Losing Weight Can Improve Knee Pain
“Your weight plays a major role in knee pain,” says Bush-Joseph. “If you walked around all day with a backpack that had a 10-pound weight in it, you would feel how achy your back, hips and knees are at the end of the day. That shows you the impact extra weight can have on your joints.”
With each step people take, two to four times their body weight is transmitted through the knee joint, according to Bush-Joseph. Thus, the more you weigh, the harder the impact is on your knee joint.
However, people who are overweight and have arthritic knee pain can lessen the impact and ultimately, relieve knee pain by losing weight. In fact, people with arthritic knees lose about 20 percent of their pain with every 10 pounds of weight loss.
“If you are 20 pounds overweight and you have arthritic knee pain, almost half of your pain will go away by losing 20 pounds,” says Bush-Joseph. Of course, losing 20 pounds isn’t easy. But, if people are able to lose even 10 pounds and add in some stretching and flexibility training, they’ll experience significantly less pain, according to Bush-Joseph.
Give Your Knees A Break
Pushing through the pain is something many of us have been taught to do, but when it comes to your knees, its a bad idea. The CDC says moderate pain means your body is asking for rest, so be kind to yourself and consider taking some time off your feet at least twice a day and dont overdo the exercises.
Excess Or Lack Of Movement
Here are some common and harmless activities that could cause pain at night:
- Changes in your workout.
- Walking or standing more than youre used to.
- A sudden bout of intense physical activity like moving to a new place.
In these scenarios, the pain at night usually lasts 2-3 days.
If the pain is severe or if youre limping, check with your doctor to make sure everythings okay.
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Strengthens Legs And Lower Body Muscles
Riding a stationary bike can help build strength in your legs and lower body, especially if you use a higher resistance.
The pedaling action can help strengthen your calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Additionally, it can work the muscles in your core, back, and glutes.
If you use a bicycle with handles, youll also be able to work your upper body muscles, including your biceps, triceps, and shoulders.
Lower Iliotibial Band Stretch
Lie on your good side, in a straight line along the edge of a bed so youre looking across the bed.
Hold on to the end of the bed with your lower arm for support.
Reach behind you with your upper arm and pull your foot to your bottom, as if you were doing a regular quads stretch. Keeping your foot against your bottom, gently increase the quads stretch by pulling your leg backwards. Youll feel it along the front of your thigh let yourself relax into this stretch.
Still holding this stretch, and making sure you dont tilt your hips backwards, now very gently push your knee down towards the floor.
At a certain point you should feel quite a sharp stretch down near the knee perfect for lengthening those tight soft tissues around the lateral aspect of the patella. Its important to keep your whole body in line and perpendicular to the bed during the stretch.
If youre lucky enough to be able to enlist the help of a patient friend, then ask them to place one hand on your hips and push down very gently! on your knee with the other. This produces a better stretch, since you can completely relax the leg as its being pushed down.
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What Causes Knee Pain
Knees top the list of common problem areas for pain, along with the legs, neck, and back, according to James Rippe, MD, a cardiologist and joint pain specialist.
Knee pain can be caused by a variety of factors, like a short-term injury from twisting your knee the wrong way during exercise. It could also be a sign of your joint cartilage wearing away over time from high-impact activities, like running on concrete.
Factors like inactivity, carrying too much body weight, poor posture, improperly treated injuries, and insufficient nourishment can all contribute to knee pain, Rippe says.
And if your pain is interfering with daily activities, youre not alone. About one in four Americans now has severe joint pain related to arthritis, according to the CDC. A 2013 study also reported a 162-percent increase in knee replacements over the last 20 years. Messier SP, et al. . Effects of intensive diet and exercise on knee joint loads, inflammation, and clinical outcomes among overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritis: The IDEA randomized clinical trial. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2013.277669
Luckily, by taking better care of your knees throughout your life, starting as early as your twenties, you can strengthen them and potentially save yourself from years of daily pain and discomfort.
Our Specialized Knee Pain Treatment
At Aurora, our orthopedists are committed to providing compassionate care for knee pain. We offer:
- Emphasis on prevention: A healthy, active lifestyle can help you prevent knee pain and painful joints. Our primary care doctors can help you maintain orthopedic wellness and prevent injuries at every age.
