How Can You Prevent Knee Pain
Because of the many factors that can contribute to it, it is not always possible to prevent knee pain. However, there are things you can do to decrease your risk of developing it.
One of the most important things you can do to prevent knee pain is to stay physically active. This helps to keep your muscles strong for better stability and also helps to keep your weight down to avoid unnecessary strain on your joints.
High-impact activities can put pressure on your joints and contribute to your pain, so you may want to either limit these activities or discontinue them altogether. Cycling and swimming are examples of low-impact activities you can do to give your knees a break while getting the exercise you need.
Before doing any type of exercise, you should stretch out your legs to warm up your muscles. When exercising outside, stick to paved surfaces that are smooth and in good repair. Roads or walkways that are pocketed or rough may put extra pressure on your knees and put you at risk for a fall.
Footwear that does not provide sufficient support can contribute to knee pain. Replace the shoes you use for exercising frequently. Choose shoes with adequate arch support or use orthopedic inserts if needed.
If you are suffering from knee, ankle, or foot pain, schedule an appointment at any of our valley-wide locations. No referral is required. We accept all major insurance carriers and participate with many local provider networks.
Articles On Knee Pain
You can do many things to help knee pain, whether it’s due to a recent injury or arthritis you’ve had for years.
Follow these 11 dos and donâts to help your knees feel their best.
Donât rest too much. Too much rest can weaken your muscles, which can worsen joint pain. Find an exercise program that is safe for your knees and stick with it. If you’re not sure which motions are safe or how much you can do, talk with your doctor or a physical therapist.
Do exercise. Cardio exercises strengthen the muscles that support your knee and increase flexibility. Weight training and stretching do, too. For cardio, some good choices include walking, swimming, water aerobics, stationary cycling, and elliptical machines. Tai chi may also help ease stiffness and improve balance.
Donât risk a fall. A painful or unstable knee can make a fall more likely, which can cause more knee damage. Curb your risk of falling by making sure your home is well lit, using handrails on staircases, and using a sturdy ladder or foot stool if you need to reach something from a high shelf.
Do use “RICE.” Rest, ice, compression, and elevation is good for knee pain caused by a minor injury or an arthritis flare. Give your knee some rest, apply ice to reduce swelling, wear a compressive bandage, and keep your knee elevated.
Don’t Skip The Exercise Even If You Have A Structural Problem
The key is to know your limits. Strength training that focuses heavily on building up muscles in the quadriceps and hamstrings can decrease pain and help people better tolerate arthritis and other structural knee problems. Staying active helps control weight and build muscle, both of which can help protect your knees from further damage.
The best exercises for people with structural knee problems include nonimpact aerobic exercises, such as walking on level ground, training on an elliptical machine, using a stationary bike, swimming and doing water aerobics. Its also wise to avoid activities that put extra stress on the knees such as kneeling, deep knee bends and downhill running.
Recommended Reading: Does Tommie Copper Knee Sleeve Work
What Are Some Treatment Options For Knee Pain
Treatment options for knee pain depend on what is causing it and whether it is acute or chronic. A treatment course often begins with self-care to get the symptoms under control, consisting of the following steps:
- Icing the knee to relieve pain and reduce swelling
- Rest to allow the inflammation to subside
- Support, e.g., knee braces, straps, or taping, to reduce pain and swelling and protect the knee from further injury
If your injury is relatively mild, these steps may be sufficient to resolve your knee pain completely. However, if the pain persists or interferes with walking or other activities, you should seek medical treatment.
Physical therapy is often key to treating knee pain. Physical therapy exercises help to relieve pain and increase the stability of the knee by strengthening the muscles around it. The exercises also help to improve your balance and flexibility, all of which can help you avoid future injuries.
Physical therapy can be used to treat both acute and chronic knee pain. Other possible treatments for chronic knee pain include injections to reduce inflammation and cushion the joint. Acute or chronic knee pain that does not respond to other treatments may require surgery to resolve.
Whether You’re Active Or Not Stretching Is Good For The Knees
Stretches that focus on the calf, hamstring and quadriceps muscles take pressure off of the knees and kneecaps. “Many people often say there is no aerobic value in stretching, so they see it as a waste of time,” says Bush-Joseph. “But a well-conditioned, flexible body is less likely to develop overuse problems in the knees.”
Some good stretches to protect the knees include step-ups, hamstring curls and straight-leg lifts. Additionally, stretches that focus on building flexibility in the hips, including a butterfly stretch and a standing hip flexor with a resistance band, can help alleviate knee pain.
People who do not like to stretch before a workout can still protect their knees by slowly ramping up to top speed rather than jumping full speed into their workout.
