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More Training Info > Patellofemoral Syndrome Cardio Options

Patellofemoral Syndrome Cardio Options

Q: I have been diagnosed with patellofemoral syndrome, but I also need to lose weight. What kind of cardiovascular exercises can I do safely? Also can I train for kickboxing or aerobic dance routines?

A: Patellofemoral syndrome (PFS) occurs when the patella is pressed against the underlying femur or when it tracks unevenly to one side of the groove (usually laterally). Irritation and abrasion of the underlying patella cartilage can result in inflammation and pain. To learn more about PFS, its causes, prevention, and how to stretch and strengthen the quadriceps, see www.bodyresults.com/e2patellofemoral.asp; for more on other acute knee pain issues, please see www.bodyresults.com/e2kneepain1.asp.

The types of cardiovascular exercises that would be safe for you depends on how much weight you feel you need to lose and how painful your condition is doing certain movements. Walking might be a great place to start, provided you have good sturdy walking shoes and can walk on relatively flat ground for at least 20 minutes without a lot of pain or discomfort. If walking hurts, perhaps a seated cardiovascular option such as a reclining or recumbent bike would feel okay. Swimming is another great option that would allow you to focus on the upper body rather than taxing the lower body. If biking and walking both cause further discomfort or inflammation, and you do not have access to a pool, a mild stretching and strengthening routine including some of the exercises mentioned in the above article (www.bodyresults.com/e2patellofemoral.asp) would be the place to start for a few weeks in order to try to reduce the discomfort.

Since kickboxing and aerobic dance routines can sometimes involve a lot of pivoting, twisting, and sudden movements (especially in kickboxing), it would probably be best, first, to a) build your aerobic and fitness base, doing some of the aerobic options and exercises above; b) get within at least 10-15 pounds of your target weight to reduce jarring impact on your joints; and c) try to eliminate most of the knee pain and inflammation, while d) building your leg strength to shore up the knees. However, that said, you may find it motivational to go ahead and at least try an aerobic dance class or kickboxing program, but be sure to tell the teacher ahead of time what your limitations are so that you can participate at a moderate level with moves modified to fit your needs.


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