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I am a person who is plagued with a bad knee. Football took its toll on me from playing it in my younger years, and now its left me with some lasting knee discomfort. I'm likely somebody who will get a knee replacement 15+ years down the road when the discomfort becomes pain, and then when the pain becomes agony. I'm trying to delay that unfortunate looking future. In terms of being proactive about it I've taken to exercising the muscles around the knee to strengthen it. I've always tried to mix in some cardio (heart muscle needs exercise like anything else does), but I'm fearful that pounding the pavement will be unkind towards my knee as well.

Lately I've been looking at cardio that doesn't involve running, but a friend of mine mentioned looking further into softer shoes and treadmills to stay running (few things can beat a runners high). His theory is that softer shoes could help absorb some of the impact of running, and also they make treadmills that have adjustable softness levels too. https://www.treadmillreviews.com/nordictrack-commercial-1750-treadmill-review/ (halfway down the article it details it a little further)

I'm wondering if the combination of these two things would actually reduce the impact and possibly preserve my knee for the long run? (pun slightly intended)

  • If you want something completely nonimpact, I would recommend the original Pilates on the reformer, cadillac and wunda chair, at a dedicated Pilates studio. FYI: Many people will try to steer you to mat pilates. In my opinion the mat based form of Pilates is an inferior substitute for the equipment. That statement will upset some people, but I stand by it. You should find an authentic Pialtes studio that is fully equipped. – Chris Apr 18 at 3:14
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    I would agree with Lux to have an evaluation by a physical therapist with corrective treatment and exercises to really be proactive. They can help determine whether or not running is appropriate for you and what footwear/equipment would be best. Strengthening specific core and hip muscles may help protect the knee. If running is not advised, low impact exercises as mentioned here may help fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/19463/… , but do get professional instruction first for best results. – BackInShapeBuddy Apr 18 at 10:19
  • Seconding the idea of getting it imaged or checked out by a physical therapist. A "bad knee" is really not a useful diagnosis. Knee surgery has advanced big-time in the last twenty years. – Eric Apr 19 at 19:59
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I too suffer from joint pain from injuries in my youth, though it's my hips and shoulders. I figured that I'd need hip replacements within the next decade.

It may be beneficial to visit a physical therapist or rehab center. If your experience is anything like mine, you may find out that the damage isn't nearly as bad as you thought and they can give you specific stretches and exercises to help get your muscles in working order.

Definitely keep moving too, even if it's just walking. I've gone from a sedimentary lifestyle (office job, netflix binging, etc) to going to the gym regularly last month and already I'm noticing an improvement in pain/discomfort levels from being active.

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