Nearly all of us experience knee pain at some point in our lives for various different reasons. Knee pain is mainly caused by overuse of muscles, arthritis, or excessive foot pronation amongst other reasons, with knee arthritis the leading cause of chronic disability for US residents over 65. The good news is, chronic knee pain is actually avoidable, and there are several steps you can take for knee pain treatment.
Recently the New England Journal of Medicine published research suggesting physical therapy and exercise are just as good as surgery when it comes to knee pain treatment for arthritis. Taking good care of our knees by strengthening and stretching the key supporting muscles can prevent knee pain.
With that in mind, here are five useful methods you can try to help reduce your knee pain.
Stretch Your Muscles
We all know that sitting on our butts all day isn’t good for us. When our muscles begin to atrophy or grow imbalance due to this sitting fest, our inner thigh muscles (hip adductors and hamstrings) end up working overtime which often means extra pressure on our knee joints. Taking the time to stretch out our support muscles will lessen the chance of them tightening and causing any muscle imbalances. So, stretch your supporting muscles, and also strengthen weak muscles like your glutes (more about that below).
Strengthen Your Butt
Who thought knee pain treatment would involve your butt? Well, it does. In fact, many knee injuries are actually caused when your hip muscles are weak; this is especially true for Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears. Weak butt muscles can cause your pelvis to drop and your femur to fall inward, creating extra stress from your hip right down to your knee and ankle!
A way to combat this is by doing hip extensions in order to help you strengthen up those glutes.
Tone Your Core
Weak core and abdominal muscles are another reason for your pelvis to tip forwards, but they can also cause other health problems and affect areas such as balance. There are plenty of ways to strengthen your core, such as stomach crunches, ab ball exercises, yoga, kickboxing or pilates.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight greatly increases your risk of developing knee osteoarthritis (fives times more likely for men, four for women). Research has shown that just a 10 per cent decrease in weight can provide you with an impressive 28 per cent increase when it comes to knee function. How’s that for a fair trade? If you’re suffering from knee pain, try low-impact cardio such as a cross trainer, stationary bike, or water aerobics.
Wear the Right Shoes
Wearing high heels can increase compression on those knee joints by as much as 23 per cent, as well as encouraging tight muscles in your calves; another source of knee pain. Wear shoes that are comfortable and practical when possible, or at least go for a smaller heel when walking is involved.