When To Call Your Doctor
If your pain and swelling are gettingworse and you can no longer put weight on your knee, see your doctor. A simpleX-ray can show if there is osteoarthritis and, if needed, an MRI scan can checkfor meniscal tears or loose chips of cartilage.
Arthroscopic surgery can sometimes remove loose cartilage. Partial or total knee replacements are other surgical options, especially for those who can no longer stay as active as theyd like. Sometimes computer assistance is used for some complicated knee replacements.
Surgery is a last resort, though,says Dr. Nickodem. Its something to consider when nonoperative treatmentsarent helping.
Strengthen The Muscles Around Your Knees
While it is often tempting to avoid exercise and movement when your knees hurt, sometimes that isnt the best solution. Certain strengthening exercises can actually alleviate your current pain and prevent future problems by giving the knee extra support.
The Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons notes that strong, flexible muscles help keep the knees strong and healthy.
Consult your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen, especially if you are in pain. Once you are cleared, consider doing leg lifts, hamstring curls, step exercises, chair dips, or wall squats to strengthen the muscles throughout your legs.
Anatomy Of A Healthy Knee
The knee joins the largest bone in the bodythe femurto the tibia. The bottom of the femur, or thigh bone, is connected to the tibia by a cap-shaped piece of bone called the patella, or knee cap. Each of these bones is covered with a thin, smooth coating called articular cartilage.
There are two tough, rubbery pieces of cartilage between the femur and tibia. Combined, these pieces of cartilage are called the meniscus, and act as shock absorbers between the two bones.
The four main ligaments that help control movement and support the joint are the anterior , posterior , medial , and lateral cruciate ligaments. The entire knee is also surrounded by a fluid-filled membrane called a synovial membrane. This membrane produces a fluid that lubricates the cartilage in the joint to reduce friction during movement.
It can be difficult to maintain this joint when each step you take puts about one-and-a-half times of your body weight worth of pressure on it. This is why it’s important to take care of your joint early to prevent knee damage.
An active person takes about 10,000 steps each day. This means that each knee is shouldering about 5,000 steps every single day. For an adult weighing 150 pounds, each knee joint bears about 225 pounds per step, or more than 1.1 million pounds per day.
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When To Seek Medical Care
If you experience joint pain, applying a cold pack to the affected joint may help reduce pain and inflammation. Acetaminophen and other non-steroidal inflammatory drugs can also help relieve occasional arthritis pain. Over-the-counter creams and ointments may offer some relief as well. However, if you find you’re reaching for these regularly, it may be time to talk to your doctor. Treatment for osteoarthritis usually includes physical therapy to strengthen joints and improve or maintain function, and sometimes prescription drugs or injections to the joint to relieve pain. In certain cases, surgery may be warranted and can help reduce the pain.
Even if you can’t completely prevent arthritis, you can take steps to prevent it from getting in the way of a full and active life.
When To See A Doctor
You should see a doctor whenever you have knee pain thatâs constant, nagging, or severe. If thereâs swelling and you canât bend or put weight on your knee, itâs probably time to make an appointment, DiNubile says.
âIf you have knee pain — real knee pain that doesnât go away in a couple of days or a week or two — you should probably see your doctor and figure out if thereâs something going on,â Valaik says.
Not all knee pain is the same. Thatâs why itâs so important to see a doctor to diagnose it, DiNubile says.
âYou need to have a specific diagnosis, and then, depending on that diagnosis, youâll have different treatments,â he says. âThe number-one thing is to get it checked by somebody who is knowledgeable with knees. Usually, thatâs going to be an orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine specialist.â
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Benefits Of Leg Exercises For Seniors With Bad Knees
Leg exercises that are good for bad knees will surely strengthen the latters muscles. Seniors who constantly and/or regularly do these kind of exercises will improve the flexibility of the muscles around their knees. Without a doubt, alleviation and then lost of knee pain is very much possible! Moreover, bear in mind that these exercises are also working the other body parts such as the hips and butt. Meaning that the lower body will really be toned to its best condition. Think of these exercises as hitting as many birds as you can with only one stone!
See Dr Ahmad For Your Knee Pain
Dr. Ahmad is a board-certified pain physician who offers treatment for knee pain in Charlotte, NC. At Advanced Sports & Spine, we utilize a holistic, integrative approach to sports medicine and pain management. In addition to using the latest, most advanced technologies, we offer non-surgical, non-opioid treatment options. Treatment plans may also include dietary or exercise changes.
