Sports Medicine Specialist Questions Gout in Knee

Is it okay to exercise with mild knee pain?

My husband has gout and mild knee pain due to it. Is it okay for him to run on the treadmill given his medical condition? Should he try a different exercise?

3 Answers

While exercising does expose the knee to some wear and tear, the lack of exercise is far more detrimental. Low-impact aerobic exercise in moderation is usually beneficial. Exercises to keep his weight down may actually help minimize the wear and tear on his joints.

Assuming his knee pain is not from another cause, running on a treadmill in moderation is reasonable. He may want to consider even lower-impact exercises such as swimming.
If your husband has gout then you have most likely received that diagnosis from your primary care physician. With that said, you probably further understand that gout is a build up of uric acid in the body and can cause acute painful episodes when the excess acid crystallizes in joints or tendons. One should not exercise during these acute episodes as it will likely worsen the inflammatory response to the gouty crystals which can intensify the symptoms and prolong the gouty “attack”.

Exercising at other times is actually recommended. The benefits of exercise certainly outweigh the risks but must be done in moderation and sensibly. If your husband has mild knee pain following treadmill running then he may be experiencing some joint damage the gout has created over the years. Running is considered high impact and he should consider changing to a low impact activity like walking, bicycling, swimming, elliptical or stair climbing. These low impact exercises will likely provide good aerobic activity without the high impact to the joints and will help reduce exercise-induced pain and chronic damage.

Good luck!!
Absolutely! I would, however, suggest smooth, in-control activities rather than heavy impact ones. Avoid sharp or worsening pain. Make sure he is in a solid, stable shoe.
Generally speaking, motion and strength far outweigh the problems of a weak knee.