The knee is a very complex joint and necessary in most of our every day activities. If you've been experiencing knee pain for an extended period of time, see your doctor to rule out any injuries that would require medical intervention or prevent you from exercising safely.
Treatment for knee pain depends on what exactly is causing it, but most mild to moderate injuries that cause knee pain will often heal on their own with time and proper care. If given the all clear by your doctor, but you still experience knee pain on a consistent or intermittent basis, there are a few things you can do to lessen the severity or cure it completely.
1. Wear properly fitting shoes.
Properly fitting shoes will allow you to maintain proper joint alignment which may be the reason you are experiencing pain. If you are not properly supported when your foot strikes the ground, either running, walking or just standing around, the more pain you may experience. Your pronation, or how your foot rolls from heel to toe when your foot strikes the ground, is how your foot reduces the stress of impact on your joints like your knees. Some people land flat foot, or are overpronators, meaning their foot rolls inward, some land neutrally, and some supinate, or roll toward the outside of the foot. Most people have foot strikes that benefit from a specific type of running shoe or can be further corrected with simple insoles. Get fitted at your local running shoe store for free to find out what type of workout shoe you should be wearing.
2. Maintain a healthy weight.
The more weight you carry on your frame, the harder it is on your joints, especially the knees. If you are already near a healthy weight, 5 or 10 pounds won't make much of a difference, but if you carry 25, 50, 100 extra pounds on your frame and are experiencing knee pain, maintaining a healthy weight will ease the discomfort and lessen your risk of developing joint conditions in the future, along with a whole host of other health benefits.
3. Rethink Your Routine.
Doing an improper exercise for your fitness level, or doing an appropriate exercise at your fitness level improperly, can cause pain or injuries anywhere in the body. First check your form. If you are experiencing pain, don't let your knees bend past 90 degrees and always drive through your heels to keep the pressure off your knee joint and on the posterior muscles where it belongs. Work in stretching and strengthening exercises for the knee, like lunges, and using stabilizing surfaces like BOSUs and balance boards to really build strong support. If pain still persists, lower the impact of your exercises until pain subsides- no jumping or running. Always build up your intensity gradually to avoid putting too much stress on your joints before your muscles are strong enough to support them.
If all else fails, or you have a full-on injury, the only way to help is to take it easy. Use the RICE method:
- Rest your knee for a few days.
- Ice your knee for 20 minutes every 4 hours for 2-3 days.
- Compress your knee using a wrap bandage or brace.
- Elevate your knee when sitting or lying down to reduce any swelling.
Kelly Turner is a fitness writer and contributor, personal trainer and social media and marketing consultant. If she's not in the gym or behind her computer, she's lost, so please call the police. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @KellyTurnerFit.