You may think that knee pain is inevitable as you age, and it’s true that your risk of developing knee problems increases as you get older. However, you can do many things to protect your knees and potentially avert issues!
Patients who have knee pain for all kinds of reasons from sports injuries to arthritis can see the expert providers at Dr. Louis Keppler & Associates. In many cases, we can help you recover better, slow the degenerative process, or simply protect your knees from future problems. In this post, we describe six common mistakes we see people make when it comes to knee health.
One of the biggest mistakes we see patients with knee pain make is to begin using their knees less. For example, if you have osteoarthritis and moving your knee hurts, you may think the best approach is to rest your joint and let it heal. The problem is that resting doesn’t promote healing; instead it allows the structures that support your joints to become weaker.
Exercise with caution, but do exercise. If you have knee pain, talk to your doctor about what you can do safely to strengthen the muscles that support your knee. You may need some physical therapy sessions to learn the best way to get stronger, or you may simply need to begin slowly and build up your strength.
Each excess pound you carry exerts pressure on your knee joints. If you’re overweight or obese, losing some weight is a great way to protect the health of your knees.
Managing your diet and eating a variety of nutritious foods in appropriate amounts is crucial to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Exercise can play a role, too, and has the added benefits of strengthening your joints and providing stress relief.
The shoes you wear matter when it comes to the proper function of your knees. Avoiding high heels and opting for shoes that support your feet and promote proper joint alignment can help protect your knees.
It’s especially important to make sure you choose shoes suited to your activities, as well. For example, if you walk for exercise, make sure to wear sneakers that support your feet rather than casual or dress shoes.
Although we encourage you to exercise cautiously if you have knee pain, we also want you to pay particular attention to how your knee pain may change. If, for instance, you take a jog and notice your knee is swollen and more painful than usual the next day, you may need to rest a day or two and choose a lower impact activity when you resume exercise.
Often, when we say “exercise,” we think of aerobic exercise such as swimming or cycling, or strength training, such as lifting weights. It’s also important to make sure your exercise regimen includes flexibility, mobility, and range-of-motion exercises.
You may want to take a class like yoga or tai chi to help you understand how to incorporate mobility training into your routine. Physical therapy is another good option to learn how to gently improve the range-of-motion of your knee joints.
Another common mistake, particularly among working adults, is playing hard on the weekend but neglecting exercise most of the rest of the week. This can be a recipe for injury, so take care.
It’s much safer to exercise more moderately on a frequent basis than to try to pack a week’s worth of movement in a day or two. You’ll build strength slowly and avoid injuries like strains and sprains when you exercise three to five times a week and increase intensity deliberately.
If you’re concerned about the health of your knee joints, talk to one of the specialists at Dr. Louis Keppler & Associates. Many factors impact the advice we offer our patients. Your age, medical history, your daily activities, and many other considerations must be evaluated to provide specific recommendations on the most important steps you can take to protect your knees.
Schedule your appointment today, and find out more about taking care of your knees.