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.
Knee Pain And Problems
Knee pain is a common complaint among adults and most often associated with general wear and tear from daily activities like walking, bending, standing and lifting. Athletes who run or play sports that involve jumping or quick pivoting are also more likely to experience knee pain and problems. But whether an individuals knee pain is caused by aging or injury, it can be a nuisance and even debilitating in some circumstances.
Complementary And Alternative Medicine
Several mind-body therapies have been used, often in conjunction with medication and physical therapy, to alleviate joint pain. Some of these include:
In addition, while there was some hype about taking the dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin for repairing the damaged cartilage of osteoarthritis, current scientific evidence is unfortunately not so supportive of this. That said, for some people, there may be a small pain-alleviating benefit to taking these supplements.
In the end, it’s best to talk with your healthcare provider about whether these are right and safe for you.
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Talk To Your Doctor About A Knee Brace
Often a knee brace can help. Theres evidence to show that even a simple compression sleeve can decrease pain, says Dr. Day. These are a good way to start because you can get one at the drugstore.
You can also talk to your doctor about a more customized unloader brace. These take pressure off a portion of the joint. The brace thats right for you will depend on the severity and location of arthritis, whether primarily in the inner or outer side of the joint or in the kneecap.
Will Surgery Treat And Cure Knee Pain
Knee operations range from arthroscopic knee surgery to total knee replacement. Arthroscopic knee surgery is a very common surgical procedure that allows the physician look inside your knee through a few small holes and a fiberoptic camera. The surgeon can repair many of the injuries and remove small pieces of loose bones or cartilage. This is a common outpatient procedure.
Partial knee replacement: The surgeon replaces the damaged portions of the knee with plastic and metal parts. Because only part of the knee joint is replaced, this procedure has a shorter recovery then a total knee replacement.
Total knee replacement: In this procedure, the knee is replaced with an artificial joint.
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What Is The Long
Some knee pain, especially pain caused by osteoarthritis, will likely be permanent. Thats because the structure of the knee is damaged. Without surgery or another type of extensive treatment, youll continue to feel pain, inflammation, and swelling in your knee.
The long-term outlook for chronic knee pain involves managing pain, preventing flare-ups, and working to reduce irritation to the knee.
Knee Exercise: Slow March
Strengthens stabilizing muscles of your foot, knee, and hip;
- Stand next to a wall or door frame for support.;
- Balance on right foot; hold on to wall or door frame to stay steady, if needed.
- Keep your knee straight over your ankle, with a slight bend.
- Slowly lift your left foot until your knee is level with your hip, or as close to that position as you can get without pain.
- Slowly lower it back to the floor; then repeat with the other foot .
- Repeat the sequence as many times as you can, while holding the correct position.;
Tip:;Pay attention to any loss of stability, advises Shroyer. For example, if your right foot is on the floor and your right knee wants to bow in when you lift your left, dont raise your left foot so high. Focus your attention on keeping your right foot stable, making sure both the ball and heel of the foot have equal and balanced pressure on the floor.;
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Precautions To Keep In Mind Before Exercising With Knee Arthritis
If youre new to exercise, its always smart to first talk to your doctor. Your doctor or physical therapist can make sure the exercises are safe for you and help you gain strength, without exacerbating inflammation or aggravating joint pain.; Likewise, if youve had surgery on your knee, get guidance from your doctor or physical therapist on what knee exercises are safe for you. More tips to help protect your joints:
Start slowlyEase your joints into exercise if you havent been active for a while, say experts. Push too hard too fast, and you can overwork your muscles and worsen joint pain. Go easy at first, then increase the length and intensity of your work out as you progress.
Move gentlyAt the start of every exercise activity, start with five minutes or 10 minutes of stretching to help elongate the muscles and make them easier to move, says Dr. Johnson; and do it again at the end. Dont force any stretches; keep your movements slow and easy. With strength training, begin with fewer reps or lower weight, and build up gradually.Do a little every dayIf you have a flare of RA or an increase in OA pain, you should still stay active, suggests Dr. Johnson. Some simple stretching, like these;range-of-motion stretches, may diminish some of the pain.
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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What To Do When Your Knee Locks:
If your knee locks suddenly and will not unlock, get help and call your physician or go to your nearest emergency department.;
If it locks and your are able to get it to unlock, call your physician to discuss options for treatment or to schedule a visit.
The following information may additionally be helpful when thinking about treatment options for a locked knee.
The work-up of a locked knee
The work-up of a locked knee begins with your doctor asking you questions about any injury that may have started your symptoms and the quality of your symptoms themselves. Your doctor will perform an examination of your knee to give him/her clues regarding your injury.
