In 1997, writer Kurt Vonnegut said in his commencement address at MIT, “Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.”
And while the class of ’97 may have missed the point then, you can bet many of them are starting to experience sore knees today.
When an athlete injures their knee, the go to treatment is “RICE” – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. The RICE therapy works consistently to relieve temporary knee discomfort caused by a minor injury. However, when temporary knee symptoms become a chronic, your body is sending an important message that shouldn’t be ignored.
In today’s blog post we take a look at 5 options that can reduce knee pain without medication or surgery.
5 Options that Can Reduce Knee Pain
1. Footwear: Good footwear is the foundation for proper joint alignment. High heels, poorly fitted shoes or excessively worn shoes can all cause your knees to move in an abnormal fashion. Even very slight changes in alignment can cause problems as you take thousands of steps a day. The more active you are, the more critical this becomes. At jones PT we use video analysis to detect the most minute abnormalities in gait and correct them with custom shoe inserts, exercise and many other techniques.
2. Kinesiotaping: Kinesiotape is a stretchy tape that can be applied to the skin in various configurations to add support or restrict movement in a joint. Its been around for decades but became really popular after its debut with the US Olympic beach volleyball team in 2012. Kinesiotaping is like a flexible customized brace for your knee. When applied correctly it can help you move better and exercise more effectively and with less discomfort.
3. Weight loss: Excess weight is responsible for a lot of damage to knees. Therefore losing even a small amount of weight can make a huge difference in the amount wear and tear that occurs in your joints on a daily basis. Contrary to popular notions, exercise is not the key to weight loss. Diet is the key to weight loss. The important part of dieting is to find one you enjoy and can stick with. Many diets come with apps that help you set goals and track your food and exercise keeping you accountable and improving your chances of success. For more ideas check out my blog post: Seven Easy Ways To Lose 20 Pounds
4. Exercise: Exercise is essential to knee health. Exercising regularly allows circulation of fluid in the knee joint that improves cartilage health. Strong muscles support the joint and protect it from damage and degeneration. What is important to learn is the different types of exercise and how they affect knee health particularly if you have some degeneration or arthritis already. Many standard gym exercises are actually bad for your knees, so its best to check with a Physical Therapist before you start your program.
5. Dry Needling: Dry Needling is another treatment that has been around a long time but has become very popular in the past 10 years or so. Dry Needling resembles acupuncture in that it involves the insertion of tiny needles under the skin. Dry Needling is a way to normalize tone in tight, sore muscles, allowing the knee to move in a more normal pattern. Many athletes use this treatment to ensure the best possible performance in competition.
I hope you find some or all of these tips useful. If you injure your knee, give it some rest, apply ice to reduce swelling, wear a compressive bandage, keep your knee elevated and catch up on that Kurt Vonnegut novel you’ve been meaning to read. However, if knee pain persists, you can talk to a Physical Therapist without a prescription.
Contact us today to schedule your free Discovery Session at one of our clinics in Hammond LA or Madisonville LA.
About the Author
Paul Jones was born in Scotland and studied Physiotherapy at Teesside University in England before moving to the USA in 1990. He founded Jones Physical Therapy in 2005 and specializes in Outpatient Physical Therapy treatment of spinal and orthopedic problems.
Paul has been a regular contributor of articles to the Times Picayune and has served as a policy advisor to the Louisiana Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, He is currently the APTA delegate for the Northshore Chapter of the Louisiana Physical Therapy Association.
This information is designed to educational in nature about lifestyle strategies to improve musculoskeletal back pain. It is not intended to diagnose or treat or cure any medical condition, disease, injury or illness. If you feel you have a condition that needs medical care you should seek help from a doctor or hospital.