Staying active or physical activity in general can take a toll on your knees. Were you aware that next to back pain, knee pain is one of the most common complaints from people of all ages? Knee pain affects millions of people. In fact, 15-20% of people report having had pain in their knees. Injuries are a common cause of knee pain, but it can also be due to overuse, arthritis, osteoporosis, tendonitis, repetitive movements, certain exercises such as running, or some other underlying issue. So how do you deal and relieve that dang pain?
Go see your doctor
A doctor may help you figure out the cause of your discomfort. If you’re in excruciating pain, don’t wait! See your doctor right away. Any DIY treatments might make it worse. Especially if it’s a serious injury. Now, if the pain is bearable and isn’t a serious injury, then you might be able to tackle it yourself.
Time to RICE
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). This is great for minor injuries or a flare of arthritis. Rest up and ice, ice, baby because it will help reduce swelling. Don’t forget to bandage and keep that knee elevated!
Stretch and roll
Tight muscles can very well be the culprit of your pain. Do you even remember the last time you stretched or rolled it out?
Foam rolling is very important because it’s beneficial. It assists with stopping and preventing knee pain. Although you do not directly roll your knees, you can foam roll the muscles and tendons around it, such as the quads or calves to maintain flexibility and proper alignment of the joints. The foam roller can also be used on other muscles that support the knees like the gluteus maximus or tensor fasciae latae.
There are a ton of different rollers out there. Some are hard or soft, but some people find that using a soft roller is more manageable for their needs.
Get a rub down
On the same note of getting the knots out, if rolling yourself out is too difficult for you, then enlisting the assistance of a massage therapist would greatly help. Massaging it will help you relieve that feeling by putting the right amount of pressure on it. Massage therapy will stimulate blood flow and allow blood and oxygen to get into the joint. It can help reduce inflammation as well as minimize stiffness. The more blood flow you have in and around your knees, the more it is able to makes healing faster and easier.
If it isn’t a knot, it could be scar tissue from a previous injury or surgery causing the pain. Massage therapy has been proven effective in breaking down scar tissue, which improves the recovery process.
Shed some weight and clean up your diet
Did you know that knees take the brunt of your body weight? Overweight or obese people are more likely to have knee pain than their smaller counterparts. Each pound you gain is equal to four pounds of pressure on your knees. That extra weight means more work for your joints. Shedding some extra weight will not only increase your health, but also help lessen knee pain, including pain caused by arthritis. In addition, you can reduce knee pain by 50%, as well as your risk of osteoarthritis by simply dropping 10-15lb. If doing this alone is too daunting, consider hiring a nutritionist, a personal trainer, or someone who offers both. You may need them for the next tip anyway.
Don’t overdo it when you exercise
Already into fitness and working out regularly? Well, maybe you’re overdoing it or your form isn’t right. Doing exercises improperly or overexerting yourself may also result in knee pain. Running on concrete is harder on your knees compared to grass, which puts less pressure on your feet. A better way to run is on a treadmill or track, which is considered more of a mid-range surface that falls between soft and hard. You could also alternate jogging with walking. Maybe try biking as it won’t put as much strain on your knees. Be careful though. It can also cause pain if you crank the resistance too high on a stationary bike, the saddle is pushed back too far or is too low. Another great cardio machine that’s easier on the knees is the elliptical. Swimming or water exercises are another good alternative. It’s best to try out what works best for you.
If you go to the gym to hit the weights, remember to warm up no matter what exercise you do, especially if it’s involving your lower half. If you’re not already incorporating strength training, you will continue to lose muscle strength as you age. Working a desk job or something else sedentary will increase your chances of injury, if you suddenly decide to just dive back into fitness without easing yourself back in. Invest in yourself and get a personal trainer to teach you how to do things properly.
Strengthen your muscles
As we get older, it’s normal to experience wear and tear or to lose strength, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do things to prevent it. Exercises to strengthen the upper leg muscles— the quadriceps and hamstrings can help to protect the knee joint. Working and strengthening these muscles will help them stabilize the knee.
Do you have osteoarthritis? Don’t worry. Many people worry that exercising with osteoarthritis could harm your joints and cause more pain, research shows that people can and should exercise when they have osteoarthritis. Exercise is considered the most effective non-drug treatment for reducing pain and improving movement in osteoarthritis.
Three kinds of exercise are important for people with osteoarthritis: exercises involving range of motion (flexibility exercises); endurance or aerobic exercises; and strengthening exercises. Each one plays a role in maintaining and improving your ability to move and function.
It’s a good idea to work with a personal trainer. Especially if you’ve never exercised before or aren’t sure where to start. You shouldn’t just dive in unprepared or you risk further injuring yourself. A personal trainer can help you gradually build strength and teach you proper form. They will be able to suggest the best exercises and programs for your fitness level. Don’t forget to do your research as not all fitness/rehab professionals are made the same. Each personal trainer will have different specialties and experience levels. It’s important to work with someone that has the qualifications you seek.
If you’re located in Las Vegas near the Summerlin, Peccole Ranch, or Spring Valley area, then I can assist you in strengthening your muscles and easing your knee pain. I train out of Rebel Fitness in Summerlin. I have clients of all ages and most have come to me with injuries, especially knee pain. All of them have regained more mobility, balance, and flexibility. Let me help you too. Contact me now.