Exercise And Knee Pain
If your knee pain is due to an injury, surgery, or arthritis, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises may help ease the pain while also improving your flexibility and range of motion.
Exercising a knee thats injured or arthritic may seem counterintuitive, but in fact, exercise is better for your knee than keeping it still. Not moving your knee can cause it to stiffen, and this may worsen the pain and make it harder to go about your daily activities.
Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises can strengthen the muscles that support your knee joint. Having stronger muscles can reduce the impact and stress on your knee, and help your knee joint move more easily.
Before you start an exercise program for knee pain, be sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist to make sure the exercises are safe for you. Depending on your situation, they may recommend some modifications.
Dont Let Stiff Knee Pain Hold You Back
Having stiff knee pain can prevent you from regular movement. This can really alter your quality of life at times. Being able to get active and perform daily activities shouldnt be burdened by knee pain. Perform these exercises a few times a day to strengthen the key knee muscles.
Stiff Knee Pain Treatment
Stiff knee treatment focuses on reducing pain and inflammation and regaining knee flexibility and mobility. In the early stages of knee stiffness, particularly after a knee injury, following PRICE principles can really help:
- Protect: the joint from further damage, e.g. with a brace.
- Rest:from aggravating activities, but keep the leg gently moving so it doesnt seize up.
- Ice:regular ice treatment can help reduce swelling and therefore knee stiffness.
- Compression: specially designed bandages such as tubigrip help to support the knee and reduce swelling.
- Elevation: keeping the leg elevated helps excess fluid in the joint to drain away.
You can find out more about each of these in the PRICE treatment section.
Further treatment for a stiff knee will usually involve:
- Exercises: Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Medication: to get any pain an inflammation under control
- Dietary Changes
- Physical Therapy
Check out our article on How To Improve Knee Flexibility for loads of great ways to reduce knee stiffness and regain knee motion range.
There are various supplements that claim to reduce the symptoms of a stiff knee, particularly with arthritis.
The most popular ones include omega-3, glucosamine and chondroitin which can help to improve knee joint lubrication.
You can find out more about how taking supplements can help to reduce knee stiffness and how they work in the supplements section.
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What Are Risk Factors For Knee Pain
Biomechanics: The knee joint is complicated in its operation and is used frequently throughout the day. Any change in the movement of the joint can cause subtle changes and cause pain and injuries.
Excess weight: The stress on the knee joint is increased with excess weight. Obesity also increases the risk of knee osteoarthritis as the cartilage breaks down more rapidly.
Overuse during repetitive motions as are found during certain exercises or work conditions can cause breakdown of cartilage and lead to pain.
Leg Track Triggering Muscular Tissue Pain As Well As Swelling Behind The Knee
A condition called tennis leg can also create discomfort in the back of the leg behind the knee.
Tennis leg is related to damage to the gastrocnemius where damage to the muscle and soleus muscle in the calf bone triggers an accumulation of fluid.
According to the journal Instance Radiology Reports, leg tennis is typically the outcome of sporting activities injuries. Damage to the calf bone muscle mass can trigger swelling and discomfort in the back knee.
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After Knee Replacement Surgery
This might come as a surprise to you, but a negative attitude or negative mood after knee replacement surgery is associated with prolonged stiffness! This is because people with a negative attitude are less likely to adhere to a physical therapy protocol after knee replacement surgery. We are all humans, and we can experience negative emotions when we are in pain or anxious about our recovery, but it is important to remember that you should not let these emotions overwhelm you! Trusting your physical therapist and adhering to physical therapy is very important, and you should know that it will bring many positive outcomes, such as easing your stiffness. You should not force yourself into thinking that everything is okay but thinking that everything will be okay eventually with hard work actually helps your recovery.
Do: Incorporate Strength And Flexibility Training To Strengthen Your Leg Muscles
A fitness plan for osteoarthritis should include strength and flexibility training along with aerobic exercise, says James Wyss, MD, a sports physiatrist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City and an assistant professor of clinical rehabilitation medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. Strengthening exercises help support the muscles around the joint, while stretching can maintain and sometimes improve flexibility around the knee,” Dr. Wyss says.
