Have you ever experienced a twinge of sharp pain in your knee? Then you’ve probably panicked with the realization of how drastically a knee injury could alter every aspect of your lifestyle. Even occasional achiness can set off a chain reaction that can lead to drastic body changes in how you carry yourself, your mood, and a drop in energy.
The reality is that whether your knee pain is very recent or long-standing, it can subconsciously slow you down in your approach to your favorite activities and dramatically limit your fitness and overall health. And the aches or pains you experience are usually a symptom of an acute or chronic injury to either ligaments that connect bone to bone, or tendons that connect the muscles to the bones around your knee.
How would you like to get started down the path of relieving your knee pain – no matter the specific cause of the new pain – by becoming a bit more proactive to help prevent more pain?
The first and most important steps in addressing reoccurring knee pain is to avoid any particular movement that inflames and causes pain. Then see your physician. If your knee pain is a result of something very wrong, get the help you need from a medical doctor.
Now, with that said, here are some useful tips for reducing the symptoms and causes of knee pain.
TREAT SYMPTOMS AND CAUSE
A complete approach to treating and preventing knee pain includes both reducing the symptoms of the pain by promoting a favorable environment for the tissues to heal, and also correcting the causes of the stress that brought on the injury in the first place. The following methods can support both:
• Foam Roll and Stretch: Doing these in sequence daily before and/or after activity will help to lengthen and/or relax the tight muscles of the hips, thighs, and lower legs that are likely contributing to the accumulation of stress at the knee. This can also immediately improve the strength of those muscles to better support the knee.
• Ice: Do this as soon as possible after activity for 15-20 minutes daily to reduce the pain and inflammation. An inflamed knee may or may not be noticeable to the eye, but is most likely present if you’ve recently had knee pain. Otherwise the healing will be much slower. Icing promotes a healing environment, and is a “miracle worker” when used religiously for pain.
• Strengthen Muscular Imbalances: When found in the legs and hips, an imbalance in your body can weaken the stability, and disrupt the mobility of the knee. Imbalances around the knee may throw off the tracking of the kneecap during knee bending, while others around the hip and ankle make the knee joint compensate and break down.
• Correct Your Form: Whether you are running, stepping, squatting, lunging, kicking, or throwing, proper technique used will be your long-term strategy for the success of reducing knee pain. Poor strategies in these movements, and many others, are often the core of the issues by creating the repetitive irritation and eventual wear and tear of the knee joint.
If you don’t take these preventative measures, then you can raise the likelihood and severity of injury, deal with chronic pain, and experience a premature sedentary lifestyle. Conversely, implementing these steps into your routine can greatly reduce– and possibly eliminate–your pain all together, and give you the freedom of movement to achieve all of your health and fitness goals. Whether you are experiencing pain in your knee or elsewhere in your body it is important to address it by giving it the opportunity to heal, and correcting the core of the issue.
After consulting and getting clearance from your doctor, a physical therapist, or a trained corrective exercise specialist like myself, I strongly encourage to you find someone who can fully support you in discovering the imbalances in your body that have disrupted your knee, and design a solid plan of action to promote healing, and correct those imbalances.
If you are recognizing that you have either acute or chronic pain that’s keeping you from doing the activities you want and achieving the level of fitness you’re looking for, then I’d like to help. Feel free to reach out and let me know your personal challenges.
It may take weeks and months to make a full recovery depending on the severity of your knee injury, and how well you comply with the above steps. During your process of reducing your knee pain, I encourage you to be patient in allowing the knees to heal completely. Even though pain will eventually subside, the trauma will still likely exist to some extent, and will still need the continued TLC to get back to 100 percent.
All the best in your health & fitness!
Adam Friedman, CSCS, CN, CMT is a kinesiologist, certified strength & conditioning specialist, certified nutritionist, and certified massage technician. He is the founder of Advanced Athletics, Inc. located right next door to the world famous Gold’s Gym in Venice, on the corner of Sunset Ave. and Hampton Drive, one block east of Main Street. To schedule a complimentary assessment, please call 310.396.2100 or e-mail Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, to learn more, visit www.advancedathletics.com.