- One of the largest health care providers in Wisconsin: If your knee pain becomes serious, your doctor can immediately refer you to the right specialists and resources. Thats because our large team of experts is connected by a single, fully integrated health system.
- Seamless chain of care: Whether you need orthopedic specialists, primary care doctors, integrative medicine providers, physical therapists or a combination approach, our providers work together to give you the best care possible.
- Top-tier specialists: Our expert team includes over 70 orthopedic surgeons, many of whom are fellowship trained. This team sees many people for orthopedic care and joint replacement surgery, which translates to deep experience in treating all types of orthopedic problems including knee pain.
- Faster, more advanced surgery: We offer leading-edge treatments that arent widely available elsewhere. Many of these treatments involve minimally invasive surgery options, which can help you recover faster. Learn more about minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery.
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Benefits Of Knee Strengthening Exercises
The Arthritis Foundation state that exercise may be the most effective way to treat osteoarthritis without surgery, while the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons note that strong and flexible muscles can keep knees healthy and prevent injury.
Knee strengthening exercises do not affect the knee joint directly, but they strengthen the muscles surrounding it. Strong muscles in the legs can help provide support for the knees. This support may alleviate pressure and strain on these joints, which can relieve pain and help a person be more active.
The following exercises can help strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee. If a person experiences pain during these exercises, they should stop doing them and speak to a doctor. Anyone with severe knee pain should consult a doctor before trying to exercise.
It is best to warm up with light exercise before starting any knee strengthening exercises. Examples of gentle exercise include walking, cycling, and using an elliptical machine, all of which put minimal stress on the knees. This activity will help increase blood flow to the muscles and allow them to be more flexible.
Muscles involved: Quadriceps and abdominal muscles.
Do: Watch Your Weight
Extra pounds add strain to your knees and raise your risk of painful arthritis and injuries. Even moderate weight loss can ease the strain. If you need to drop a few pounds, set a goal to lose just 5% of your current weight over the next few months. Talk to our doctor about nutrition, and physical therapy options.
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How Knee Pain Can Affect You
Knee pain is more common as you get older, due to years of wear and tear, if you are overweight , or if you play sports. Because your knees are vital to movement, knee pain can stop you from playing sports and make it difficult to carry out simple activities, such as walking and climbing stairs.
Area : Posterior Knee Pain
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Pain behind the knee is far less common, and much more straightforward. Its almost always due to over-extending the knee.
- Bike-specic problems to look for: a saddle thats too high or too far back, although these are just as likely to cause pain further up the hamstrings.
Persistent pain behind the knee should be looked at medically to exclude a Bakers Cyst.
Named after the chap originally describing them and nothing to do with making bread, theyre a harmless bulging of synovial uid into the space behind the knee. Your doctor can discuss treatment options with you.
Lack Of Sleep Makes Pain Worse
It can be easy to get stuck in a cycle where you cant sleep because of knee pain. That lack of sleep can actually make your pain worse. Sleep is vital for healing and rejuvenation. Without sleep, you have less energy to expend on healing as you need to focus your bodily processes on staying alert and awake.If nighttime knee pain causes you to toss and turn, you may end up accidentally further straining your knee by sleeping in an uncomfortable position.
Knee Pain Trigger Exercises: Relieves Tension In The Muscles On The Back Of Your Thighs
Place the trigger on the floor and sit with your legs extended. Put one leg on the trigger and start triggering the individual tender point.
When the pain slightly subsides, alternate bending and extending your knee.
Tip: you can also perform the knee pain exercise on a chair. The pressure will be a little more intense.
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How Can I Relieve My Pain
When knee pain emerges, how can you ease the ache? Try these at-home measures:
- Switch up your routine: Stop doing the activity that brought on your knee pain, if possible. If youve been jogging, for example, try biking or swimming instead, which are easier on knee joints.
- Rest: Avoid putting weight on the affected knee.
- Apply ice or heat: Cold packs several times a day for 20 minutes at a time can reduce inflammation. Applying heat may increase blood flow to the area and feel soothing, Dr. Kissin says.
- Compress: Wrap the painful knee snugly but lightly in an elastic bandage or thin knee sleeve.
- Elevate: When possible, rest with your affected knee higher than your heart.
- Medicate: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen can reduce pain and swelling.
