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What to do if your knees hurt during or after exercise?

Joint pain is a very common problem, especially among athletes and people who play sports unprofessionally, but regularly. Why does this symptom occur? Is he dangerous? And how can you fix it?

The essence of the work of joints when doing exercises

To find out the causes of pain, you need to understand the essence of the work of joints during physical activity. In general, the joint plays the role of a kind of mechanical hinge that ensures the mobility of the limbs. And during training, rather complex exercises are usually performed, involving monotonous movements and many repetitions.

As a result, the cartilage tissue that protects the joints from abrasion begins to gradually wear out, which is why problems arise. In a normal state, the human body is able to restore such tissues by producing special substances glycosaminoglycans. But if the training is intense, and the load is increased, then these substances simply do not have time to be produced, which leads to premature wear.

What causes joints pain?

So why do joints hurt during or after exercise? Here are the main reasons:

  • Increased loads. If the training is intense, then the cartilage will wear off very quickly, and the joints, of course, will begin to wear out.
  • Improper exercise performance. If you do complex movements incorrectly, then the load on the joints can increase several times, which will lead to overstrain and, as a result, to pain.
  • Diseases of the joints. There are many diseases of the articular tissues that lead to their inflammation or even destruction. These include, for example, arthrosis, arthritis and others. By the way, not only the elderly, but also young people are exposed to such diseases today, so no one is immune from them.
  • Injuries. Even if the injury was received several years ago, it can be felt for a long time, and sometimes for a lifetime.
  • Lack in the body of substances necessary for the normal functioning and restoration of joint tissues.

Risk areas

So which joints hurt the most?

  • Knees. The knee joints work almost constantly, and not only during training, but also in normal daily life, for example, when walking. And in the gym, they are constantly involved. And that’s why these joints wear out faster than others.
  • The ankle also suffers quite often, since the load on it is also very high, especially while running, jumping rope, squatting, and so on. Wearing the wrong and uncomfortable shoes can make the situation worse.
  • The shoulder joints are often painful for those doing strength exercises such as lifting a barbell or dumbbell, push-ups, butterfly machines, and so on.
  • Elbow joints can also suffer from strength training, as they are also involved in weight-bearing exercises.
  • The hands sometimes hurt in bodybuilders, boxers, wrestlers and weightlifters. And the wear of the wrist joints is associated with an incorrectly selected weight or an irrational distribution of the load.
  • Hip joints hurt much less often, and mostly in professional runners.

How to solve a problem?

What to do if joints hurt during or after training? First of all, you need to find out the causes of pain. To do this, you should consult a doctor and undergo a complete examination.

Measures can be as follows:

  • If the cause of pain is arthrosis or arthritis, then treatment should be started immediately. With an exacerbation, anti-inflammatory drugs are usually prescribed, such as Nurofen, Diclofenac, Ibuprofen and some others. In addition, chondroprotective agents are recommended to protect the joints from further destruction, as well as to restore them. Only a doctor should select any drugs. Physiotherapeutic procedures are also often prescribed, for example, electromagnetic therapy, shock wave, ultrasound, and so on. Among other things, you will have to reduce the load during the treatment.
  • If there is a premature erasure of the cartilage, then it can be stopped. How? Replenishing the reserves of glycosaminoglycans, which are responsible for the restoration of cartilage tissue. The body synthesizes these unique substances from two components: glucosamine and chondroitin. They are also produced in the body, but, fortunately, they can enter it from the outside. So, today there are dietary supplements based on chondroitin and glucosamine, which allow you to replenish stocks and start the process of cartilage restoration. The effectiveness of such funds is proven and high, but in any case, you should start taking them only after consulting a doctor.
  • If increased loads are the cause of pain, then they will have to be reduced. It is not worth training “for wear and tear”, it will not lead to anything good. Reduce the number of repetitions, choose simpler exercises in which the joints will not overextend.
  • If you are worried about the consequences of an injury, then this may indicate that the tissues have not recovered. And some drugs and procedures that trigger regeneration can help speed up the process of their recovery. So go to your doctor and talk about your problem so that he can prescribe an effective treatment.


Only timely prevention will help to avoid problems. Here are its main measures:

  1. When playing sports, be sure to monitor the correctness of all exercises. First, all movements should be controlled by an experienced coach who will be able to correct all mistakes in time. Then you should practice in front of a mirror in order to master and memorize the exercises and bring their execution to automatism.
  2. Choose the appropriate exercise based on your health, fitness level, weight, and a few other parameters. In general, an experienced trainer should draw up a training program. Only he will be able to objectively assess your capabilities and select effective, but safe exercises.
  3. If you are injured, even if it seems to you that it is minor, see your doctor. So, serious damage to cartilage or joints can be mistaken for a banal injury. And if you continue to practice in the same rhythm, then the situation will only worsen. The stress on the damaged joints will inevitably lead to pain.
  4. Do not overexert yourself while exercising. If you feel excessive tension in the limbs, then take a break, or at least move on to another exercise that does not involve the same joints.
  5. You should not practice too often, namely every day, or even more so several times a day. For a reason, professional trainers advise you to go to gyms two or three times a week. It is these intervals between workouts that will allow the body to recover and replenish the reserves of glycosaminoglycans that are responsible for the restoration and normal functioning of cartilage.
  6. Remember to warm up before exercising. It will help warm up and prepare your muscles, joints and cartilage.
  7. Proper nutrition is also extremely important. First, the diet should include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (they make joints and cartilage more elastic and function as a natural lubricant). And they are found in some vegetable oils and fatty fish. Secondly, you should use gelatin, which consists entirely of natural collagen (and collagen is the main component of cartilage tissue). Thirdly, do not forget about the calcium contained in fermented milk and dairy products.

May your joints be healthy and strong!

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