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Don’t Let Stiff Knee Pain Hold You Back
Having stiff knee pain can prevent you from regular movement. This can really alter your quality of life at times. Being able to get active and perform daily activities shouldn’t be burdened by knee pain. Perform these exercises a few times a day to strengthen the key knee muscles.
Can You Prevent Knee Pain
There can be many reasons for knee pain. Therefore, there are different strategies to prevent the pain depending on the underlying cause. Running on soft surfaces or decreasing the amount of running can help if the pain is due to overuse. Avoiding any direct injuries to the knee including wearing a seatbelt can prevent traumatic injuries. Weight loss can be helpful for many different forms of knee pain.
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Exercises To Reduce Knee Pain
Knee pain is one of the most common orthopedic conditions for which people seek medical treatment. It includes pain felt behind and around the knee cap, especially during activities like stair climbing, squatting, running, and walking while carrying a heavy load. Knee pain can prevent you from participating in your favorite activities and performing daily tasks. Without proper treatment, it can linger for years.
Knee pain can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which include knee stiffness, incorrect positioning of the knee cap at rest or with movement, flat feet, improper exercise form, and weakness of the muscles that control the hip and knee.
A physical therapist can work with you to address your knee pain. After an evaluation, a physical therapist will design an individualized comprehensive treatment program to address the specific factors causing your knee pain. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation.
To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.
These exercises are proven by research to reduce pain and improve your ability to participate in the activities you love.
Consult your health care provider before starting these exercises to determine if they are right for you. If you experience any symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness at any time, you should stop immediately. These exercises are provided for educational information only.
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Common Causes Of Knee Stiffness Following Total Knee Replacement
1.) Connective Tissue Restrictions The knee joint is surrounded by connective tissue often referred to the joint capsule. Depending on how tightly the joint capsule is sutured together may influence the initial range of motion.
Other reasons the connective tissue may restrict motion is due to the intrajoint effusion.
2.) Scar Tissue Formation Stiffness due to scar tissue formation may also be called arthrofibrosis Stiff Knee Syndrome.
While it may be true that scar tissue starts to form as soon as the incision is closed, research suggests range of motion may be improved up to 12 weeks after surgery.
3.) Reflexive Guarding A major cause of stiffness may be attributed to pain. Imagine you were sitting my the camp fire and a friend tried to push your hand into the fire. You would naturally resist that force and tighten all of your muscles.
After knee surgery the knee has sustained significant trauma to the bones, muscles, skin and connective tissue. Forcing a knee to bend will trigger a reflexive tightening in the musculature that prevent knee motion.
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What Is Knee Pain
Pain is a common knee problem that can originate in any of the bony structures compromising the knee joint , the kneecap , or the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage of the knee. Knee pain can be aggravated by physical activity, as well as obesity, affected by the surrounding muscles and their movements, and be triggered by other problems . Knee pain can affect people of all ages, and home remedies can be helpful unless it becomes severe.
Exercises To Minimize Stiff Knee Pain
You have creaky joints. Your knee may pop when you stand. You assume it’s just the fun of getting older. But is it also impacting your ability to live a healthy life? No matter the cause, if you’re experiencing knee pain, you’re not alone. In the United States, nearly 19% of the population experiences some type of knee aching. How can you alleviate some of that pain?
We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn the five exercises you can do to minimize stiff knee pain.
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Are There Benefits Of Walking With Knee Pain
It may seem counterintuitive to increase your activity level when you have chronic knee pain or arthritis, but walking can actually provide a number of benefits, including:
- Lubricating the joints
- Increasing blood flow to the tissues
- Building muscle strength to support the knee
Before beginning or resuming any fitness routine, it is essential that you obtain clearance from your physician to ensure the health and safety of your joints. Walking is a fantastic option for many patients with knee arthritis because it is a low-impact activity that does not put undue stress on the joints. Furthermore, walking can increase the knees range of motion and keep it from becoming overly stiff.
Contact South Shore Orthopedics
There are many causes of stiff knee pain, so it is important to consult a physician to determine the best treatment for your individual situation. The providers at South Shore Orthopedics specialize in individualized and accessible care for patients at every stage of life. Schedule an appointment today.
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What To Do When You Have Knee Pain
If you already have knee pain, some things can make it worse, including activities like:
- Squatting or standing on a hard surface for a long time
- High-impact activities, such as running or basketball
If you have a job where you squat or stand on a hard surface for a long time, try wearing gel shoe inserts or cushioned shoes.
