Americans are no strangers to knee pain. Research suggests that 14 million people in the United States have symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA) and the prevalence of knee OA has doubled since the 1950s.
OA is one of the primary drivers of knee pain, but the problem can develop for any number of reasons, including injury. No matter how your knee pain developed, there are some universal dos and don’ts.
To help you better manage your knee pain, the team of musculoskeletal experts here at Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management want to highlight a few habits or conditions that may be making your discomfort worse.
A matter of weight
One of the biggest problems when it comes to ongoing knee pain is carrying excess pounds. It’s no coincidence that the rate of knee OA has risen in lockstep with the rate of obesity. All of the joints in your body are designed to carry a certain amount of weight, and these load-bearing responsibilities are especially important in your knees.
Your knees are sensitive to extra weight: If you’re just 10 pounds overweight, you’re placing an additional 15-50 pounds of pressure on your knees. This pressure can not only exacerbate existing knee pain, it can lead to excessive wear-and-tear and early onset of knee OA.
One of the best steps you can take to alleviate knee pain is to make sure you’re not overburdening them with extra weight.
Joints are meant to move
Another problem that can lead to knee pain may seem counterintuitive — you’re not moving enough. Joints are designed to move and work best when they’re routinely exercised. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, your knees can grow stiff and the supporting structures around your knees can weaken.
We understand that moving may be the last thing you want to do when you’re dealing with knee pain, but, if you start slowly, you can reduce the inflammation and strengthen your knees for pain-free movement in the future.
Avoid pounding your knees
We just said that movement is good for your knees, but we don’t want you to go out and, literally, pound the pavement. If your knees are painful, find ways to exercise that don’t rely solely on your knees. For example, instead of running around a track, find a yoga class or try swimming in your local pool.
If the shoe fits
Another issue we see here at our practice is not providing your knees with the right support and equipment, which starts down at your feet. You should wear shoes that provide good balance in your feet because when they’re off balance, the effects are felt in your knees. A great idea is to invest in some custom orthotics that help provide this balance.
Don’t ignore knee pain
Another problem we see all too often is when people only come to see us when the pain gets unbearable. Many knee problems are degenerative or progressive, and the earlier you seek medical help, the sooner we can bring you relief. This type of early intervention can also go a long way toward preventing more serious knee problems down the road.
If you’re struggling with knee pain and you want to find the best road to relief, you can follow the tips we mention above and see us for more targeted treatments. To get started, contact one of our offices in Staten Island or Hartsdale, New York, to set up a consultation.