Prolonged pain in your knees can come from many causes. If you're not careful, you could even be making your knee pain worse without knowing it. At Empire Physical Therapy & Athletic Rehabilitation, located on the East Side of Manhattan in New York City, we can help you put together a treatment plan that won't leave your knee pain worse than when you started.
Here are 5 ways you may be unknowingly worsening your knee pain.
Overuse causes knee pain for many patients. Overuse doesn't just include exercising too much though. It also happens when you don't take the time to warm up or cool down after physical activity. To enjoy your exercise sessions without further inflammation in your knees, always stretch your quadriceps and hamstrings thoroughly, both before you get started and after your workout is done.
Sitting still for too long without moving can also leave your joints feeling stiff and painful. If you're not exercising enough, your knees become under-supported. Moderate exercise strengthens your leg muscles, flexes your ligaments, and boosts your cartilage health, keeping your joints moving smoothly. Exercising regularly can also delay the development of osteoarthritis, which becomes a common cause of knee pain for many patients later in life.
To protect your knees when you exercise, choose low-impact activities like water aerobics, swimming, or bicycling. When out on foot, stick to pavement, avoiding rough terrain that can lead to twists and sprains. Always walk down hills, never run, to help to minimize your risk of knee strain.
Each pound you gain over your healthy weight adds additional strain on your joints. When you walk or run, your knees have to cope with an additional 4 pounds of pressure for each pound you are overweight. Losing weight takes the pressure off your knees, relieving aches and pains, and can reduce your risk of developing arthritis. We recommend a Mediterranean diet, including lots of fresh produce, for healthy weight loss.
Whether you're actively exercising or sitting down at work, you need the right kinds of support to keep your aching knees from hurting worse.
When you're active:
When you're resting:
If you have a knee injury, getting the right treatment is key to preventing the development of chronic issues. Immediately after a knee injury, follow the “RICE” protocol, using rest, ice, compression, and elevation to provide support and kickstart healing. While you should rest the joint after an injury, completely ceasing movement will leave you at risk of stiffening and eventual muscle weakness.
If you continue to have pain from a knee injury after a few days, get checked out by a doctor. Injuries to the structure of your knee, often presenting with bleeding and swelling, can turn into chronic problems without proper treatment.
At Empire Physical Therapy & Athletic Rehabilitation, our physical therapists, Billy Reilly and Paul LaRosa have the expertise to diagnose your knee injuries and get you back on your feet without risk of long-lasting chronic pain. If you have questions about a knee injury or chronic knee pain condition, call our office today, or book your appointment online.