Is SUP Good for Knees? Or Should You Avoid It If You Have Bad Knees?

Can you go paddle boarding with bad knees, or, as many people ask: Is SUP good or bad for the knees?

Of course, the fun and the adventure that you enjoy from stand up paddle boarding is hard to resist if you love water sports.

However, if you have ever had knee surgery, or you have recu  rring knee pain, you might be wondering whether you can paddle board with bad knees.

Well, that is what we are going to explore here.

Believe it or not, when you are paddling, your knees are involved in a big way. Therefore, we find many people asking whether they can SUP with knee injuries.

So, can you go paddleboarding with bad knees? If your doctor says that your knees can handle the stress, go for it. Also, do balance exercises, since they will help you to make fluid motions when standing up from kneeling and sitting positions. Also, know your limits and do not over-stress your knees.

How the knees help when you are paddling

can you go paddle boarding with bad knees

It is very important to know the role that your knees play when you are paddling. They easily are the most involved part of your body when you are on the board.

The best stance for the knees is to keep them slightly bent forward. That way, as the board bounces along, they can absorb every bounce. They also carry the weight of your body easily that way.

Keeping the slightly bent posture makes the knees your super shock absorbers. Thus, any impact on the board is not going to harm the knees.

If anything, the work they do to keep you on the move in such bouncy conditions improves their health. It also improves the health of your lower limbs in general.

When you may paddle board with bad knees    

When you are paddleboarding, you will find that there is a lot of kneeling on the paddle board, especially in your first days of training.

Therefore, you need to be sure that your bad knees can handle the strain that comes with kneeling and standing up frequently.

Therefore, only go for stand up paddle boarding with bad knees when you do the following:

1. Your doctor has okayed it

This is the first thing – talk to your doctor and if they say you can do it, go right ahead. If it has been some time since you got knee surgery, your doctor is going to allow you to participate in this lovely sport.

The good thing is that paddle boarding is a low impact exercise, actually with lower impact to your knees than a treadmill or even an indoor spin bike.

Therefore, If the doctor has said you can do it, go for it without fear. It can even help your knees to heal faster.

2. You have been swimming without aggravating your knees

Swimming has a lot of impact on your knees because that is where you get the power for your kick. Therefore, if you are a victim of knee injury, and you have been swimming without feeling the effect, you can enjoy SUP without knee paddle board issues.

Also, remember that stand up paddle boarding has no age maximum age limit. As long as you are strong enough to stay afloat, you can paddle board even in your twilight years.

3. You can do exercises for balance and knee pain

Stand up paddle boarding is all about balance, even when you are learning paddle strokes on your knees. Therefore, you can engage in exercises that improve your balance.

For instance, you can do the one leg stand workouts. Stand on the left leg for 30 seconds, then alternate to the right leg and do as many reps as you can.

You can also practice rising up smoothly from a sitting or kneeling position to your legs. The more you practice, the better you will become at it.

You cannot become too good at stand up paddle boarding. Therefore, every time is a learning experience.

4. You can try different ways to use the paddle board

image of stand up paddle boarding balance

Using the SUP board requires you to kneel often on the board. However, if this aggravates your knee pain, you know you cannot do it. Therefore, you want to try a few things.

For instance, get a wider board for knee paddle boarding. That way, you can sit down on the board when you need to take the pressure off your knees. This will also be easier than kneeling.

You might also try kneeling on foam pads rather than directly on the board. That way, you give your knees a softer landing.

Learning how to paddle board sitting down is harder than when kneeling on the board. However, one of the benefits is that you will engage more muscles than when kneeling.

The learning progress will be slower, but it will compel you to work out more muscles.

Know your limits when paddle boarding with bad knees

The secret to paddle boarding with bad knees is to know your limits. No matter what you do, do not over-strain yourself.

This is not the time for you to go paddle boarding in the river. You need to try the calmer waters. You don’t want anything that will cause you to strain too much.

Since you will be depending on your knees for balance on the board, do not paddle board in wild rivers.

If you start to feel tired, just stop and go back to the shore. You can always pick up later after your knees are rested.

Try calmer lagoon waters.

So can you go paddle boarding with bad knees?

First, talk to your doctor. Secondly, do not strain too much. If you feel tired, take a break.

Is SUP good for knees?

Actually, SUP is good for every part of your body. Therefore, it is good for your knees too. And I will show you why.

When you get into your senior years, you start having trouble with balance and posture when standing, or walking.

But when you start paddling, the bouncy nature of the sport will require you to get your balancing act together. So you get better with time, and your knees get stronger.

Paddling is not only good for the knees, but for other leg issues. For instance, in the article on: Is paddle boarding bad for your back, we saw that SUP can help with lower back pain, sciatica and other issues.

In the same way, it can help with the knees and with your hip problems. However, if you have had knee or hip surgery, wait until they have healed completely.

Because this water sport is very easy on your joints, you can actually have extreme fun, paddling long distances and stuff, without affecting the joints.

Like swimming, it is a low-impact exercise, and yet paddling burns many calories. If you would like to work out every muscle group of your body, pick up SUP.

Also check my past posts on:

Are Inflatable Surfboards Any Good?

Are Cheap Paddle Boards Any Good?

Easy Eddy 3 Piece Modular Paddle Board Review

The SUP Brands to Avoid Buying

What is a characteristic of a Type III life jacket for paddle boarding?

Wrapping it up

Your knees play a big part when you are paddling on your 4 inch or 6 inch paddle board. They carry most of your weight and they help in keeping your balance on the board.

Therefore, it will be hard to go paddle boarding with bad knees. Wait until you have healed completely, especially if you have had surgery.

Even then, start easy so that you can give your legs time to get used to the work. Do not go for wild waters paddling. That can wait for later. You can also do leg strengthening exercises like lunges, squats, jumps, hops, and more.

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