Your well-being is dependent on functioning knees more than you may know. Think about it. If you have knee pain, even simple tasks such as walking or using the stairs can become tedious.
People who exercise regularly are unable to do activities like run, weight train, or dance if they are experiencing knee pain. Preventing or dealing with knee pain is important during exercise, and the following techniques will help you accomplish that.
Preventing Knee Pain
Maintaining healthy body weight is important in preventing knee pain. When you walk on a flat surface, one and a half times your body weight in force is placed on your knees. A 150 lb person will put 225 lbs of pressure on their knees with each step. Using stairs or running increases this force exponentially.
This is why maintaining a healthy weight is important to knee health. If you are overweight, try and reduce portion sized and eat healthy foods while exercising to ensure weight loss. When exercising, it is important to choose an appropriate type of exercise to prevent injury to your knees also, especially if you are 50lbs or more overweight. Cycling is a great exercise for weight loss that does not put a large amount of pressure on your knees. Pool workouts, using the elliptical, or rowing machine are all other low-impact workout choices for weight loss.
As orthopedic doctors, we often have to take off our white coats for orthopedic doctors, and get into the fitness routine too! The old adage is true: if you don’t use it, you lose it.
Maintain A Healthy Balance of High and Low Impact Exercises
It is important to allow your knees time to rest, regardless of your size. This is why our orthopedic doctors recommend balancing your workouts between high and low impact exercises. If you are someone who likes to run, alternate with low impact activities like cycling, swimming, or lifting weights on machines.
Constantly pounding the joint can cause issues, so giving your knees a break is important. Cross-training is also important to make sure that you are not overdeveloping certain muscles. If you focus on the same muscle groups repeatedly, you can cause muscle imbalances which can lead to pain and dysfunction of your knee joint.
Choose Appropriate Footwear
Having a properly fitted shoe is very important in maintaining proper body biomechanics. You can get fit for the perfect shoes for you at your local sports store. Most running-shoe specialty stores will offer you gait analysis free of charge to help you choose a properly fitting running shoe. It is also important to replace your shoes regularly.
The average shoe lifespan is 500 miles before they start to lose support and break down, which can put a strain on your knees. It is also recommended that the shoes you purchase are appropriate for the sport you are doing. Running shoes will not offer lateral movement for fitness classes and basketball shoes will not have enough cushion for running. Sometimes you will need to have multiple pairs of shoes if you participate in a variety of activities.
Focus on Strengthening Your Leg Muscles
Lastly, our Atlanta orthopedic doctors recommend that you strengthen the muscles of the leg that surround the knee. This allows for stability and support to be provided to the knee joint. Do not just focus on doing squats. Use the leg-curl machine also. Train all the muscle groups in the leg to help provide support to the knee. Work on your quadriceps, inner and outer thighs, hips, and hamstrings. Lunges, squats, leg presses, hip bridges, and lateral leg extensions are all great workouts that will address the important leg muscle groups.
If you have any additional questions about maintaining proper knee health, call our office at (404) 855-2141 and we will be happy to discuss additional suggestions with you.