After the summer months, knee pain is something I see a lot of in the clinic. It’s usually due to people being more active during summer. As we head back into fall, I see a lot of people with knee pain who’ve been suffering since the summer, but didn’t want to get it taken care of until now. So let’s get started with 3 things you need to know about knee pain after the summer.
Last week I was on the phone with one of our regular patients, Leslie. She’s 57 from South Bay and she said: “I was making the most of the good weather by visiting Watershed Park and walking around. I was fine when I got home, but then in the morning when I woke up, my knees had a dull aching pain. At first I thought “it’s just an aching knee, I’ve probably overdone it, it’s happened before”… But the pain got worse as the day went on, and it’s still bothering me. My knees ache when I walk and I’m finding it hard to go up and down the stairs.”
Now, this isn’t uncommon, especially not when we’ve had some warm weather. And when you consider that 77% of people are more active during the summer, that’s a lot of knees that could potentially become sore. The thing is, many people will put up with bad knees for days, weeks, even months, hoping that the pain will go away on its own. But the problem with that is, that 9 times out of 10, the pain gets worse and hangs around – which pains me when I know you really don’t have to suffer. So how about I give you three ideas to help you make knee pain much less of a frustration in your life? And even if you don’t go out walking often and suffer from knee pain – these tips will still be beneficial to you in helping to ease knee pain.
Tip 1: What shoes do you wear on a daily basis?
Believe it or not, the shoes you wear can have a big impact on all sorts of pain – knee, back, ankle… But when it comes to knees, wearing shoes with a heel (or a shoe that makes you walk differently) can encourage tight calf muscles and put pressure on your knee joint. A tight calf can pull the foot inward to a position called pronation, which causes your feet to collapse and your lower leg to roll in, placing stress on your knees. So choose flat shoes and stretch out those calves. On the flip side, replace your trainers and walking shoes frequently – every 300 miles, which could be three months or a year depending on your level of activity. This is a safe way to avoid wearing a shoe with poor cushioning support for your feet and joints.
Tip 2: Are you resting?
I know it’s tempting to rest if you’ve got knee pain, but too much rest can actually make knee pain worse. When you rest all day you’re not using your muscles which causes them to become weak, tight, and to ache even more when you go to move. My advice would be to find a few exercises that are safe for your knees and stick to them daily. If you’re not sure what motions are safe and how much you can do, speak to a professional. Gentle walking on flat surfaces and getting up to walk around the house frequently are safe options to keep your knees moving.
Tip 3: Here’s a simple exercise.
Grab hold of a chair, or hold onto a stable surface for support. Squat down until your kneecaps cover your big toes. Return to standing and then repeat 10 times. As you improve, try to squat a little bit lower, but be sure not to bend your knees beyond a straight right angle. If you start using these tips, you’ll be keeping your knees safe and your independence won’t be knocked!
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