Can You Workout with Kidney Stones?

If you’re dealing with kidney stones, you may be wondering if it’s still safe for you to workout. Here’s what you need to know.

What are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts that can form in your kidneys. They are typically the size of a grain of sand, but can range in size from small grains to large stones. Kidney stones can be very painful and cause severe discomfort. In this article we will look into what kidney stones are, potential causes, and whether it is possible to work out with them.

Types of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form in the kidneys. They can develop when the concentrations of certain chemicals, such as uric acid, oxalic acid, or calcium increase in the urine. Depending on their composition, kidney stones may appear a variety of colors — from yellow to brown — and come in a range of sizes. Generally, they are either round or jagged.

There are five major types of kidney stones: Calcium Oxalate Stones, Uric Acid Stones, Struvite Stones, Cystine Stones and Drug-Induced Kidney Stones.

Calcium Oxalate Stones are the most common type and they form when calcium combines with oxalate (a substance found in certain foods like beets or green leafy vegetables). Uric Acid Stones form when there is too much uric acid (uric acid is produced when purines break down) present in the urine. Struvite Stones are most often caused by an infection with symptomless bacteria; these bacteria also cause an alkaline environment which causes rapid growth of stone formation. Cystine Stones are a rare type but usually run in families as this is a genetic condition; this type causes cystine to build up in the urine which then leads to crystal formation leading to stone formation. Drug-induced Kidney Stones can form after long-term use of some types of medications and supplements like topiramate (an anti-seizure drug).

Having any amount of kidney stones present can cause pain or blockage within the urinary tract. If you suspect you have kidney stones and/or abnormal levels on your medical report consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program or intensifying any existing ones.

Causes of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones form when certain substances in the urine crystallize and become highly concentrated. These substances are primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, citrate and oxalate. If the balance of these substances is disturbed, for example due to dehydration or an excess of animal protein in the diet, it can cause a stone to form.

In addition to dietary factors, people with certain diseases or who have recently had surgery may be at an increased risk for developing kidney stones. Certain metabolic disorders such as hyperparathyroidism can lead to an imbalance of minerals that can result in kidney stones.

Some medications can also increase the risk of kidney stone formation; antacids containing calcium, diuretics and medications taken after organ transplants such as cyclosporine may put you at a higher risk for developing a kidney stone. Additionally, people with gout or a family history of this condition are also more likely to develop stones than those without this predisposition.

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are a common condition that affect millions of people each year. They are small, hard deposits of minerals and salts that form in the kidneys and can cause a lot of pain. Symptoms can include pain in the lower back, side, or groin, nausea and vomiting, and bloody urine. It’s important to know the symptoms of kidney stones so that you can seek treatment and make modifications to your lifestyle if necessary.

Pain and Discomfort

Pain and discomfort are the most common symptoms of kidney stones. Generally, these symptoms may include abdominal pain, flank pain (pain in one side of your body between the upper abdomen and the back) or groin pain. Pain associated with kidney stones can range from mild to severe, depending on their size. Additionally, you may experience nausea or vomiting if a pain episode is especially acute.

Other associated symptoms can include burning sensation with urination, or a pinkish or brownish tint to the urine (blood). Depending on where a stone is stuck in the urinary tract, some people also experience frequent urges to urinate. Additionally, fever and chills may occur if an infection is present in the urine alongside the stones—a condition often referred to as pyelonephritis.

It should be noted that not everyone who has kidney stones will have noticeable symptoms; in some cases other medical tests may be required to detect them. In any case, if you suspect that you have kidney stones it is best to talk with a doctor so they can guide you towards an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.

Other Symptoms

Aside from the hallmark symptoms of kidney stones, there are a variety of other issues that can occur as a result. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include:
– Blood in the urine
– Abdominal pain or flank pain
– Urine tinged with red, brown or pink due to the presence of blood
– Nausea and vomiting
– Fever and chills
– Cloudy or malodourous urine
– Trouble urinating
– Intense urges to urinate without producing any results
If these symptoms accompany sharp lower back pain, it is recommended to seek medical care immediately. Delaying medical attention can worsen the condition and lead to severe health issues. Even though it might be uncomfortable, it is important to know all your treatment options before proceeding with one, so an open dialogue with your doctor is essential.