Also Check: How To Whiten Knees Fast
Stand Up Straight To Feel Better
“When you slouch you are leaning forward and walking bent over at the waist and that posture will lead to knee pain,” says Bush-Joseph. “You want your head centered over your shoulders and your shoulders centered over your abdomen and pelvis. The more your body is off-center, the more you have to compensate for that with muscle activity. Those muscles eventually fatigue, causing strain on your joints.”
Having strong core muscles in your abdomen and lower back helps promote good posture and, ultimately, lessens the pressure on your knees. Exercises such as planks, back extensions, yoga and Pilates can help strengthen the core.
Heres how to do these exercises:
- Planks: Lie face down with your toes pointed to the floor. Put your forearms on the floor with your elbows at 90-degree angles. Tighten your abdominal and gluteal muscles and lift your body off the floor. Keep your back straight and hold for 15 to 45 seconds.
- Back extensions: Lie face down with elbows bent and hands on the floor. Keeping your hips on the floor, lift your head and shoulders up with your arms. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat five to 10 times.
Arthritis Of The Knee
Arthritis is another very common cause of bad knee pain. Two main types of arthritis can affect the knee: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, a chronic degenerative condition, is the most common form of arthritis of the knee. Occurring more often in people over the age of 45, OA is a progressive disease that wears down the cartilage in the knee joint.
As the cartilage wears down, the space between the bones is reduced. This causes swelling and chronic pain. Left untreated, OA can lead to bone rubbing on bone resulting in severe pain and disability. Bowleg deformity can develop.
Although there is no cure, OA of the knee can be treated.
Rheumatoid arthritis is not as common as OA, but it is among the common reasons for bad knee pain.
RA is an autoimmune disease that causes swelling, inflammation, and pain in both knees. The fluid and inflammation in the knees caused by RA can damage the cartilages, destroy the joints, and lead to disability and deformity.
Although people of any age can develop RA, it occurs more often in older people, beginning at middle age.
Recommended Reading: Ginger Poultice For Knee Pain
Why I Always ‘listen’ To My Knees
Bad knees run in my family, but I still never thought they would sideline me. I used to sit cross-legged with ease. Kneeling was something I didnt think about.
Then when I turned 60, my knees starting talking to me.
First, there was burning and discomfort during long flights sitting in cramped economy seats. Stairs began to give me pause. Even curbs were sometimes painful.
So began my knee odyssey, which has been marked by physical therapy, X-rays and MRIs, multiple doctors, a pricey brace so difficult to put on that it is unused, lots of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, numerous ice packs, cortisone shots in both knees, various dietary supplements, topical ointments, and one foldable cane.
The low point came when one of my knees blew up like a balloon, requiring fluid to be removed with a long needle and no anesthesia. That was followed by nearly a week of sleepless nights because of a knee that felt like it was on fire.
If I could have removed my kneecap, I would have done it in a heartbeat.
Ive also trimmed a few pounds and plan to lose more, taken up yoga, and bought a device that keeps my legs moving under my desk.
Are my knees better? Yes, an improvement measured by my physical therapist and how the foldable cane is gathering dust. But if I slip off the program, I soon pay the price with stiffer knees, less flexibility and more pain.
My hope is that, like Bedard, I can bring my knees back to better health and sidestep future invasive procedures.
What Else Can Help With Knee Pain
Finding relief from knee pain depends on the cause or issue thats making it difficult for you to go about your daily activities. Carrying excess weight puts extra stress on your knees, which may lead to osteoarthritis.
In this case, the most effective treatment, according to the Cleveland Clinic, is weight loss. Your doctor may recommend a combination of diet and exercise to help you lose weight and strengthen the muscles in your lower body, especially around your knees.
A 2013 study found that adults with overweight and knee osteoarthritis experienced a reduction in weight and knee pain after 18 months of a diet and exercise program.
But if overuse is the culprit, your doctor will likely suggest RICE which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation and physical therapy. A physical therapist can work with you to develop a program that includes range of motion exercises, stretches, and muscle strengthening movements.
Recommended Reading: Inversion Table Knees
For Tendinitis Runners Knee Gout And Bursitis
The treatment for conditions that cause swelling, redness, and dull, burning pain usually starts with resting the joint. Ice your knee to control swelling. Elevate and stay off your joint to promote healing.
Your doctor may recommend or prescribe NSAIDs like ibuprofen. Lifestyle changes, such as wearing protective kneepads and going to physical therapy, can help you manage pain and experience fewer symptoms.
You may need to make changes to your diet, especially if youre treating gout.