Regular X-rays may be ordered to look at the bones of the knee to make sure there are no obvious loose bodies, fractures, and to assess the overall alignment of the knee. Depending on your symptoms, an MRI scan may be ordered to get a better look at the soft tissue structures of the knee. An MRI is very good at evaluating the soft tissue structures around the knee, including the menisci and ligaments. ;
Your doctor will determine whether your locking is due to a true mechanical lock or pain related .
Non-Surgical Treatment of a Locked Knee
The first step in treating a locked knee is to determine the cause of the locking. If the locking is intermittent or due to pain, non-surgical treatments can oftentimes be tried first.;
Surgical Treatment of a Locked Knee
Do I Have Arthritis In My Knee
Dr. Ekaterina Urch, orthopedic surgeon and knee specialist, covers the symptoms, causes, and best treatment options for knee arthritis.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is the result of inflammation in one or more of your joints. This inflammation can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in various joints within the body and can even lead people to replacing their joints because the arthritis has interfered with their every-day activity level. This can be particularly true with arthritis felt in the knee, one of the more common areas where arthritis can occur. Depending on how bad the pain is, it can interfere with the activities people enjoy and can keep them from pursuing an active life.
What are the different types of arthritis?
Not all types of arthritis are created equal. In fact, there are more than 100 different forms of arthritis. However, the two more common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, which is known as a degenerative wear-and-tear type of arthritis, is commonly found in the knee. It is rare for osteoarthritis to be found in younger people. It is more commonly found in people 50 years of age and older.
Why is osteoarthritis causing you so much pain?
Symptoms of knee arthritis:
Other symptoms of knee arthritis:
Nonsurgical treatment for knee arthritis:
Other nonsurgical options to help ease arthritis pain:
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How To Get Moving Every Day
In addition to physical therapy, its critical to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine.
Joints are built to move, says Dr. Day. The evidence shows that people who are least active have more arthritis pain than people who do some form of exercise. Choose lower-impact activities, such as bicycling, swimming or exercising in a pool.
Dont: Be Afraid To Use Assistive Devices If You Have Knee Osteoarthritis
Canes and knee braces can play a role in decreasing knee osteoarthritis pain and improving function, Pisetsky says. There can be a period of time when knee pain is disabling but its not the right time for surgery, so thats when assistive devices can make a difference, he explains. An occupational therapist can work with you to choose appropriate assistive devices.
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Facts You Should Know About Knee Pain
- Knee pain is a common problem with many causes, from acute injuries to complications of medical conditions.
- Knee pain can be localized to a specific area of the knee or be diffuse throughout the knee.
- Knee pain is often accompanied by physical restriction.
- A thorough physical examination will usually establish the diagnosis of knee pain.
- The treatment of knee pain depends on the underlying cause.
- The prognosis of knee pain, even severe knee pain, is usually good although it might require surgery or other interventions.
Dont: Engage In Repetitive High
Joint-pounding exercises such as running and tennis can tax your already damaged knees, Dr. Pisetsky says. Its a vicious cycle because this type of exercise causes more pain. You stop using your muscle because it hurts, you lose strength, and then your alignment isnt good either, he says. This can also result in needing joint replacement surgery. Listen to your body, he says. If it is painful, dont do it.
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Be Gentler When You Exercise
Running on roads can jar your knees, while a jog through a wooded trail carries the risk of falls and twists to knees and ankles. A better way to run is on a treadmill or track, or alternate jogging with walking, Dr. White suggests. Biking doesnt put as much strain on your knees, but it can cause pain if you ratchet up the resistance too high on a stationary bike or the saddle is pushed back too far or is too low. If you bike a lot outdoors, you might want to spring for a professional bike fitting, which can help you with seat and handlebar height and pedal strokes. Whatever exercise you do, just remember to warm up.; You lose muscle strength as you get olderespecially if you sit at a desk most daysand that just increases your chances of injury when you head out to exercise.
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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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.
What You Need To Know
- The most common causes of knee pain are related to aging, injury or repeated stress on the knee.
- Common knee problems include sprained or strained ligaments, cartilage tears, tendonitis and arthritis.
- Diagnosing a knee injury or problem includes a medical examination and usually the use of a diagnostic procedure such as an x-ray, MRI, CT scan or arthroscopy.
- Both non-operative and surgical treatment options are available to treat knee pain and problems depending on the type and severity of the condition.
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Fixing Knee Pain At Home
Torn Acl Symptoms And Signs
With an acute injury, the patient often describes that they heard a loud pop and then developed intense pain in the knee. The pain makes walking or weight-bearing very difficult. The knee joint will begin to swell within a few hours because of bleeding within the joint, making it difficult to straighten the knee.
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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.
How To Fix Knee Pain
This article was medically reviewed by Troy A. Miles, MD. Dr. Miles is an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Adult Joint Reconstruction in California. He received his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2010, followed by a residency at the Oregon Health & Science University and fellowship at the University of California, Davis. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the North Pacific Orthopaedic Society.There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 96% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 48,833 times.