How to Lose Weight When You Have Knee Injuries

Knee injuries range in severity and they can be either chronic or acute. Being overweight or obese is actually a risk factor for arthritis, which often afflicts the knees. Even with a knee injury, the approach for weight loss is still the same. You need to make alterations to your diet and follow an exercise program. The difference is that you have to choose forms of exercise that will not cause stress or further damage to your knees.

Woman kneeling down and holding her knee after running. (Image: lzf/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Eat less. Limit your intake of calories to promote weight loss, but do not overdo it. The National Institutes of Health recommends that women should not go lower than 1,200 calories a day and men should go no lower than 1,500 calories a day.

Step 2

Eat beans, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and fish. Adjust your current food choices, substituting the high-fat, empty calorie foods with ones that are high in nutrients. Eliminate the burgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, sausage and pepper hoagies and cream-filled doughnuts from your diet.

Step 3

Stop drinking alcohol. Give up all forms of liquid-calorie beverages that you currently consume to spare yourself calories. Opt for water instead, as it is not only calorie-free, but it also helps hydrate the body. Have a glass with your meals to fill up your stomach.

Step 4

Consume healthy snacks during the day to keep your metabolism elevated and hunger satisfied. Carry fresh and dried fruits around with you for quick snacks, or stuff a high-fiber granola bar into your purse or briefcase.

Step 5

Work out on an elliptical machine to burn fat and increase your caloric deficit. Elliptical training is less stressful on your knees, hips and back than running on a treadmill, according to the Step on the pedals, grab the poles with your hands and move your arms and legs back and forth in a gliding motion. Aim for 30 minutes of elliptical training at a time when you first start out and gradually increase to 60 minutes when your aerobic capacity improves. Work out four or five days a week.

Step 6

Workout with weight machines like the chest press, shoulder press, back row, triceps extension and biceps curl to build as much muscle as possible without placing stress on your knees. Aim for 10 to 12 reps, do four or five sets and work out two or three days a week. Take short rest breaks in between your sets to keep your heart rate elevated. Every pound of muscle you add to your body burns 30 to 50 extra calories per day, according to the University of Michigan Health System.

Things You'll Need

  • Elliptical machine

  • Weight-training machines


Talk to your doctor before you engage in a new exercise and diet plan.

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