Staying active is important, DiNubile says. Being active regularly helps keep up your joint function, like range of motion and how strong your knees are. Choosing the right activities for you can help, too. Repetitive squats, step-ups, and lunges can âset off fireworks in somebody with a kneecap issue,â he says.
Valaik recommends swimming and bike riding. DiNubile suggests activities like walking, using an elliptical machine, yoga, and stretching exercises. If you have a fitness program you like but it is starting to cause pain, check to see if there are changes you can make to continue, he says.
What Are The Complications Of Knee Pain
Frequently, knee pain will disappear without ever finding a specific cause. Depending on the underlying cause of the pain, the condition can progress and lead to more serious injuries or complications. Usually, these complications are long term and result in worsening pain or an increasing difficulty to walk.
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Sprains Strains And Injuries
Sprains and strains happen when tissues in the knee become stretched by unusual or increased activity, or an awkward twist or trip.
PRICE, described above, should lead to a reduction in pain and improved movement within days, and a gradual improvement over the weeks to follow.
A sprain often resolves itself, but some problems can require more treatment. For example, an injury to the pad of tissue in the knee joint known as the meniscus may require surgery.
Coping With Low Mood And Sleep Problems
You might find that osteoarthritis of the knee makes you feel depressed or anxious. Speak to your doctor if youre feeling low as they may be able to recommend psychological therapies to help you, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and stress-relieving techniques.
If your sleep is disturbed because of osteoarthritis of the knee, this could make your pain feel worse. However, there are things you can do for yourself that might help, such as:
- Keep a sleep diary to work out if there are any patterns to your sleep problems
- Sleep at regular times to get your body into a routine
- Avoid phones and other screens in the bedroom to help you wind down before bed.
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What Other Symptoms May Be Associated With Knee Pain
If you have knee pain, you may get other symptoms such as:
- swelling, redness or heat in the knee
- bruising around the knee
- locking or clicking
- inability to straighten your knee
See a doctor if the pain doesnt improve in a few weeks, if you cant move your knee or put any weight on it, or if your knee locks or gives way.
Go to an emergency department if your knee is very painful, is badly swollen or has changed shape, or if you have a fever and a red and hot knee.
Treatment For Knee Problems
If initial treatment methods do not provide relief, and X-rays show destruction of the joint, the orthopaedist may recommend total joint replacement for the knee, also referred to as knee replacement.
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How To Avoid Stiffness In The Joints
The best way to ease stiffness in the joints will depend upon the cause.
If your stiffness bothers you for more than half an hour after you awaken, or if your symptoms are getting worse, then you need to seek medical attention.
Either extreme of temperature can be helpful for muscle and joint pain relief.
Apply a cold compress or bag of ice to the affected joint for 20 minutes many times throughout the day.
This will help reduce the inflammation or swelling and restore your movement.
It also will dull your pain receptors.
Heat is also beneficial for muscle and joint pain relief.
Try a heating pad or a hot water bottle to relax your muscles and increase your circulation.
Steroids are another method for treating joint stiffness and pain.
Corticosteroids can decrease inflammation.
Steroids may not be useful for people with advanced arthritis.
In certain cases, relief may only be temporary, and further injections might not be effective.
Exercise and physical therapy can increase joint mobility and decrease stiffness.
If you dont know how to begin an exercise regimen or are having movement problems, then you should discuss the matter with your doctor or a qualified physical therapist.
Exercise can be very beneficial, but you might aggravate some conditions if you dont take the proper precautions.
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.
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When To Consider Knee Replacement
If your knee pain is chronic and worsening, recommended therapies provide insufficient relief, you find that youre unable to perform everyday activities without pain, and you have trouble walking without using an assistive device such as a cane, you might be a candidate for a knee replacement. Get the lowdown on this surgery.
What Is The Knee Joint
Three bones come together to form your knee joint. They include the:
- Thighbone .
- Shinbone .
- Kneecap .
A smooth substance called cartilage covers the ends of each bone. Its a cushion between the bones that keeps them from rubbing together. The synovial membrane, a type of tissue that surrounds the joint, lubricates the cartilage.
Arthritis of the knee causes pain and swelling in the joint
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