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Want To Stay In Good Health As You Age Take Care Of Your Joints
Strong joints keep you active, which can help you maintain your health as you age
Ensure your joints are in prime condition with diet and exercise
If you need to treat joint issues, look for a reputable orthopedic center
As you get older, you may develop new sensations in your joints, whether its a tightness in the hips or a popping sound in your knee while you are using the stairs. Those kinds of changes are often normal. However, they can serve as a reminder about the importance of joint health as we age, not just in terms of preventive care, but also for finding a top-notch facility if you do need to look into treatment or hip or knee replacement.
Staying active is important not just for your musculoskeletal health but also for your health in general, says Kevin Khajavi, MD, Chief of the Orthopedic Department at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, California. People who are able to exercise and be active have better cardiovascular stamina, lower risk of diabetes, increased lung function and less risk of obesity. Exercise is also crucial for muscle tone, flexibility and balance.
The best thing people can do for overall joint health is to keep their muscles as strong as possible, Dr. Khajavi says. As I tell my patients, their muscles are shock absorbers for their joints. The weaker the muscles, the more pressure that puts on their joints…which can often lead to pain with activities.
If Youre A Smoker Quit
Smoking and tobacco use are risk factors for everything from cardiovascular problems to cancer. Smoking can hamper your joints, too.
Because smoking increases inflammation throughout your body, it can make it harder for your body to recover and heal from an injury, Dr. King says.
Obviously, its not easy to give up smoking for good. But consider this: Within eight hours of quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal and the oxygen levels in your blood increase.
If youre thinking about quitting, plan ahead and seek support to increase your chances of success.
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Prone Straight Leg Raises
This exercise will target your calf muscles, hamstrings, and glutes. This is a straight leg raise thats similar to hamstring curls. The only takeaway and challenge here is that theres no bending of the knee.
First thing to do is to lie on your stomach while your legs are straight. Next, raise one leg up and then hold it for about five seconds. After that, move you heel towards your glutes without bending the knee. Then repeat again and youre also going to do the same on the other leg. Perform these as per the recommended number of repetition by a fitness professional.
Photo Credits: Healthline
Things You Can Do To Extend The Life Of These Essential Joints
by Stacey Colino, AARP, Updated December 3, 2019
En español | If you’ve walked, jogged and hiked this far without any major knee trouble, there’s more you can do than thank your lucky stars. A few basic steps can help you protect your knees as you age.
Besides being the largest joint in the human body, the knees are unique in that the motion involved is very complex, says Sanjeev Bhatia, an orthopedic sports medicine surgeon and codirector of the Northwestern Medicine Hip and Knee Joint Preservation Center at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Illinois. The knee has three compartments, any of which can cause pain with wear and tear.
With the passage of time, a certain amount of wear and tear on your joints is inevitable. But it doesn’t have to affect the way your knees feel, function or move. If you experience a clicking or popping sensation in the joint when you walk, bend or lunge, but there’s no pain or swelling, you don’t need to worry about it, says Dennis Cardone, D.O., an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and sports medicine at NYU Langone Health in New York City. On the other hand, if you have pain or swelling with that clicking or popping, it’s best to schedule a visit to your doctor.
Otherwise, to minimize your risk of experiencing pain, stiffness and inflammation in your knees, take these steps to protect these essential joints.
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Improving Range Of Motion Muscle Strength And Weight Control Can Help Reduce Pain And Make Your Knees Feel Younger
Knee pain is common in older age, often caused by osteoarthritis . Fortunately, there are ways to fool Father Time and postpone knee problems or even prevent them entirely. “In many cases, you can delay or avoid the need for surgical intervention, such as a knee replacement,” says Dr. Lars Richardson, an orthopedic surgeon with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
How To Make Knees Stronger
The large muscles of the leg all support the knee. Symmetric and good strength in these groups provide our knees adequate support as we walk, climb and move. Exercising as we age is essential in keeping our knees healthy and strong. Here are a few simple exercises you can do to reduce the effects of aging on the knee.
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Replace Energy Drinks And Soda With Water
Water makes up about 80% of your bodys cartilage . If you dont stay well-hydrated, your body will pull water from cartilage and other areas, Dr. King says, which can wreak havoc on your joints.
His advice: Replace soda and energy drinks with water. This will help deliver better hydration to your joints and heart.
Not sure how much water you should consume? Listen to your bodys cues: Make sure you have water available at all times. When you feel thirsty, drink. And increase hydration during hot weather and when exercising.
How To Preserve Knee Cartilage
Luckily, several at-home remedies to safeguard your knees have been scientifically proven to give these all-important joints the boost they need to stay strong, healthy, and injury-free. Here are the best things you can do to prevent your knees from getting hurt and to keep yourself physically healthy for as long as you can.