Diagnosis of Kidney Stones

If you suspect that you have kidney stones it is important to get a proper diagnosis. There are multiple tests to diagnose kidney stones, including an imaging test such as an ultrasound, X-ray, or CT scan. Also, a doctor may order a blood and urine test to detect chemicals that may indicate the presence of kidney stones. Once diagnosed, you will be able to determine whether or not it is safe to workout with kidney stones.

Imaging Tests

Imaging tests are used to diagnose kidney stones, as well as other conditions that may be causing pain. Common imaging tests used to identify the presence of kidney stones include X-rays, ultrasounds, computer tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

X-rays produce an image that is projected onto a film or displayed on a computer. In X-rays of the abdomen and back, an opaque kidney stone will appear as white spots on the film or on the computer display. The disadvantage of using X-ray imaging is that only large stones can be seen — smaller stones may be missed.

Ultrasound uses high-energy sound waves to create images; it’s widely used to detect smaller kidney stones in the urinary tract. Most ultrasonography techniques involve sending sound waves through a probe into your body, which then reflect off the structures and back out of the probe to generate images similar to those seen in X-ray films.

Computer tomography (CT) scans use low doses of radiation for diagnosing medical conditions. CT scanners can take detailed pictures inside your body by combining many X-ray images taken from different angles around you — this minimizes any movement artifacts that might interfere with radiographic clarity, providing more accurate information than an X-ray would provide alone.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses strong magnets and radio frequency pulses which create signals that are detected by detectors and then converted into images on a computer screen. MRI scans are extremely useful in looking for small kidney stones located in places other than the urinary tract; they also provide clear pictures if larger abnormalities such as blockages or tumors exist along with any stone formations.

Treatment of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are a common medical condition that can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. It is important to seek medical attention in order to properly diagnose and treat the condition. Treatment options will vary depending on the size and type of the kidney stones. Understanding the treatment process can help you make informed decisions about your health, and this article will discuss the available treatments for kidney stones.


Medication is sometimes used to reduce the pain associated with kidney stones and to treat infections which may be caused by them. Pain relief medications, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help relieve pain but should only be taken as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. It is important to take your medication as prescribed and not increase or decrease the dosage on your own.

In some cases, medications that are designed to break down kidney stones are prescribed. The most common type is called alpha blockers – these work by relaxing the muscles in the wall of the urinary system so that stones can pass more easily. These medications typically take several days to become effective, and work best for smaller stones that are easy for urine to flush out of the body.

If there is an infection associated with a kidney stone, antibiotics may also be prescribed. Your doctor may also recommend that you drink more fluids than usual when you have a kidney stone in order to help flush it out of your body more quickly. In most cases, it will pass spontaneously within a few days or weeks on its own, even without intervention from medication.


Surgery remains an option for people with kidney stones, particularly for those whose stones are too large or too complex to pass on their own. Depending on the size and location of the stone, your doctor may recommend a traditional open surgery or one of several minimally-invasive methods.

In open surgery, a doctor makes a single large incision in the abdomen and removes the entire stone from the body. The traditional open approach requires significant recovery time and runs risks such as infection and bleeding associated with any major surgery.

Recently, new treatments have made it possible to break up larger stones with technology such as lasers or ultrasound waves while they’re still inside your body; this eliminates the need for major surgery. This is done via cystoscope (endoscopy) — a thin tube passed into the bladder and up through your urethra — or in some cases, can be done laparoscopically via keyhole incision through your side or bellybutton (umbilical). Recovery times are greatly reduced with these forms of minimally invasive treatments. Your doctor will advise you about your best treatment options based on size, location, type of stone and other factors present in your case.

Exercise and Kidney Stones

For those living with kidney stones, managing the condition with exercise can be a great way to alleviate some of the symptoms. Exercising regularly can help to reduce pain and discomfort, and make it easier to pass stones. However, there are some precautions to consider when exercising with kidney stones. Let’s take a look at what you should know before you hit the gym.

