3 Easy Steps to Healthy Knees

For many people, knee pain can be a way of life, limiting their ability to climb stairs, squat down to get something off the floor, enjoy long walks, shopping and a host of other daily activities. The knee joint is one of the most complicated joints in the body and has to bear up to 6 times your body weight with running or jumping.

 

This incredible joint has to move over a million times each year and over 80 million times over a lifetime. This is also the reason why things can go wrong, causing injury and pain.

 

How to Take Care of Your Knees

Just like taking care of your heart, your joints need attention to maintain a healthy state. Here are 3 easy ways for you to take care of your knees, avoiding arthritis and other joint problems:

 

  1. Stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps and adductor muscles each day. By keeping these muscles flexible, the forces on your knee joints can be balanced, allowing your joint to bend, rotate and for your patella (kneecap) to track properly.
  2. Keep the muscles around your hips and knees strong. Especially the gluteals and quadriceps muscles. Studies show that those adults, especially over 55 who have stronger gluteals and quadriceps, tend to have less back pain and more ability to do daily activities.
  3. Exercise regularly. While this is good for the whole body, the knees especially need exercise to keep their cartilage healthy. The cartilage does not have much blood supply and requires its nutrition from joint fluid. Most of the joint fluid absorbs into the cartilage only through movement and compression of the knee. Therefore, it is important to do weight bearing exercise such as walking, running and other sports. However, if you have arthritis, it is advised to do less impact activities such as biking, elliptical machines, aquatic exercises, etc.

 

Having a regular physical therapy checkup ensures that your joints are working

at their peak performance. In addition, any problems will be discovered early, preventing the onset of arthritis and joint injury.

 

If you have arthritis or have had surgery, then a regular physical therapy check up is especially important. If your attention is on that sore knee, then it is time you called us for a free knee joint analysis. Talk to one of our expert physical therapists today and see how life can be with freely moving knees.

Overcoming Hip and Knee Pain

Situated at opposite ends of the femur bone, the hip and the knee joints are two of the most important parts of the human body. The hip’s ball and socket structure allows the leg to have a greater range of motion, while the configuration of ligaments within the knee help support the tremendous weight of the upper body. They are marvels of evolution, and key factors in providing humans with the ability to run long distances with greater efficiency.

 

While the knees and hips are critical aspects of human physiology, they can be prone to injury and damage. Aging can diminish bone density, leading to a greater likelihood of breakage within the hip joint, while intense physical activity like soccer or running can cause knee pain or ligament damage. Thankfully, however, there are ways to overcome both hip and knee pain, and help you return to your daily activities.

 

Rest

 

If you find that you are experiencing pain in your joints or knees, the first step towards recovery is in getting adequate rest. This is especially true if the pain is the result of an acute injury sustained while exercising. Resting will ensure that no additional damage is done to the joint, and that the body can begin the process of healing any tissue damage that may have occurred. While resting, be sure to elevate your injured leg if possible; it will help to minimize inflammation, and also reduce your time on healing.

 

Ice Compressions

 

Ice is an excellent, natural way to help reduce both pain and inflammation. Since hip and knee pain are often the result of some kind of structural damage, there is very often some associated swelling that occurs. This swelling is the body beginning the process of healing the damaged tissue by flooding the injury site with various types of cells. However, although swelling is a natural part of the healing process, it can also cause discomfort. Put an ice compress on the injury for twenty minutes, and then removing it for twenty can help reduce swelling and numb the joint. Although the pain relief may only be temporary, the minimizing of inflammation will speed up the healing process.

 

Regular Stretching

 

During the excitement of exercise, stretching has the tendency to be tossed by the wayside. Those who live an active lifestyle often spend so much time on the go, that stretching can seem like a waste of time. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as stretching is a great way to minimize injury of all the joints. Proper, frequent stretching is critical to ensuring that both your muscles and joints are at their very best.

 

Should you find that your knee and hip pain is persisting beyond these simple tips, then it is important to schedule a consultation with your doctor. Chronic hip and knee pain can be indicative of more serious underlying disorders, and communicating effectively with your doctor and physical therapist is a great way to make sure that your body is performing to its potential.

 

http://www.medicinenet.com/knee_pain_facts/article.htm

 

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/knee-pain/

 

http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/causes-of-severe-knee-pain-leading-to-knee-replacement

 

Knee Pain While Running

5 Simple Ways to Beat Knee Pain While Running

We all know that running is great exercise for our bodies, but often people stop due to knee or lower leg pain. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but usually ones that we are not aware of. Over 50 million Americans deal with some sort of knee trouble, as the knees are the second most common injured joint, the first being the joints in the spine. Therefore, it is essential to know what you can do to prevent knee troubles from even starting.