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Is Arthritis Preventable Tips For Keeping Your Joints Healthy
Is arthritis preventable? Tips for maintaining healthy joints: As we age, many people begin to experience arthritis in their joints.
While you may not be able to fully prevent arthritis, you can take steps to prioritize joint health and alleviate arthritis pain.
Is arthritis preventable? It depends. While some wear and tear on your joints is an inevitable part of life, you can take steps to maintain joint health and help reduce the symptoms of arthritis as you age.
Stay Strong As You Age With Pelvis Exercise
Why its important
Pelvic floor muscles, the sling of muscles that connect the pubic bone and tailbone, are responsible for maintaining sexual, bladder and bowel function, supporting organs and facilitating the actions of the spine and legs. Women are susceptible to weakness in this area, particularly after childbirth.
We tend not to concentrate on these muscles, says Amy Stein, a New York physical therapist who specializes in pelvic pain and is the author of Heal Pelvic Pain. But any dysfunction in the pelvic floor could cause dysfunction in the bowel or bladder, such as incontinence, and painful sex.
Exercises that work
Dr. Sheila Dugan, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, recommends two exercises for pelvic muscles. Lie on your back with bent knees, feet on the floor, and then smoothly draw in lower belly muscles as though you are wearing a girdle or corset. Hold for a count of five, then slowly release. Do 10 of these twice daily.
For a second exercise, lie on your back, and lift the internal pelvic muscles in and up for a count of five, then slowly lower for a count of five. Repeat as often as possible during the day.
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Tips To Protect Your Knees As You Age
Your knees bear a lot of weight as well as a large responsibility for your ability to effectively get around. They also contain a lot of moving parts, from ligaments and cartilage to muscles and bones, that can become damaged either from injury or the natural wear and tear of age, making it difficult to stay active and enjoy everything life has to offer.
Fortunately, Dr. Struan Coleman is an expert in preventive joint care and offers the following tips to help you protect your knee joints as you age:
Variables That Can Make Running Harder On Your Knees
However, there are a few variables that can make running hard on your knees. These include:
- Bad form.Good running form is complex and nuanced, but the basics are looking ahead and maintaining good posture and your arms at 90-degree angles while taking quick strides with mid-foot strikes. If you strike the ground with your heel, youll be prone to knee pain.
- Bad shoes. Especially if you run long distances, finding the proper shoe for your gait and foot is key. Factors like the cushion level, arch support, and width of the running shoe are important. If youre able, visit a local running store and have your foot fitted properly.
- Rigid surfaces. Many find running on softer surfaces like grass or a treadmill better than running on asphalt or cement. Running is high impact, and research has shown that softer surfaces like a woodchip trail may reduce impact on the tibiae and thus the knees .
Bad form, lack of strength, bad shoes, and running on surfaces that are too hard have the potential to make running harder on your knees.
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Optimize Your Movement Patterns
For athletes, the benefits of such preventive programs are clear. For the average person with for now no knee pain, its more debatable. Its also a philosophical question, Dr. Roos said: theres a risk of over-medicalizing life by spending all your energy trying to prevent problems that havent yet happened.
But there are some relatively unobtrusive ways of tilting the odds in your favor, even if youre currently healthy. Dr. Roos suggested focusing on high-quality movement patterns during day-to-day activities like getting up from a chair: use both feet and no hands, and keep the knee and hip aligned over the foot. Apply similar focus to climbing stairs and sitting down on the toilet if you cant keep the joints aligned, thats a sign you need to strengthen your leg and hip muscles.
How To Protect Your Knees During Exercise
Ask your doctor: Before you start a new exercise plan to strengthen your knees, get approval from your doctor or fitness trainer. Not all of the exercises mentioned above are suitable for every individual. Having a professional who knows your medical history advise your exercises can help save you any risk of a knee injury.
Always warm up first: Dont rush into difficult exercises right away. Make sure you warm up with some walking, light moving around the room, or stretches. You want to loosen your body up to get ready to exercise.
Be consistent: Its okay to start small and then work your way up to bigger, more skilled exercises. As long as you stick with a plan and move your body regularly, youll likely see results and feel the benefits over time.
Start slowly when working out: You have to start somewhere when pursuing exercises for your knees. Dont expect to automatically need to run or do leg presses that feel too difficult. Begin with side steps, step-ups, leg flexions and calf raises. These will give you a decent workout until you feel ready to move on to more strenuous exercises. Track your progress and be proud of the abilities you already have.
Use proper form: Remember, there is an optimal way to carry out each movement to protect your body from harm. Learn the proper form to get the most out of each exercise.
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