The knee is one of the largest and strongest
joints in your body. We use them each and
every day as we walk, move, work, and play.
Unfortunately, chronic knee problems often
result due to continuous wear and tear.
Complaints we often hear from knee pain
- Morning stiffness
- Swelling after activity
- Creaks, clicks, snaps, or grinding
- Weakness or buckling
These types of concerns result from the
cumulative effect of the forces we put
through our knees. The Center for Disease
Control reports that 1 in 2 people will
develop symptomatic knee pain due to
breakdown of the joint by the age of 85.
We all want to live longer and more vibrant
lives well into our "golden" years. However,
none of us wants to be on pain medication
or have to resort to injections or surgery
to stay active. So, how do we alleviate pain
and improve mobility when our knees take
such a beating?
Here are 5 alternative ways to manage your
knee pain without seeing your physician:
Regular exercise can improve strength and
flexibility of the knee joint and surrounding
muscles. This will lessen pain and improve
movement. Stronger muscles around your
knee joint results in improved shock
absorption and less impact on the joint with
each step. When done properly, and at
appropriate intensity, exercise will not
"wear out" your joints faster.
2. Heat and Cold Packs
At home, you can use ice packs or heating
pads to decrease pain and facilitate healing.
The questions though, do I use ice or heat
for my injury?
Generally speaking, ice helps reduce
inflammation and swelling immediately
after an injury (48-72 hours) or during
a flare up. Heat will relax the muscles
and increase circulation to decrease
pain and facilitate healing in chronic
conditions or after swelling has subsided.
3. Weight Management
Decreasing the amount of weight you
carry around each day, will significantly
reduce stress on your joints. Studies have
found that being just 10 pounds overweight
adds up to 60 pounds of forces on your knees
with each step.
In addition, recent studies have found that
fat cells increase the amount of inflammation
in your body. So by increasing lean muscle
and decreasing your percentage of body fat,
you will decrease inflammation causing
arthritic pain, diabetes, and heart disease.
Foot orthotics are shoe inserts that can
correct an abnormal gait pattern, provide
support, and decrease pain. Most people
look to shoe inserts to treat foot pain only.
However, the proper orthotic will better
position the foot to improve overall mechanics
of the foot and lower leg.
For example, my flattened arch causes
my knee to rotate inward and my IT band
to tighten. This abnormal knee position
results in pain, and over the long term could
cause early onset osteoarthritis due to uneven
wear of the joint surfaces. A solution as easy
as adding a prescribed arch support in my
shoe realigns my foot in relationship to my
knee and corrects the problem and the pain.
Knee braces can be worn to help stabilize
the joint, assist with proper alignment, or
provide compression for healing. They
range widely in materials, complexity,
and price. You may want to start by
trying a general, light support brace and
see if it provides you any relief.
You will need assistance from a professional
to select and fit a more specific brace to your
condition if you feel that is necessary.
Always remember that knee braces are
not to be used as a sole treatment. They
can be helpful in combination with other
techniques we discussed.
Most importantly, STAY ACTIVE!
When pain and stiffness set in, some
naturally limit activity to avoid discomfort
or stop activities all together to prevent
damage. However, damaged knees
actually worsen as a direct result of
At Peak Potential Physiotherapy and
Wellness, we have a long list of tools we
utilize in addition to exercise to
conservatively treat knee pain including:
- ASTYM (www. astym.com)
- Dry Needling
- Manual Therapy
- Taping techniques
- Adjuncts such as ultrasound or e-stim
If you are interested in more tips and tricks
to treating your joint pain, request our FREE
"8 Proven Ways for Runners to
Stop Nagging Hip and Knee Pain"
Not just for runners, this report can help
anyone alleviate knee or hip pain and regain
mobility. Click HERE to get it today!
Whether you are at a stage of sore and
stiff or sharp and severe, now is the time
to take action. You can significantly impact
your pain level and improve your function
for years to come.