Not surprisingly, knee pain is a common complaint among people of all ages, with the CDC estimating that by age 85, 1 in 2 people will experience osteoarthritis of the knee. It may have been preventing knee pain that Benjamin Franklin spoke of when he famously said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” as recovering from a knee injury and pain can be a slow, difficult process. How can you relieve knee pain and prevent it in the first place?
Wear Supportive Shoes
Supporting the alignment of your joints to prevent knee pain starts from the ground up, and if you’re consistently wearing shoes that don’t have arch support (like flats or flip flops), or shoes like high heels, you’re putting pressure on the knee by promoting improper leg alignment and imbalances. Hillary Brenner, DPM, a spokeswoman for the American Podiatric Medical Association, compares wearing flats to walking on cardboard. “There’s no arch support whatsoever,” she says. “That keeps the feet from functioning optimally and can lead to knee, hip and back problems.” You may also consider custom orthotics to correct any biomechanical issues, which could also help prevent knee pain by avoiding uneven wear on the joint. Finally, aim to replace your walking or running shoes every 300 to 500 miles of wear, which is roughly a few times a year, to get the most support.
Strengthen Surrounding Structures
Research has suggested that having weak thigh, hip and gluteal muscles can contribute to knee pain. Weak muscles keep your body from holding bones in the proper positions during movement, causing uneven wear on joints. When you strengthen those nearby muscle groups through focused exercises like squats, leg extensions, side leg raises, and bridges, you can not only relieve the knee pain you currently have, but also prevent it by stabilizing joints, and helping them to better handle the stress load involved with weight bearing activities.
Eliminate Extra Weight
Charles Bush-Joseph, MD, a sports medicine surgeon at Rush University Medical Center, says that weight plays a major role in knee pain, and losing some pounds can provide significant knee pain relief. With every step taken, two-four times your body weight is transmitted through the knee joint, so the more you weigh, the harder the impact and the more strain is put on the joint. “If you are 20 pounds overweight and have arthritic knee pain, almost half of your pain will go away by losing 20 pounds,” says Bush-Joseph. In fact, people with arthritic knees lose about 20 percent of their pain with every 10 pounds of weight loss, and a good way to prevent knee pain is to keep those extra pounds from adding on every year in the first place.
Seeking Alternatives to Prevent Knee Pain or Provide Knee Pain Relief?
The team at Health Star Clinic works with patients to develop an integrative approach to care and healing, including physical therapies, braces and support, and chiropractic care to minimize the need for medications and surgery. Contact us today to learn more.