Common injuries with running or exercising:

  • Patellofemoral pain
  • Meniscus tears and pain
  • Ligament injuries (ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Shin splints
  • Hamstring pulls
  • Achilles tendonitis

Most all knee and leg pain can be attributed to the following issues:

  • Poor muscular strength
  • Imbalance of muscular strength with certain muscles stronger and others weaker
  • Poor muscular coordination
  • Poor biomechanics of walking / running
  • Lack of flexibility

 

Don’t push through pain

While feeling a stretching sensation or muscle burn is a normal part of exercising, feeling pain is not. Sharp or dull pain should be paid attention to and not pushed through. Make sure you are doing adequate warming up prior to exercising as muscles and tissues require internal lubrication to work properly. Warming up brings natural fluids to the area to help with lubrication, improving elasticity and function. In addition, make sure to properly stretch after exercising to ensure that flexibility is maintained and gained.

 

 5 Ways to Improve Knee Pain

  1. Increase your leg strength. Do wall sits, knee extensions, toe raises, hip side-lifts and more. Speak with one of our professionals for how to perform these exercises correctly.
  2. Improve your patella (kneecap) tracking. Your patella needs to slide up and down and actually form a C pattern when you bend your knee. Do leg lifts with your whole leg rotated to strengthen the inner thigh and knee muscles. Make sure to stretch your kneecap up and down, side to side, to ensure gliding. Most patellofemoral pain comes from poor patella tracking and a physical therapist is the expert to diagnose and treat this problem.
  3. Maintain and improve flexibility. With running and exercising it is very common for the powerful muscles in the leg to become tighter. For example, the hamstring and outer tissues of the leg (iliotibial or “IT” band) can become very tight, altering the mechanics of the knee causing pain. Stretch after every time you run and do adequate warm ups prior. Try integrating yoga and stretching into your routines.
  4. Improve your balance and coordination. Do balance exercises to build up your proprioception (sense of balance position). Exercises such as standing on one leg with and without eyes closed are important. Don’t forget to make sure you setup for safety when performing balance exercises by having a steady surface nearby to hold onto when needed.
  5. Improve your agility. Many casual runners, simply run, but do not perform other types of important exercises such as strengthening, balance and agility training. Mix up your workouts to include these other types of exercises.

 

Seeing a specialist

If you have recurring knee pain or discomfort for more than 3 days, it is time to see a specialist. The ideal specialist to see is a physical therapist as they are medical experts in joint movement and function (kinesiology). A thorough evaluation needs to be done of your movement, walking patterns, strength, joint mobility, patella tracking and proprioception. Only then, can the true source of the pain be found, treated and help you understand what you can do to prevent it from returning. In addition, if you are an avid athlete, a physical therapist is key in helping you discover new ways to improve your movement and function, helping you improve your game. Get on the path to healthy knees and call us today for a free joint movement analysis. Discover how liberating it can be to run or exercise pain free.

relieve-knee-pain

Tips For Relieving Knee Pain

Are you one of the millions of Americans suffering from aching or painful knees? You are not alone. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 1 in 2 people may develop painful knee osteoarthritis by age 85. In addition, if you struggle with weight, research shows that 2 in 3 people may develop painful knee arthritis in their lifetime.

The knee is an incredible joint, having to sustain 6 times your body weight in force, while moving through a large range of motion. The knee joint is inherently unstable, held together by a mass of ligaments, tendons and muscles. The knee also takes a beating during your lifetime. It is estimated that you will walk an estimated 200 million steps, therefore it is easy to see why your knees sustain a lot of wear and tear over the years.

 

How to Keep Your Knees Healthy

There are a variety of factors that can cause knee pain, but it is important to focus on preventing knee pain from occurring and what can be done to keep your knees healthy.

