In the July/August 2014 issue of Healthy Living Made Simple we discussed some ways to work out around knee pain. Here, we will cover another option: water therapy.

Knee pain can greatly hinder your ability to participate in fun activities like running, jumping and playing sports, but it can also reduce your ability to do simple tasks such as walking up stairs or standing and watching your children or grandchildren play outside.

Knee pain can be a burden, to say the least. But there are options for lessening some of the discomfort you feel. For some, an easy and available approach to reducing knee pain is water therapy. During hot summer months cool water is a welcome relief, so why not add in some light exercise?

This type of physical therapy is an excellent exercise alternative for many reasons. One of the greatest benefits is the buoyancy of the water takes some of the pressure off your joints, making it easier to perform exercises you may not be able to do on land. As always, check with a physician before entering into an exercise program, especially if you have recently had surgery or experienced a traumatic injury.

Kevin Buchanek, a personal trainer based in Longview, TX recommends these exercises:

  • Hip swings – side to side, and forward and back (15-20 times each)
  • Leg kicks – keeping your upper leg parallel to the ground (15-20 times each)
  • Leg kicks – while holding onto the side of the pool or a kickboard (1-2 minutes)
  • Walking or jogging – if in a deep water an aqua belt will be necessary (20-30 minutes)

Keep proper form and work each leg evenly; increase speed or resistance as your strength grows. These exercises not only allow you to work out your knee with less weighted pressure, but they can also improve cardiovascular function, an important aspect of the healing process.

As with all exercise, warming up and cooling down is just as important as the pointed exercises; it is recommended to walk or high-step the width of the pool twice as warm-up and cool-down activities. Make it a goal to balance without the use of rails or other stabilizers. Better balance is a strong indicator of improved posture and stronger muscles, two aspects integral to reducing knee discomfort.

With patience and perseverance your knee can feel better. It can take multiple years to improve function, so don’t push it. Keep good form, go slow and steady, and exercise to your body’s ability daily. Reducing knee pain can change your life for the better, just stick with it and keep a positive attitude and you’ll be back to feeling better in no time.