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The Elliptical Hurts My Knees

author image Melanie Greenwood
Melanie Greenwood has been a freelance writer since 2010. Her work has appeared in "The Denver Post" as well as various online publications. She resides in northern Colorado and she works helping to care for elderly and at-risk individuals. Greenwood holds a Bachelor of Arts in pastoral leadership from Bethany University in California.
The Elliptical Hurts My Knees
Elliptical machine Photo Credit: joegolby/iStock/Getty Images

Though elliptical trainers usually provide low-impact exercise, you might have knee pain during or after use. A short stride length or machines that do not have articulating pedals may lead to ungainly and unnatural movements which could lead to knee pain. Learn which kinds of pain can be resolved by making a few adjustments and which ones call for a doctor's visit.

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Find the Right Fit

Your knees might hurt when you use an elliptical trainer because your machine is a bad fit for you. The American College of Sport's medicine brochure on selection and use of elliptical trainers stresses that a safe machine is one properly fitted for your size and range of movement. If you're working out on a gym machine, gym staff can show you how to adjust it for your size, and you can use that information to adjust a home machine. Adjust the stride length in particular.

Proper Posture

Posture is another reason using an elliptical trainer might hurt your knees. To avoid straining your joints, you should always maintain an upright posture, and there should be no risk of your knees hitting the console, the American College of Sports Medicine says. Also, you should not have to reach too far while using the machine. If your upper body is out of alignment, it can throw your lower body out of alignment as well.

Overuse Injuries

The elliptical trainer might hurt your knees because you're using it too much. Working your body too hard can cause a number of knee problems, especially if you've failed to properly warm up or cool down, says the MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, a service of the National Institutes of Health. For example, bursitis -- inflammation of the knee -- can result from overuse.

Post Workout

Stretching after a workout can minimize the potential for knee pain from overstressed muscles. Muscles can tighten and shorten after an aerobic workout, so it's critical to spend time lengthening your leg muscles through static forward bends, either seated or standing.

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