Inflamed knee has made exercising feel impossible! Maybe swimming?

I have posted previously about having some problems with my knee when walking. It has gotten so much worse! I was only having pain after walking about 30-40 minutes. The pain would last quite awile (generally until the next afternoon) but then would feel better. I am now having pain constantly. Arthrotec and voltaren gel aren’t even making a dent. I tried walking two nights ago (with the pain) and when I hit the 30 minute mark it got so bad between my hip and knee that I was dragging that foot…couldn’t seem to pick it up high enoughto take a proper step. Decided to come right home, which should have been a 10 minute walk at best, it took me 40 minutes and I ended up vomiting on the side of the road. It was possibly the worst experience I’ve ever had!

I am making good progress on losing weight (down 17lbs in 5 weeks). Now I am very leery to attempt walking and I feel like this disease is trying to sabotage me!! I am waiting to hear from the rheumy for an appointment and it may take 6 months to get one. I’m thinking of trying swimming but am really worried that the resistance from the water will be painful on that knee. I hate to pay $75 for a monthly pass just to find out that I can’t do that either. Anyone had luck swimming with bad knee pain?

I haven't personally tried it, but when I asked my rheumie what exercises will have the least impact on me, the first thing she suggested was water exercises. I wonder if a local gym would let you try it out for a week or two (just the classes) to see how your body reacts to it. It doesn't hurt to ask :)

Unfortunately only one pool locally will let you pay per use ($5) and it is a very cold pool and the cold water makes me very stiff. It’s not a very enjoyable swim at all…but I might have to bite the bullet and try it to see how my knee feels.

Another question…although I know exercise is recommended to keep joints moving, should I rest it for a few days to get the swelling and inflammation down before attempting exercise again? Seems I recall being told by the rehab doctor several years ago not to exercise a badly inflammed joint, but that was a few years back so I’m not sure if I remember the rule of thumb correctly!

If I were you, I'd try to let the pain go down a bit. Maybe do some very light stretching at home to keep it moving. Maybe an dead sea salt or epsom bath? Those usually help with pain and of course help me relax :) I'm not a dr.. but I think your body will tell you if you are doing too much. Rest up a little and see if that helps before you jump in to some more exercise :)

Most rehab centers and larger PT practices have a warm water therapy pool. They are wonderful BUT, make sure you have a qualified PT set up your program and even then be aware there may be some problems. The combination of the warm water and buoyancy makes you feel almost super-human...... You can do a a lot. sometimes too much. My first session was WONDERFUL. It felt so good being able to do something "real" again. It was a huge morale booster. That is until it came time to get out of the pool. They finally brought the "crane" they use for paraplegics.

Unfortunately we don’t have a rehab center with a pool. Although one of the local hotels keeps their pool heat on fairly warm and sells monthly passes to use the pool as often and for as long as you want. I’ve frequently used them in the past because they tend to cater to an older crowd and as long as you avoid it on weekends it’s pretty quiet and relaxing. However it is expensive and I had stopped renewing my membership because they had a construction crew staying long term at the hotel and they were downright rude to everyone. (ie: thought it was funny to cannonball right next to other swimmers, making sexual comments to my daughter who was about 16 at the time, etc.). Complaints didn’t help because it was a huge contract for the hotel and all guests have access to the pool. That was a couple of years ago so I’m sure they are gone now.

tntlamb said:

Most rehab centers and larger PT practices have a warm water therapy pool. They are wonderful BUT, make sure you have a qualified PT set up your program and even then be aware there may be some problems. The combination of the warm water and buoyancy makes you feel almost super-human… You can do a a lot. sometimes too much. My first session was WONDERFUL. It felt so good being able to do something “real” again. It was a huge morale booster. That is until it came time to get out of the pool. They finally brought the “crane” they use for paraplegics.