Supplements For Those With Mild Pain
The evidence for glucosamine and chondroitin is mixed, but they are safe. So it might be worth trying. However, people with a shellfish allergy may not be able to tolerate them. Any effect wont kick in right away. Dr. Day recommends trying it for six to eight weeks. If you notice improvement, great if not, then stop it, she says.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, and there is some evidence for its usefulness for painful knee arthritis. You can add turmeric to your food or take it as a supplement. It can thin blood, so people who take a blood thinning medication should not use turmeric.
Don’t Miss: Inversion Table For Knee Pain
Knee Pain Causes Prevention & Treatments
Knee pain is themost common musculoskeletal complaint requiring medical care as one-third of all patients who visit a doctor for pain involves the knee and muscles surrounding it.
While athletes and people who perform physical work may be at greater risk for knee pain, it can affect anyone at any age. There are many different causes of knee pain, and though some require surgery to resolve, others respond to conservative treatment measures such as physical therapy.
Here are some possible causes and treatment options for knee pain as well as prevention tips.
To Help Your Knees Strengthen Your Hips
In many cases where a person has painful knees, one of the root causes is weak hips. The hips support the knees and, if theyre weak from sitting too much and not exercising, your knees will suffer due to this lack of support. Strengthening your hips will thus help your knees quite a bit. These next few exercises will help you to get stronger hips and lower your knee pain considerably in most cases. NOTE: Some of these exercises would be better on an exercise mat or a floor with padding or a rug.
Don’t Miss: Dcf Compression Knee Sleeve
The Role Physical Therapy Plays In The Process
Physical therapy is definitely beneficial. Improving range of motion and strength in the knee are helpful, but physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis has a large focus on strengthening the hips, explains Dr. Day.
Weak hips put more pressure on the knees. If your hips are strong, when you get up from a chair or go up and down stairs your knees have less work to do.
Everyone with knee osteoarthritis should consult a physical therapist, according to Dr. Day. Not only will you be taught the right kinds of exercises, a physical therapist also provides valuable instruction about using assistive devices and modifying activities to reduce pain.
Carrying Too Much Weight
If youre overweight, you already know the many health risks, and youre probably tired of hearing about them. Unfortunately, youll have to add your knees to the list of things that can go wrong when you carry too much weight.
The daily stress of supporting extra pounds has a direct impact on your knees by triggering inflammation and putting you at risk for diseases that can affect your knees. The good news is that losing weight can have an immediate effect: If you lose just one pound, you can reduce four pounds of stress on your knees. Simply do the math: If you lose 10 pounds, you take 40 pounds of stress off your knee joints, and so on.
Recommended Reading: Knees Crack When Doing Squats
Tips Before You Start A Walking Program With Arthritis
If youre new to exercise, its always smart to first talk to your doctor before you begin a walking program. Consider the current limits of your joints and work within those limits. Your doctor or a physical therapist can help create a personalized walking plan that gives you the most benefit without aggravating your joint pain. More tips to help protect your joints:
Ways You Could Be Making Your Knee Pain Worse
People of all ages suffer from knee pain. Whether youre a high school athlete, a longtime runner, or a senior adult, anyone can develop knee pain. Knee pain has the power to keep you from enjoying the activities you love and it can significantly impact your quality of life. Arthritis, injury, cartilage damage, and more can quickly put you on the sidelines.
The team at Coastal Empire Orthopedics, led by Jonathan Shults, MD, is equipped with compassionate staff and top technology to diagnose and treat your knee pain. Knee pain can be caused by injury, osteoarthritis, and more. Were here to help you learn more about your knee pain and what you can do to improve it. While treatment is unique to you, there are some things you might be doing that make your knee pain worse.
Read Also: Bioknee Cost
Protection Rest Ice Compression And Elevation
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation may help treat mild knee pain that results from a soft tissue injury, such as a sprain.
Protection refers to protecting the knee from further injury, for example, by taking a break from the activity that caused it.
Rest can reduce the risk of further injury and give tissues time to heal. However, stopping all movement is not advisable, as this can lead to stiffness and, in time, muscle weakness.
Ice can help reduce swelling and inflammation. It should be wrapped in a cloth and applied for 20 minutes several times on the first day of injury. Never put ice directly the skin, as this can lead to further damage.
Compression with a knee support, for example, can increase comfort levels. The support or bandage should be firm but not tight.
Elevation, or keeping the leg raised, will encourage circulation and reduce swelling. Ideally, the knee should be above the level of the heart.
Seeing The Doctor For A Diagnosis
Don’t Miss: Nano Knee Cost