This is in the "never healed - bad knee surgery" category.
Female. 46, 5'10", don't know body fat: Generally good except lately-have
mini tire, otherwise can do elliptical (though found out through your website
that I should not rely on it for cardio).
What to do at home?
I may quit the gym due to cost, and I probably use too many machines at gym,
though very limited in extension: 1 1/5 #s bad side, 2 1/5 on the other (beat up
from working too hard for bad one for 25 years).
Oh yeah, I had the old bad 7" scar knee surgery after a dance slip and fall
They didn't know what they were doing, performed a retinacular release and
re-attachment of something. There was so much discussion, I hardly
remember, ACL, medical collateral?
Then I had arthroscopy for grade 4 chondromalacia. Must be grade 10 by
now! Can't straighten my leg all the way with grimacing through a bad line up
through the knee.
The guy at the gym couldn't help me at all except to tell me NOT to do 100
reps of low weight extensions even though it was the only way I could maintain
ANY muscle. I think I'm a lunge-type of gal! Can't run.
Downhill is torture.
If lunges can only be performed 1/2way, meaning only part way down toward
the floor (due to pain, bone grinding and catching, and weakness), are they
still useful, and is there any chance of causing damage doing a "truncated"
Sorry to hear about all of your knee issues, must be extremely frustrating.
The elliptical is a great cardio machine. The negative aspects of being
non-impact does not apply to your situation. Remember your cardio
intensity is based on your heart rate.
Monitor your heart rate and try to push yourself constantly to improve and
your body will thank you by losing fat and appearing more tone. If your
elliptical does not have one, you can pick up a heart rate monitor at your local
sporting good store or online at places such as amazon.
Always Perform Exercises Within your Envelope of Function
The previous statement was from a physician who operated on a client's knee.
It may sound slightly complicated but it simply means, if it hurts, don't do it.
It sounds like your knees will never make a full recovery. The #1
priority for your knee injury exercise selection should be prevention of any
more knee problems.
Your chondromalacia which is an overuse injury characterized by softening
under the knee cap, may have been due to compensation from the the previous
surgery. Nonetheless, make sure you avoid letting your center of
gravity/femur travel forward during your lunges.
You can read about why on the Best
Leg Exercises page. Your half way lunges are still a great
exercise and in no way will cause muscle imbalances. Again, if anything
hurts your knee (more than usual) don't do it.
As far as exercises you can do at home, you will most likely be able to do
bridge exercises such as the bridges on the floor (right) and on exercise balls.
Isometric contractions (no muscle lengthening or shortening) of your leg
muscles are good to help maintain muscle mass. Try to squeeze your muscles
under resistance at different joint angles to get the most benefits.
The guy at the gym was right. Isolating a muscle for 100 reps will most
likely cause muscle imbalances as well as overuse injuries.
Stick to functional exercises within your envelope of function such as the
lunges which you seem to enjoy and give different bridge exercises a try with
proper form. Always ask your doctor before you attempt anything new as