implement into your rehabilitation when ready. This exercise will help tremendously with building your weak quadriceps. 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions is ideal in the beginning

Leg Press Machine

sit down on the machine and place your legs on the platform directly in front of you at a medium (shoulder width) foot stance. Slowly come down and press back up. start with a safe yet challenging weight perform 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions

sit down on the machine and place your legs on the platform directly in front of you at a medium (shoulder width) foot stance. Slowly come down and press back up. start with a safe yet challenging weight perform 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions

Pistol Squats 

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Stand Straight up keeping your opposite foot straight, squeeze your glutes and slowly sit back down. Repeat for 3 sets of 5-8 repetitions

Figure 2. Stand Straight up keeping your opposite foot straight, squeeze your glutes and slowly sit back down. Repeat for 3 sets of 5-8 repetitions

 

Post Exercise treatment

Finally, After completing your exercise routine it’s time for the proper treatment to reduce potential swelling and inflammation we want to use “RICE” Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate.

  • Rest: After a knee injury if you feel pain when you move, stop using the injured body part right away this is your body sending a signal to decrease mobility of the injured area.
  • Ice: Apply an ice pack to the injured area, using a towel or cover to protect your skin from frostbite. The more conforming the ice pack the better, in order for the injury to receive maximum exposure to the treatment.
  • Compression: Use a pressure bandage or wrap over the ice pack to help reduce swelling. Never tighten the bandage or wrap to the point of cutting off blood flow. You should not feel pain or a tingly sensation while using compression.
  • Elevation: Raise or prop up the injured area so that it rests above the level of your heart.

How long should you apply the R.I.C.E principal to be effective? Finally, You want to do this for at least 15 minutes to 20 minutes. If you start feeling numb or a burning sensation stop R.I.C.E treatment. Never ice an area for more 30 minutes or longer as this can cause nerve damage. Perform as needed every 4-6 hours.

I hope this helps and if you have any questions or comments please leave something below !

Cheers!

About The Author

Jack Rousian is Entrepreneur & Business owner. The 28 year old Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Performance Enhancment specialist has been in the industry professionally for 10 years in Los Angeles, California. He is the founder of JRT Fitness a personal & athletic training service and is also a partner, CEO of Guardian Shield Insurance services, as well as a Patent holder. He is a blogger, and enjoys working on Startup Companies

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