Should You Exercise With Knee Pain?
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Should You Exercise With Knee Pain?

Young Man Outside Suffering With Knee Pain

Are you suffering with long term knee pain that is preventing you from being active and getting your workouts completed on a regular basis?

Do you feel lost, overwhelmed and confused about how to exercise safely with knee pain, and worried about making the problem worse or doing incurable damage?

Well our physical therapist team have worked with hundreds of people struggling with knee pain when exercising, and fortunately, we can recommend safe exercises for you whilst you treat the root cause of the knee pain so you can stay active.

We understand that exercise is important to you and you don't want to stop working out.

After all, exercise does the body good and not only helps us physically, but helps us mentally (by releasing endorphins, our body’s natural pain killers) to work through the stressors of normal life.

Should You Exercise With Knee Pain?

If you have problems with your knees, but love to work out it can be difficult to know what to do...

Should you exercise with knee pain? Or should you rest whilst you get treatment?

The answer depends on a number of factors such as the cause, and severity of your knee pain.

However, we regularly treat knee pain sufferers who love to keep active with running, sports and exercise classes and we always try to avoid stopping patients from doing what they love.

In the short term, your knee may benefit from a reduced amount of exercise, to allow for recovery and for our treatment to take effect.

If this is the case, our physical therapy team are able to help you understand how to exercise safely with knee pain so you don't miss out on the sports and exercise that you enjoy.

If you are anxious and worried about exercising and fearful that you could be creating a bigger problem that leaves you needing painkillers or injections in future, we recommend arranging a FREE knee pain consultation at our Crofton physical therapy clinic. In this visit, you can speak to a member of the team, and have your questions answered about your knee pain, and understand the options so you can exercise without knee pain.

4 Ways To Exercise Safely With Knee Pain

In our experience, these are the safest ways to exercise is you are suffering with knee pain, and something that our patients often do to stay active whilst receiving treatment to address the real reason for their persistent knee pain.


  • If you are a lap swimmer, it’s great to get in the water and swim some laps. If you are feeling knee pain while swimming, try some laps where you focus on your arm strokes instead of your legs to give them a break
  • If you are not a lap swimmer, but still enjoy the water then try walking in the water forwards, backwards and sideways. You can also do walking marches across the pool and leg kicks to the front, back and sides for more ideas
  • Remember that we are unweighted when in the water, so limit your workout to about 20 minutes or less if you are just starting up your workout routine again


  • Biking can be an excellent option when you have knee pain because it will not only help to strengthen your muscles, but it will also help your range of motion to improve in the knee joint
  • Biking will also help reduce stiffness in the knee joint
  • You can use a stationary bike, alter the resistance and use a guided workout if you want a specific program or just listen to some music as you spin your legs


  • Walking can worsen knee pain as you are working through your challenges, but the elliptical can be a great alternative to walking
  • You can alter the speed and add in your arms for a full body workout

Balance Retraining

  • We use our knees, hips and ankles to help improve our balance and provide our body a more stable base of support to stand on
  • Practice balancing on one leg and count how many seconds you can do this before you lose your balance (make sure that you have something to hold onto in front of you in case you lose your balance OR have someone in your household stand behind you to make sure that you are safe)
  • If balancing on one leg is too easy, try closing your eyes to make it harder (make sure to have someone or something to hold onto in case you lose your balance)
  • You can also put one foot in front of the other with your heel touching the front of the back foot to balance
  • You can stand on a pillow or unstable surface to make your balance systems work more
  • You can also test your balance by turning your head from side to side

If you are sore after any of these new activities, make sure to put ice on your knee for about 10 minutes to reduce any swelling inside the joint and decrease your pain.

If you feel unsuccessful with your workouts and want more individualized guidance on a program when you have knee pain, call us to Arrange A Free Knee Pain Consultation with one of our specialist physical therapists who treat knee pain on a regular basis. If you prefer to speak to a member of the team from the comfort of your own home, Arrange A Free 15 Minute Telephone Consultation.

If you are ready to see someone that can help you get rid of your knee pain, exercise with fear of making the problem worse and enjoy an active life, then call us at 410-782-3152 or inquire about cost and availability to discover the fastest route to pain-free exercise.

Looking forward to helping you remain active and enjoy your life without knee pain dragging you down!

Shaina Clemons

Other Helpful Tips To Ease Your Knee Pain And Stay Active

Download Our Free Knee Pain Report - Learn Quick And Easy Ways To Stop Knee Pain Naturally, Without Prescription Drugs Or Injections

Read Our Blog - What Does My Hip Have to Do with My Knee Pain?

Read Our Blog - Are Squats Bad for My Knees?

Follow Us On Social Media - Breakaway Physical Therapy Facebook and Breakaway PT Instagram

Shaina Clemons

Shaina Clemons

Shaina is the founder and owner of Breakaway Physical Therapy.  She received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Maryland Baltimore, along with a Bachelor's degree from Towson University.   Shaina is an Ironman triathlete, with a love of all sports. Exercise is her passion, which plays an important role in both her personal and professional life.  In her free time, Shaina enjoys spending time with her husband and three young children.  Shaina's love of snowboarding led her to her career choice many years ago. 
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