I absolutely love swimming…I have been told by my hubby that I am part fish LOL. I live in an area that has about 20 public beaches (including the Atlantic ocean which is freezing even in July!). I am a two minute walk from one beach and I grew up in this area so swimming was a daily occurrence in the summer growing up.

The cheaper pool is way to cold for me though… It’s indoor and doesn’t even feel like it’s room temperature! Someday I hope to be wealthy enough to have an indoor pool of my own (it’s my pipe dream!). Of course in my fantasy world it’s always warm so I guess I’ll have to be really rich to afford to heat it! LOL

I don’t think we have any “water aerobics” classes here. I might have to look into that! I swim rather well and enjoy doing laps. Even just treading water in the deep end while chatting is a great workout!

I’m just not sure if my knee can handle the resistance of the water. walking around the house is painful at this point. I think both the joint and tendon are inflamed. You can’t even touch it right now without making it throb. I have no idea how to help it at this point since I’ve never had an issue with my knees before. Does a wrap help? I don’t have one here but would be willing to pick one up if it will help.

tkrlady said:

Believe it or not, i am flaring in the older knee revision. Mtx, and Remicade tomorrow, and will try reducing prednisone by 5mg.

I have an old fashioned wide ACE bandage on my knee today, and am moving around the house, attacking clutter, and it’s helping. Sometimes the ortho’s give u this knee sleeve, if it helps.

I got a poll that is close also, but cold water…but i used to go for water exercise classes…they have water walking classes, and water aerobics… I think after the initial shock of getting in the pool slowly, down the stairs…we eventually warmed up

we had lots of fun…instructor would do stuff, like have everyone walk around the pool , inside the water in a circle, and had some nice music on

then she would yell out ok, reverse your circle…was fun

and we had kickboards to float to the deep end, and would do some kicks, or had some flotation devices tucked under arms, and would do scissor kicks in the deep end…this was from the water aerobics class

I’m in my 60’s and i see older ppl going to water walking classes…makes me feel bad!

i would have to drive farther, and pay a lot maybe for a warm water pool…maybe in the spring!

good weight loss…you did…I am eating a lot of veggies, so fatty liver doesn’t come back…maybe 15 lbs los so far

and when i went to aerobics class, i was skinnier, and toned up legs.

i’m trying too

Have you checked with any health clubs in your area? Many offer a one-week trial membership (at least they do where I am). For example, the one my family and I belong to does this and during the one week trial, you can use all of the facilities and attend any of the classes offered. If you have any near you that do that, that would give you the opportunity to try out some of the classes, like water aerobics or yoga, to see if it's something you like and that you'll be able to do. Mine also has a spa, so if the warmer water provides you some relief, that would be an added benefit.

I'd suggest looking into the various weight-lifting workouts. You can get a light, interchangeable set for like $30.

A lot of people I've met (who are perfectly healthy) just lift three days a week as far any exercise goes. It will preserve lean muscle mass, since part of this disease involves the accelerated loss of skeletal muscle. Also, it might help with your weight loss goals by using calories/body fat to repair/build muscle, giving you a more "toned" look.

I "feel" your pain about walking, by the way. My main problem is my foot and toes killing me after like 15 minutes of regular walking--and I used to walk or run everyday. Ever since I've been dealing with PsA I've been doing the stationary bike for cardio--which I assume you've tried?

You can bike on your swollen knee... it will actually help temporarily, but maybe you said before that your hips give you trouble then.

Why is everything so bad?

Are you still waiting to see a rheumy?

I will try wrapping it today while Xmas shopping. I forgot that I had planned going with my daughter today. I have the wrap style one here (hubby had knee surgery last year). Hopefully that will help. Luckily it’s a light shopping trip into a few specialty stores so the walking is minimal. Hard to believe that the arthritis would set into your replacement…theres just no winning with this disease!

We don’t have any of those types of gyms here. We do have an “aquatic center” which I’m going to look into to see if they have some water aerobics. I didn’t think of yoga…that’s a great idea. I’ve got a wii here and think they have yoga for that. At least then I could try it before signing up for a class! Great suggestion…thanks!

