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  • Dr. Melody Medley-Keith

Do You Suffer From Knee Pain With Activity?

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

Oh my knees hurt. It is a common occurrence when starting any activity.

As a physical therapist for over 25 years, I hear this so often from my clients.

What can you do when your knees hurt with activity?

When your knees hurt many people try OTC (over the counter) products to help with knee pain, but the first thing to try is exercises. Yes, I know how can I exercise when my knees hurt?

Here are just a few ideas for those of you who have knee pain with activity.

  1. Use recumbent bike to warm up the knees prior to activity.

  2. Stretching routine each and every day to help your knee health.

  3. Use heat to get the blood flowing prior to activity.

  4. Get into the pool to walk.

  5. Walk! for short periods of time, start slow.

What did you say? Walk! Yes a new study by Dr. Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo, an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston reports “Everyone’s always looking for some kind of drug. A new study says that walking, just might be the real solution.

The research suggests that exercise could help manage pain in your knees and other joints, Dr. Lo added, like those in the hips, hands and feet.


For decades, health experts saw walking primarily as a way to boost cardiovascular health, said Dr. Elaine Husni, a rheumatologist at Cleveland Clinic. In recent years, though, doctors have looked to low-impact workouts to treat conditions like depression, cognitive impairment and mild osteoarthritis. But this new study from Dr. Lo shows that walking can also act as a preventive measure, Dr. Lo said, and suggests that people who are at higher risk of developing the condition may want to incorporate a regular walk into their routine. For instance, Dr. Lo herself said that, based on her findings, she should walk more, as her mother has osteoarthritis.

Those of you who are already have knee pain with activity pain should be careful to not overdo exercise, but that you should try walking. As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I recommend that people start with a small, short walks, gradually building up distance over time. The goal of the exercise is to provide muscular support to the knees, let the joints, tendons and tissues become acclimated to the walking.

Here are my other suggestions;

  • Warm up use of a stationary bike or floor bike

  • Stretch before starting an activity such as walking

  • Stay on flat or softer walking surfaces

  • Wear good supportive shoes and use inserts to help support your foundations

  • Utilize walking poles - trekking poles

  • Allow some time to take breaks as you start your new walking program

  • Use cold packs after activity

  • Stay consistent each and every week/day

If you are interested in getting started helping your knee pain and you are just not sure of where to start. Call us here at Lakeway Aquatic Physical Therapy, we can help get you on your way to less knee pain. 512 261-0620.

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