Have you ever wanted to start the day with a relaxing morning walk to put yourself in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day? But you remember that your knee hurts during long walks, so you decide to snooze the alarm and sleep in until it’s time to go to work?
Knee pain is a common and debilitating condition which often leads to a sedentary lifestyle. This worsens the severity of the condition and traps people in a vicious cycle of inactivity and knee pain which they find difficult to break out of. However, knee pain should not stop you from living a fun and active life!
Here are 6 simple ways that you can combat knee pain and allow yourself to stay active and pain-free:
1. Stretch Regularly
Flexibility – Use It or Lose it!
Many of us are guilty of sitting for 6-8 hours at school or work only to return home and sit in front of the television or computer for another hour or two. These stationary positions reduce the flexibility of the muscles in the body which result in increased tension at the knee joint and can lead to knee pain.
A simple solution which most of us know about but rarely do is to stretch!
A regular routine of simple stretches (which can even be done at work or school) can make a significant change to some types of knee pain.
Some simple stretches are:
1. Sit at the edge of your chair
2. Straighten leg with toe pointing to ceiling
3. Keep your back straight and relaxed
4. Bend forward from your hips
5. Feel a gentle stretch at the back of your thigh.
1. Stand behind a chair
2. Hold onto chair for support
3. Bend leg and hold onto ankle
4. Keep your back straight and relaxed
5. Pull your thigh backwards
6. Feel the stretch at the front of your thigh
7. Hold for 15 seconds
1. Sit at the edge of your chair
2. Wrap a belt/towel around the ball of your foot
3. Straighten your leg
4. Pull your foot towards you with the belt/towel
5. Feel a stretch at the back of your calf
6. Hold for 15 seconds
These stretches can be done regularly throughout the day.
2. Good Posture
Sitting with your back rounded may feel comfortable but it puts your hips in a rotated position which in turn places the muscles at the back of the thigh in a shortened position. As mentioned above, this puts more stress on the knee joint, which may contribute to the pain felt at the knee.
Some simple tips to ensure good sitting posture are to:
1. Sit back into the chair
2. Ensure lower and middle of the back are in contact with the backrest
3. Do not cross legs
4. Ensure feet are in contact with the ground
3. Change Positions Regularly
Sit, Stand, Sit, Repeat!
Ever gotten so engrossed in your work that you stayed seated at your desk for hours on end? So have I! But ‘Motion is Lotion’ and ‘Rest is Rust’. Staying in one position for a prolonged duration, even with a good posture, results in the stiffening of muscles and joints.
Taking short breaks every half an hour by walking around or even standing up for a minute can make a difference to the body’s flexibility.
4. A Good Pair of Shoes
Find Your Glass Slipper
A well-fitted pair of running shoes with the appropriate arch support for your feet ensures that the forces generated when walking or running are transmitted correctly through the ankles, knees and hips without causing unnecessary stress at the joints. Additionally, ensure that the soles of your shoes are not worn out and if they are, it’s time to get a new pair!
5. Stay Active with Aqua Exercises!
I Like To Move It, Move It!
Knee pain often makes walking an impractical form of exercise due to the pain experienced during weight bearing.
One solution is to try walking in a swimming pool! The buoyancy of the water reduces the weight of the body and decreases the stress placed on the knees. This serves as a good form of low-impact cardiovascular exercise. At the same time, the resistance generated by walking in water strengthens the leg muscles!
Try walking forwards, backwards and side-ways to strengthen different groups of muscles.
6. Moderation is Key
With all things in life, moderation is the key to maintaining consistency. Although we encourage developing a routine of regular stretching and exercising, it is important to start at a low intensity and frequency and gradually progress at your own pace. This reduces the chances of worsening your pre-existing symptoms, which may reduce your motivation to stay active!
*Please ensure that there is no pain when performing any of the exercises listed above. Consult a Physiotherapist before trying any of the exercises if you are unsure of how to do them or if you need assistance in developing an exercise plan.