What Are Some Common Knee Problems
Many knee problems are a result of the aging process and continual wear and stress on the knee joint . Other knee problems are a result of an injury or a sudden movement that strains the knee. Common knee problems include the following:
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Types Of Stationary Bikes
There are generally three different types of stationary bikes: upright, recumbent, and dual-action. Each one offers slightly different benefits.
Depending on your fitness level, joint health, and workout goals, you can focus on just one bike, or for more variety, you can try all of them at different times.
What Are The Signs Of Arthritis
- Joint becomes stiff and swollen, making it difficult to bend and straighten the knee
- Pain and swelling is worse after sitting or resting for long periods of time
- Vigorous activity increases levels of pain
- Deformities of the knee
- Loose fragments of cartilage and other tissue may interfere, causing the knee to lock or stick during movement
- Feelings of weakness and buckling of the knee, poor range of motion
Diagnosing your knee arthritis early can help you seek treatment and therapies that relieve pain and preserve your ability to move without pain or difficulty. Knee pain can also indicate that you have osteoporosis, in which your bones lose their density and become more fragile. This condition can cause pain and discomfort similar to that caused by arthritis. If knee pain is interfering with daily activities more frequently, see your doctor as soon as possible to test for more serious conditions.
Clinical Contributors To This Story
Yair Kissin, M.D. contributes to topics such as Orthopedic Surgery.
Whether youre jogging, squatting or even taking a long drive, knee pain can strike. Perhaps surprisingly, its not just vigorous movements that can produce pain in and around the knee, but also everyday happenings that require sitting for long periods with knees bent, like watching a movie or riding on an airplane.
Common activities that trigger knee pain include climbing stairs, running and certain sports that involve quick changes of direction, such as basketball, football and soccer, says Yair Kissin, M.D., vice chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center. A lot of people, regardless of age, want to maintain their high levels of activity, which is great. But sometimes they hurt themselves that way.
Staying Motivated If You Have An Injury
Being injured can be very frustrating. If you’re new to running, you might be tempted to give up at the first sign of injury.
Andy says that having a specific goal, such as a 5km race or charity run, will help you stay motivated through injury.
“If you have something to work towards, you’ll be much more likely to get back into running once you’ve recovered.”
Running with a partner is also a great way to stay motivated. If they carry on running while you’re injured, you’ll want to get back out there once you’re better as you will not want to let them down.
Page last reviewed: 20 June 2018 Next review due: 20 June 2021
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What Not To Do:
- Do not lock the knees during this exercise. The knees should remain slightly bent.
- Do not allow any part of the stepping foot to hang off the stool or platform.
- People who have issues with balance should not perform this exercise.
Muscles involved: Quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles.
There are many different ways to stretch the hamstrings in the back of the legs. One is through traditional toe touching.
- With the feet close together, slowly bend over at the hips and extend the arms downward. Keep the legs straight but do not lock the knees.
- Reach the fingers to the top of the toes and hold for 30 seconds.
- Initially, it may not be possible to reach the toes. In this case, try to get the fingers as close as possible to the toes without causing pain.
What not to do:
- Do not use a bouncing motion. Hold the body still.
Warm Up And Cool Down
It’s essential to warm up properly before you start running. Five to 10 minutes of brisk walking or gentle jogging before you start will warm your muscles up and help prevent injury.
To cool down, carry on running at an easier pace or walk for 5 to 10 minutes. This will help your body recover after your run.
See Tips for new runners for more information about warming up and cooling down, as well as running technique.
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Change Your Sleep Position
Try these sleeping positions if you have knee pain at night:
- If youre a back sleeper, place a pillow under your knees and/or feet.
- For side-sleepers, place it between your knees and/or feet.
- If you sleep on your stomach, bend the affected knee.
These variations help you keep your knees bent which, in turn, will reduce the strain within your knee joint.
Try different heights, adding more pillows or a rolled towel. Test until you find the right amount of knee flexion for you.
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Get Both An Upper And Lower Body Workout
An elliptical machine with handles is one of the few cardio machines that can provide you with both an upper- and lower-body workout. The key to maximizing the upper-body benefits is to distribute your weight and resistance evenly. In other words, pump your arms just as fast as youre moving your legs.
When done correctly, the elliptical can target your glutes, hamstrings, quads, chest, back, biceps, triceps, and core muscles.
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