Walking, running, dancing, physical activity in general…can start to take a toll on your knees. Next to back pain, knee pain is one of the most common complaints from both the young and old. Knee pain is something that affects millions of people every day. It’s not a surprise that 15-20% of people report having had pain in these joints. Injuries are a common cause of knee pain, but you can also have knee pain due to overuse, arthritis, osteoporosis, repetitive movements, exercises such as running, or some other underlying issue. With that being said, here are some tips that may relieve it.
Go to the doctor
The first step is identifying the cause of your discomfort. If you’re always in immense or excruciating pain, then it would be best to get the opinion of a professional to ensure you didn’t do some serious damage to your knee. Pinpoint the cause of your pain. The last thing you want to do is further aggravate it.
Shed some weight and clean up your diet
Did you know that knees bear the brunt of your body weight? People who are overweight are more likely to have knee pain than their smaller counterparts. Every pound you gain is the equivalent of four pounds of pressure on your knees. The extra weight results in more work for your joints. Losing some excess weight will not only increase your health, but also help reduce knee pain, including pain caused by arthritis. Not only that, but you can reduce knee pain by 50%, as well as your risk of osteoarthritis by simply shedding 10-15lb.
Strengthen your muscles
As we age, it’s normal to have wear and tear or to lose strength, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do things to prevent it. Exercises to strengthen the muscles in the upper leg — the quadriceps and hamstrings can help to protect the knee joint. Working and strengthening these muscles will help them stabilize the knee.
It’s a good idea to work with a physical therapist or personal trainer who can assist you in gradually building strength and teaching you proper form to avoid any injuries. They will be able to suggest the best exercises and programs for your fitness level. Of course, you should do your research as not all fitness/rehab professionals are made the same. It’s important to work with someone that has the qualifications you seek.
If you already strength train, then remember to not overdo it and warm-up before exercising, as that can also be a culprit for your knee pain.
Stretch and roll
Your knee pain could very well be caused by tight muscles. Do you even remember the last time you stretched or rolled to break up the knots?
Foam rolling is very beneficial and important, as it will assist with eliminating and preventing knee pain. Although you will not directly roll your knees, you can foam roll the muscles that attach to the knees, such as the quads or IT bands 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 many different rollers out there that are either hard or soft, but some folks find that using a soft roller is more manageable for them.
Get a massage
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 faster it will heal.
Several published studies have indicated that massage also helps relieve osteoarthritis pain. Massage therapy greatly aids someone that suffers from osteoarthritis and slows the progression of the condition.
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.
Getting a massage will not only help your knee, but your therapist will also be able to work on other parts of your body that you did not realize also needed attention.
If you’re in the South Bay and would like a massage, book a session with me. My office is located in Hermosa Beach and is conveniently located near the other beach cities, such as Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach. Look forward to helping you!