Why Your Daily Walk May Be Making You Really Sore
By Eric Requa, DO, Sports Medicine Primary Care PhysicianVirtua Sports Medicine
Getting out for daily walks is one way people are getting in exercise, while also social distancing. It allows you to get out of the house and gives you the opportunity to exercise safely without too many restrictions.
But, a sudden increase in your walking time, days, or distance also can increase your aches and painsand even your risk for some injuries. Here are some of the areas where you may be sore, and how to know when to seek treatment.
Fast Knee Pain Relief
There are some simple things you can do for fast knee pain relief that dont involve reaching for the painkillers.
When you are suffering with knee pain, the application of heat can be incredibly beneficial Use a heat pack, or hot water bottle to the affected knee for 15-20 minutes which should reduce stiffness, and will likely provide fast knee pain relief.
Another important thing to remember is that pain behind the knee when walking will be made worse, and occur more often if you go through long periods of inactivity so an effective tip can be to keep active .
For example, try to avoid sitting for long periods of time each day and aim to move every hour if you find that knee pain and stiffness is a problem for you.
If you feel like you need to increase your activity level, George, one of our expert physios, advises to do this gradually which will help avoid making the problem worse.
Finally, there are a number of exercises which can be very powerful at reducing knee pain, and minimising the severity and frequency in future
Use Cold Packs After Walking
This tip is great for those struggling with excess inflammation in their knee joints. While some inflammation is good, triggering the healing process, too much can cause unnecessary pain after walking.
Youve done well by getting your joint fluid moving to transport nutrients into the cartilage. But, if pain persists, you can apply cold packs afterward to help reduce inflammation.
Aim for about 15 minutes or until your knee feels numb.
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Why Women Should Focus On Strength Training
Genetically, women are at higher risk to injury and should prioritize strength training to minimize that risk. Compared to men, they have lower amounts of testosterone, a hormone that contributes to muscle density. Women also have less muscle mass around their knees than men do, says Samantha Smith, a sports medicine specialist at Yale Medicine. Throughout the month, womens estrogen levels fluctuate, which affects their bone strength and the flexibility of their tendons and ligaments. Also, women have wider pelvises than men do. Because this wide bone structure affects how the thigh bone, tibia, and femur interact, with every step, womens knees are placed under more pressure than mens knees are. Strength training is a way to overcome genetic hurdles and continue hiking pain-free.
How Is Meralgia Paresthetica Treated
The symptoms of meralgia paresthetica are relieved by treating the underlying cause. Your treatment may involve losing weight, wearing loose clothing, or avoiding certain restrictive items like belts.
Many people with meralgia paresthetica benefit from other interventions like:
- Physical therapy, specialized exercises and stretches.
- Phonophoresis, which uses ultrasound waves to help your body absorb topically applied pain medications.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation to provide symptom relief by using an electric current to stimulate your nerve.
Your doctor may recommend medications to help ease your symptoms, including:
In more severe cases, corticosteroid injections or injectable pain medications may relieve symptoms.
Rarely, surgery is necessary to correct any compression on the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. Surgery is usually only recommended for people who try other treatments but still experience symptoms.
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How Is Meralgia Paresthetica Diagnosed
Your doctor diagnoses meralgia paresthetica by reviewing your medical and surgical history. He or she will ask you questions about the types of belts and clothing you wear for work and recreation. Your doctor will also ask about your possible exposure to lead and your alcohol use. A thorough physical examination will be performed including a hands-on test called a pelvic compression test, in which the doctor applies pressure on your thigh to rule out other causes of your symptoms. Other light touch and reflex tests may also be performed.
Your doctor may order blood tests to check thyroid hormone levels, B vitamin levels, lead levels, and for signs of anemia and diabetes.
An X-ray of your pelvis and thigh may be ordered to rule out other medical conditions, like bone tumors. Other imaging tests, such as CT scan or magnetic resonance imaging scan may also be ordered to check for other spinal or nerve problems, like a herniated disc.
If you are a woman of childbearing age, your doctor may order a pelvic ultrasound. This test can rule out uterine fibroids, noncancerous growths in the uterus.
Rarely, doctors order a nerve conduction study. This test evaluates how well your lateral femoral cutaneous nerve sends electrical impulses to the surrounding muscles. To measure electrical impulses, your doctor places electrodes along the LFCN. These electrodes measure how fast the LFCN transmits impulses.