Benefits of Exercise

Exercise may be beneficial to patients with kidney stones, and many studies have supported the notion that regular physical activity can reduce one’s risk of developing kidney stones. Research shows that those who exercise more have a lower risk of developing all types of kidney stones. Exercise has also been shown to be associated with a lower risk of stone recurrence by decreasing stone-forming substances in the urine.

Along with reducing one’s overall risk for forming new kidney stones, regular exercise can help reduce the size and number of existing ones. Studies suggest that moderate intensity exercise, such as biking or running for at least 1 hour each day helps break down small kidney stones once they form and prevents larger ones from building up in kidneys or other parts of the body. Exercise increases overall body circulation, which helps move urinary crystals quickly through your system and out through your urine rather than allowing them to form larger stones along the walls or floor of the urinary tract. Therefore, it is important for those suffering from existing renal calculi to engage in a comprehensive program of light-to-moderate exercise.

Additionally, higher muscle mass helps expel additional fluid when urinating which increases urine output – further aiding excretion of waste products like opioid drugs (which can cause high levels in urine that may produce a lithogenic effect). Thus, people attempting to avoid Nephrolithiasis should incorporate an adequate fitness regimen into their lifestyle as soon as possible; this is especially true for those suffering from recurrent stone formation due to genetic disorders or malfunctioning organs (such as kidneys).

Types of Exercise

If you have been diagnosed with kidney stones, there are various types of exercise that you can do while managing the condition. However, it’s important to note that each type of exercise has its own risks, benefits and goals.

Light intensity activity such as walking, low-intensity jogging, biking and swimming can help to increase strength and muscle tone while providing stress relief. Low-impact activities like Yoga or Pilates are also good choices as they involve multiple ranges of motion in order to engage your muscles. This type of exercise is ideal for people who need a low-impact workout but still want to achieve an increased heart rate and improved muscle tone.

Moderate intensity exercise like moderate jogging, running or playing sports such as tennis or basketball are suitable for individuals who have a slightly higher endurance level than those who prefer light intensity activity. Moderate intensity activity will help to improve cardiovascular health while also strengthening your muscles through the use of more dynamic movements.

Higher-level intensity workouts such as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), plyometrics and circuit training involve quick bursts of movement interspersed with recovery periods for a higher intensity workout option, perfect for experienced athletes.

Prior to any form of exercise it is important to discuss with your doctor whether it is safe for you to participate in physical activity due to the nature of kidney stones and any associated risks involved in strenuous physical activity.

Precautions to Take

While it can be safe to exercise when you have kidney stones, there are some precautionary steps you should take in order to reduce the risk of complications. Depending on the size and type of stone, your doctor may advise you to rest until it passes naturally or discuss surgical intervention. Additionally, it is important to stay well hydrated during your workout and avoid strenuous activities, such as contact sports or jumping rope.

It is also important to be aware of other possible negative side effects from exercising with kidney stones. For example, certain exercises may cause increased abdominal pain or discomfort, which could be a sign of infection. Furthermore, dehydration can lead to further complications from kidney stones as the body’s filtration system strikes a balance between removing waste products and retaining fluids.

It is best practice to speak with your physician about any concerns or questions you may have about exercising with kidney stones. They can provide more information about specific exercises that are safe for you and let you know what level of activity is appropriate for your particular situation. Additionally, they will likely recommend adjusting your diet accordingly in order to reduce your risk of future kidney stone episodes while still achieving optimal results from exercise.


In conclusion, it is possible for individuals to take part in exercise when they have kidney stones. Low impact activities such as cycling, swimming, and walking are all safe forms of exercise for people with chronic kidney stones. It is important that someone with kidney stones check in with their doctor before beginning or continuing an exercise routine. A physical therapist may be able to help a person whose mobility has been limited due to their condition design an appropriate program that meets their individual needs. Additionally, any modifications to the chosen activity should be made in order to reduce discomfort and pressure on the affected area caused by exercising.

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