Many people suffering from knee pain may not be exercising properly. There is an assumption that a low-impact session that will go easy on the knees won’t give a high-intensity cardio workout with discourages people from working out. This, however, is likely to cause further injury.

In fact, there are a number of ways to get a good cardio workout without causing additional pain or damage to your knees. Of course, you should always consult with your orthopedic surgeon or Florida physical therapist regarding any exercises you do after a knee injury or surgery.


Since running or jogging may not be the best option, walking (including speed walking) is a good low-impact cardio workout if you keep a brisk pace. Just be sure that you wear shoes that give you good support and that you stretch before beginning your walk. Start out on walking on flat surfaces, and then you can progress to hikes once you’ve built up your walking muscles.

Swimming/Pool Exercises

Swimming is actually one of the best forms of exercise for people with knee problems. You can burn a lot of calories quickly and work all of your muscles. Just be sure to avoid kicks that place stress on your knees and don’t push off from the wall. While you’re in the water, you can improve your workout by doing water aerobics, jogging in place, and doing resistance training using water weights.

Elliptical Machine and Bicycle

While at the gym, you’ll want to avoid running on the treadmill. However, you can burn calories just as well on an elliptical machine. Since your feet remain on the pedals, you’re far less likely to injure yourself.

While you’re at the gym, try a traditional stationary bike. This type of bike can help burn calories and increase endurance and are preferable because they engage more muscles and burn calories faster. Of course, a good old-fashioned outdoor bike ride is great too!

Low-Resistance Circuit Training

Low-resistance circuit training involves moving from one machine to the next with little or no time resting in between. This keeps your heart rate up, burns calories and builds muscle strength. As your legs gain strength, the muscle tissue increases and your knee pain should decrease. Just be careful not to overdo it.

Other Exercises

There are plenty of exercises you can do at home to build strength and flexibility without doing further damage to your knees. If you keep up the pace and do enough reps, you can get a good cardio workout. These include step-ups, partial squats (NOT full squats, which are bad for knees), lunges, calf raises and scissor kicks.

“Body-weight” exercises are becoming increasingly popular because they require you to rely on your own weight rather than on a machine or on weights for resistance. Traditional exercises, such as sit-ups, pull-ups and push-ups, are examples of body-weight exercises.

At Southeast Orthopedic Specialists, our orthopedic sports medicine professionals will tell you that keeping the body strong after an injury or surgery is essential to healing. Our physicians and physical therapists work with our patients to develop the best exercise regimen for their unique situation.

If you’re suffering from knee pain, you don’t have to let it diminish your quality of life. Call us today or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation to find out how we can help you get back to a more active life.

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