Reducing Knee Pain
Written by OmegaXL on May 15, 2014
The knee is not only the largest joint in the body, but it is also the most complex. It is made up of a complicated system of bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilages, and cushioning sacs called bursae. Because movement of the knee join is involved in almost every activity, and because it is made up of so many parts, the knee is especially susceptible to injury.
There are several things you can do to help protect the health of your knees and prevent debilitating pain and injury.
- Maintain a healthy weight
– Your knees are your body’s primary shock absorber. Even low impact activities like climbing stairs require your knees to withstand the impact force of 4x your body weight. The good news is this multiplying effect means even a slight weight loss can make a big difference in how much stress you put on your knees.
- Keep moving
– When it comes to range of motion, the old adage “use it or lose it” definitely applies. If you are suffering from stiff and sore knees, getting out and moving is probably the last thing you want do, but it is probably also the best thing for you. Gentle stretching and light exercise can help keep minor issues from developing into major problems.
- Listen to your body
– If you feel knee pain with movement during an activity, stop…right away. When a tear occurs in a cartilage, tendon or ligament, the worst thing you can do is keep repeating the motion that caused the tear. Finishing that workout isn’t worth potentially worsening what could have been a minor injury.
- Stay strong
– Stabilize and support your knees by strengthening the muscles around them. In addition to doing squats and lunges to build stronger quad and hamstring muscles, incorporate exercises that strengthen the inner thigh. These types of exercises can damage your knees when performed incorrectly, so if you aren’t sure about proper form, consult a professional.
- Break the inflammation cycle
– Aching knees are a result of inflammation inside the knee joint. The problem is this swelling displaces structures inside the joint, which causes further irritation. This in turn leads to more inflammation. To help break this cycle always apply ice, not heat, to sore knees. Elevating your legs can also help reduce swelling. NSAID pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen will relieve pain and reduce inflammation, but many people are concerned about potential side effects of using them long term. For relief of the pain and stiffness that come from knee inflammation, omega 3 fatty acids are shown to be effective and safe.