Treating Pad: Lifestyle Changes And More
PAD treatment starts with lifestyle changes, including avoiding tobacco products, exercising regularly, and eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
One of the worst things you can do if you have PAD is to sit still. One of the problems with PAD is that people are taught when they have pain to avoid it, says Dr. Pradhan. So, who start feeling pain in their legs when they walk may think theyre getting old and stop walking. Thats exactly what you dont want to do.
If you have pain, or other symptoms, see your doctor to find out why its occurring. Once PAD is diagnosed and you know why you are having symptoms, doctors encourage people to do more physical activity to help keep them functional, says Dr. Pradhan.
In addition to lifestyle changes, your doctor may also prescribe a medication to treat PAD. The drugs most often prescribed for people with PAD are statins, to keep more fatty deposits from accumulating aspirin, to prevent clots and medications to control high blood pressure. If your blockage is severe, your doctor may also recommend a procedure to clear the blockage or to reroute blood flow around it.
As with many other health conditions, identifying PAD early is crucial. The longer you wait, the harder it is to treat, says Dr. Pradhan.
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Talk To Your Doctor About Leg Pain When Walking
While PAD isnt the only reason you might experience leg pain while walking, its important to consider. Having PAD increases your risk of other cardiovascular problems. The fatty buildup in arteries of the leg might also be accumulating in the arteries serving the heart and brain. This makes a person with PAD far more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke than someone without the condition.
If youre experiencing symptoms of PAD, a simple test called an ankle-brachial index, or ABI, can help your doctor make a diagnosis. Your doctor will use a special cuff to measure the blood pressure in your ankle, and then compare that against the blood pressure in your arm. These readings should match if your arteries are clear. Lower pressure in the ankle is a PAD tip-off.
Your doctor can perform this test at your annual physical. If your doctor suspects you have PAD, he or she might want to follow up with an angiogram, which uses MRI or x-rays to take images of your arteries to look for blockages, says Dr. Pradhan.
Workspace Ergonomics: Best Practices
According to Mayo Clinic, if you work at a desk or counter, you can take these steps to ease knee and other joint pain:
- Select an ergonomic chair that properly supports your spinal curves.
- Set the height of your chair so when your feet are resting flat on the floor, your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Consider a footrest if you cant adjust chair height properly, or if the height of your desk requires you to raise your chair beyond where you can rest your feet flat on the floor.
- Adjust the chairs armrests so your arms can comfortably rest on them with your shoulders relaxed.
- Your desk should allow clearance for your knees, thighs, and feet.
- If you work at a computer, put the monitor directly in front of you with the top of the screen at eye level . It should be about an arms length away when youre sitting up straight in your chair.
- Your keyboard should be directly in front of your monitor.
If you have knee pain while sitting, you might also consider a standing desk.
If you have knee pain when sitting, a number of reasons could cause it, including:
- sitting with your knees bent for too long
- poor furniture ergonomics
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Common Causes Of Hip Pain In Women And How To Find Relief
When trying to analyse the cause of hip pain in women, it is important to think about any systems that could potentially be contributing to that pain. For example, the pain felt over the front of the hip, in the groin area, could be attributed to a gynaecological cause , an abdominal cause or a joint problem. Pain over the side of the hip and in the buttock area is more likely to be caused by a problem within the hip joint. However, all of these may also be caused by referred pain from a problem in the knee or lower back.
This article will focus more on the direct causes of hip pain caused by problems in and around the hip joint itself, and offer 5 top tips to help relieve hip pain caused by common joint problems. If you have any concerns that your hip pain may be caused by something other than the joint directly, you should seek advice from your GP.
Musculoskeletal pain is a significant contributor to ill health in the UK, with 25% of all GP consultations relating to joint and muscle pain. Of this, hip pain is a major contributor, appearing in the top three most commonly reported MSK problems.
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Knee Pain At The Side And Inside Below The Knee When Running/walking And Bending: Typical Symptoms Of Pes Anserinus Syndrome
Pes anserinus syndrome is the name given to pain occurring on the inside of the lower leg just below the knee joint. There is irritation in the tendon, and the synovial bursa may also be inflamed. Pain worsens under stress, such as when climbing stairs, when crouching, or after walking/running and jumping. Pain subsides at rest, but returns with renewed strain. The symptoms may last for anywhere between a few days up to several years.
Simple Home Exercises And Stretches Can Help Ease Some Common Types Of Knee Pain
If youve got sore knees, exercise might seem like the hardest thing you can do but its also one of the best.
“Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for knee pain,” says Dr. Lauren Elson, an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.
The right combination of strengthening and stretching exercises can relieve pain by helping to improve the way the joint moves and functions.
“The knee is often an innocent bystander between the hip and the foot. Knee pain is often caused by problems occurring above or below,” says Dr. Elson.
For example, weak hip muscles may cause more strain on the knee, intensifying your pain. Strengthening the muscles around the hip joint can help relieve it, says Dr. Elson.
In addition, knee pain is sometimes caused or aggravated by tight muscles around the knee, a problem that is often successfully addressed by stretching. If the muscles arent flexible, the knee joint sometimes wont move properly, says Dr. Elson.
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What To Do For Knee Pain After Long Periods Of Walking
After a long walk, you notice that your knees are aching and very sore. Knee pain after a long period of walking can occur if you walked farther than you have in the past, walked on a hard surface, did not take long and healthy strides or if you wore shoes that provided little to no support. Either way, you’re in pain and you want relief. Fortunately, there are several options for helping your pain and to make you feel better. Consult your doctor if pain persists or worsens.
What Causes Knee Pain After Hiking
In order to begin treating knee pain after hiking, you first have to find the cause of your pain. A diagnosis from your doctor is the first step toward developing a plan for relief.
These are some of the most common causes of knee pain after hiking, along with the symptoms that typically follow. Talk to your doctor if you believe you may be experiencing one of these injuries or conditions.
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What Is Runner’s Knee
Runner’s knee also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome is an overuse injury that affects as many as 30% of female runners and 25% of male runners. That makes it the most common running-related injury.
In runner’s knee, the cartilage in your kneecap gets irritated. This causes pain while you’re running, squatting, bending or even sitting for awhile. I often see patients come in with runner’s knee after they start running at an incline or increase miles or speed.
High Heels And Knee Pain: A Match Made In Hell
What are the risks of wearing high heels for a long period of time? It is widely acknowledged that wearing high heels can aggravate knee pain. When wearing high heels, the kneecap and the muscles and tendons surrounding it become more strained. When inflammation occurs, pain is usually associated. If you have knee pain, you may want to consider different shoes until you find something that does not cause pain.
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What Is Jumper’s Knee
Jumper’s knee also called patellar tendonitis is an overuse injury that occurs when a tendon is overloaded, causing it to thicken. I see this most often in younger patients who complain about pain in the front of the knee.
It can be especially painful when you squat, jump or land. Jumper’s knee typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood.
Pay Attention To The Pattern Of Leg Pain
The cramping and pain in the calves, thighs, hips, or buttocks that people with PAD experience during movement is called intermittent claudication. Its different from exercise-related soreness, because it occurs only during movement and stops after short periods of rest, says Dr. Pradhan. Muscle soreness caused by exercise lasts for hours or days after a workout, and can still hurt whether youre moving or standing still.
PAD pain also affects just the muscle not the joint. It might happen when you are walking up a flight of stairs or up a hill, and you might find yourself frequently stopping for breaks, says Dr. Pradhan. As PAD blockages worsen, cramping can start to occur in your legs even when you are sitting or lying down.
While leg pain when walking is a common symptom of PAD, not everyone who has PAD has symptoms. Some people just experience weakness without cramping or pain, but it follows the same pattern: worsening with exercise and easing with rest.
In some cases, people notice other changes, such as
- slow-healing sores on the feet
- coldness in one or both feet
- a change in color on the feet
- slow growth of leg hair or toenails.
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The Dangers Of Concrete Flooring
Several recent studies have found that concrete flooring has a negative effect on the human body. Every day, standing or walking on concrete flooring can cause backaches, knee pain, swollen legs, and sore feet. Concrete is also prone to a variety of other problems such as bunions, ingrown toenails, shin splints, and lumbar strains. People who work on concrete surfaces on a regular basis are at greater risk of developing these issues because the concrete does not provide a level playing field. It can also result in back pain, knee pain, swollen legs, and sore feet. People who are more likely to suffer from these injuries should avoid working on concrete floors.
How To Pick Hiking Footwear To Avoid Knee Pain
Both on and off the trail, its important to buy shoes that actually fit correctly. Sometimes the shiny colorful shoes that catch your eye arent the most comfortable, supportive shoes for your feet. Dont buy based on aesthetics buy based on feel. Retailers, such as REI, will help fit you to your new hiking boots. Be sure to bring hiking socks with you when you try them on to get the most accurate feel.
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