 

Here are useful tips to keep your knees working in tiptop condition:

  • Stretch daily – With sitting for prolonged periods, walking, bending and other activities, your muscles and tissues can become tighter. Daily stretching maintains good flexibility in your muscles, tendons and ligaments around the knee. This allows the knee to continue with its normal range of movement in many directions.
  • Strengthen your legs – Since the knee is very unstable, it requires good muscle support and strength. This provides the stability needed to bend properly, walk and run. Studies show that strengthening the quadriceps muscle is very important in preventing knee pain and knee osteoarthritis.*
  • Get a tune up from your physical therapist – Your knee needs to move side to side, back and forth, and rotate. Our physical therapists are medical experts in evaluating these special types of motions called accessory movements. By evaluating and treating your knee on a regular basis, our physical therapists can keep your knees moving as they should.
  • Use ice or heat – Typically, ice is used after a flare-up of inflammation, injury or pain. Heat is used more for chronic swelling in the knee with the purpose of increasing circulation.
  • Keep your kneecap moving – The kneecap or patella is a very important part in knee function. The kneecap protects your knee, but also serves as a pulley for the quadriceps muscle to use. The kneecap tracks up and down in a C-pattern when you bend your knee. Keep your kneecap moving freely by gently pushing it down and up, and side to side. If you find your knee swells, gently lift your kneecap up and away from the joint.
  • Watch your weight – The more weight you carry, the greater the forces and loads on the knee. When squatting down you can increase the pressure on your knee by three fold. When jumping, you can increase the pressure by 6 times your body weight. Therefore, the closer to your ideal weight, the happier your knees can be.

The most important part in preventing knee pain is keeping your legs flexible and strong. If you are concerned about how your knees feel when you try to walk, bend and run, then give us a call today. Our experts have years of experience evaluating the proper mechanics of the knee and restoring them, for a pain-free future.

 

*http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9230035

 

Overcome Knee and Hip Pain

The knee joint is the second most complicated joint in the body and has to move in many directions. The knee and hip work in tandem allowing you to walk, run, squat and kneel. When either your hip, knee or ankle have problems moving, the other joints can be strained causing pain. Therefore, even if you have pain in your knees, it could be a problem stemming from your hip or ankle.

Most problems in the knee or hip come from either too little activity or too much activity. Either way, the tissues and muscles around the joints become tight, causing limited movement, strain and inflammation. This can occur from sitting a lot, injuries, arthritis, too much activity or disease.

When you lose the normal movements of the hip, knee or ankle joints your muscles have to take on the abnormal strain. This can lead to common aches and pains experienced by millions of people. In addition, it can also lead to inflammatory conditions such as bursitis or tendonitis. Bursitis is an inflammation of one or more fluid filled sacs which are located throughout your body and are designed to reduce friction between tissues. Common areas of bursitis are on the side of the hip and inner knee. Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons which connect muscles to bones.

Many people feel that medication will solve their hip, knee or leg pain. While medication can help to decrease inflammation and pain, it cannot address the root cause of the problem. This is because most pain in the hip, thigh, knee or leg comes from loss of flexibility, strength and coordination.

Things you can do:

  • Stretch daily for at least 10 minutes
  • Strengthen your leg muscles – calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus muscles
  • When sitting during the day, get up every 30 minutes to walk around
  • Be active and at the least walk 15-30 minutes a day
  • See a physical therapy professional to examine your joint movement, walking and pinpoint the root cause

The knee joint is the second most complicated joint in the body and has to move in many directions. The knee and hip work in tandem allowing you to walk, run, squat and kneel. When either your hip, knee or ankle have problems moving, the other joints can be strained causing pain. Therefore, even if you have pain in your knees, it could be a problem stemming from your hip or ankle.

Most problems in the knee or hip come from either too little activity or too much activity. Either way, the tissues and muscles around the joints become tight, causing limited movement, strain and inflammation. This can occur from sitting a lot, injuries, arthritis, too much activity or disease.

When you lose the normal movements of the hip, knee or ankle joints your muscles have to take on the abnormal strain. This can lead to common aches and pains experienced by millions of people. In addition, it can also lead to inflammatory conditions such as bursitis or tendonitis. Bursitis is an inflammation of one or more fluid filled sacs which are located throughout your body and are designed to reduce friction between tissues. Common areas of bursitis are on the side of the hip and inner knee. Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons which connect muscles to bones.

Many people feel that medication will solve their hip, knee or leg pain. While medication can help to decrease inflammation and pain, it cannot address the root cause of the problem. This is because most pain in the hip, thigh, knee or leg comes from loss of flexibility, strength and coordination.

Things you can do:

  • Stretch daily for at least 10 minutes
  • Strengthen your leg muscles – calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus muscles
  • When sitting during the day, get up every 30 minutes to walk around
  • Be active and at the least walk 15-30 minutes a day
  • See a physical therapy professional to examine your joint movement, walking and pinpoint the root cause