Posted by: Peppie | 2009-01-19


Doc, could you give me advice on exercises to strengthen the quadriceps please. I have osteoarthritis in my knees and have been advised to strengthen the thigh muscles to take pressure off the knees. BUT the problem is most of these exercises hurt my knees. I can only do straight leg lifts and exercise bike with low resistance (50 watts). All the squats, lunges, and machines cause severe pain and the next day my knees are so swollen that I can' t bend them. It' s a catch-22. Do you think bike and leg lifts would be enough?

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Our expert says:
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Hi Peppie

Squats and single leg squats are pretty good, though given your condition, you need to be careful that you don't overdo it. If you do, then you can aggravate it, as you've seen. I think you might need to consider unloading the knee during the squats, and doing them with body weight only - you suggested in your question that you use machines. With how much weight? Perahps simple body weight is the way to go. Also, do a half squat, don't go down too deep and see if that helps. Alternatively get on the leg press machine and make the weight about 20kg, which is much less than body weight. You don't need to worry about not stressing them enough, because your body's cut-off point has been decided for you. So just find that point where the pain doesn't happen, and train at it. Cycling is also good, I'd keep that up.

Good luck

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