I have free weights at home and have been using them for my upper body. I am still doing that part of my regimen to try to keep from losing muscle mass and get my arms more tone. I may try adding some sit ups to work on my stomach. I have to do them on my bed because the pressure on my si joints can get painful. I’m not sure how effective they are that way but it’s the only way I can manage them. I’ll deffinately keep up with the weights though. I’m a little worried about having numbness in my elbows after-word…but no much pain so I’ll keep it up =)

Andrew (you big sweetie!!)-
You are right…the rocking motion from biking makes my si very painful! I’m not sure why everything is so bad right now…it’s frustrating! At this point it seems like the PsA has invaded all my joints! I have never been this bad before…usually just my si joints, back, hips and hands. Now it seems to be everywhere…I sound like a bowl of rice crispies when I get up in the morning. I had another doctor appointment Tuesday and he was quite concerned that I hadn’t heard from the rheumy yet. He had gotten the Lupus test back and it was positive (it has been before thoughso that’s not new for me). However he did say that he couldn’t prescribe a DMARD because I have multiple issues. (I also have an autoimmune bleeding disorder called ITP). He said the rheumy had to decide what was best for me. He was actually quite friendly and has done a complete 180 in attitude!

Thank you all for your suggestions and support! I love this community!!

The knees and the hips are hard to deal with when trying to excerise, the pool really is a good place, I know that when I do excerise in a pool I do not have the same pain level, the impact on the joints is much lower. But you really would have to try it, and maybe even talk to your rheumie, explaining what your trying to do and what you should try. As for your question on rest, when inflammed I would be careful, you do not want to injure yourself, I did that once and it was awful, and my knee has never been the same since. Like you I walk alot and do the treadmill, Summer time I try to do biking and swimming more. What is so very important is preparation also, streching and muscle toning too, we lose so much that we need to prepare, so we do not hurt ourselves further. Hope this helps ...Hugs

I got recommended for hydro therapy, I saw a student physio who took one look at me and told me, I was obese so I couldn't use it. I have put weight on but that's because I've emphysema and asthma. I then was asked if I'd considered doing Yoga. I just looked at her and laughed, I can barely walk, have trouble getting off the sofa. So NO I don't think that's going to happen any time soon.

It’s hard to get weight off when exercise is so difficult. I’m doing pretty good, down 51lbs, using a website called It uses calorie counting, gives you a recommendation based on your height, age, weight, activity level and how much you want to lose a week. The app for smartphones lets you scan the barcodes on what your eating and enters it in for you. It’s working well for me. The forums on the site are full of young know-it-alls with no manners…so i would avoid that if you don’t have a thick skin. But the rest of the website is wonderful.

I got a treadmill so that at least when my hip and knee decide they’ve had enough i’m home. I find the flat even surface much easier on my joints. I’m still working at it and still waiting for my rhuemy appointment.

Hey Roni...I noticed you are in Canada as doctor gives me a prescription for 8% diclofenac in diffusamax gel (or plo gel, either works). You have to get a prescription for it, but it helps (temporarily though) with the inflamation. Voltaren gel is .50% diclofenac so you can see there is a BIG difference in the strength of the gel. I know they can't make this in the US as my mom is down in Pheonix for the winter and ran out, and the pharmacist there told her they can't even make it that strong there...don't know if that is true or not. Anyway, if you could get your doctor (GP or Rheumy) to get you a scrip for this, it might help you with your mom uses it on her knee quite a bit, and I use it on my hands....the relief is temporary but it does help bring down the inflammation.

Just a thought. If you need more specific information, email me. Have a great day.

Thanks for the info Dani! I should be hearing from the rhuemy this month… wait time is 6 months so gp thinks i’ll hear soon. I don’t go back to my gp until next month but i’ll ask him about it if i haven’t seen the rhuemy yet.