Do your knees bother you when you head up or down stairs? Does the nagging pain prevent you from enjoying walks, hikes, running, or your tennis or pickleball games? Knee pain is extremely common, so it’s important to know it's really possible to reduce or even alleviate it!
Instead of scrolling the internet or crowdsourcing for solutions, or taking all kinds of supplements that promise (and fail) to maintain or help build cartilage, what else can you do?
Check out our suggestions below:
Hydration - Yes, hydration truly is important to keep the joints in the body lubricated. There is much more to the specific process for how hydration works (at the cellular level up to the system level), but just know that staying hydrated is really important. The rule of thumb for hydration is to drink the number of ounces of water per day that equals at least ½ your body weight. So, if you weigh 120 pounds, aim for 60 ounces of water each day. Just fill up your 20 ounce water bottle 3 times a day and you’re there!
Flexibility - Tight muscles around the knee can contribute to knee pain, but you can actually reverse this! By taking some time to stretch the hamstrings, quads, calf and the Achilles tendon, you can reduce compression around the knee and thus limit or prevent pain.
Strengthening - As with many parts of the body, strengthening the supporting muscles is often part of the equation. With respect to the knees, addressing the strength of the quads, hamstrings, and hip muscles, especially the glutes, is important. Why the hips? Hip strength is crucial to help with the mechanics of the entire leg, especially the knee.
Cardio and weight-bearing exercise - Cardiovascular exercise is good for most parts of the body and weight-bearing exercise helps to lubricate the knee joint. This doesn’t have to be running - walking, biking or swimming can be just as helpful. Along with the lubrication of the joints is the potential weight loss effect of exercise. For every 1 pound lost, it equals 4 pounds of force reduced. So even a modest loss of 5 pounds equates to 20 less pounds of stress on the knee!
Addressing any part of your body that hurts or has limited mobility – If you’re dealing with any ache or pain, it’s always better to pay attention to and address it right away. Pain in one part of your body can affect the entire system. Too often we live with an issue for weeks or months before we seek help. The longer issues persist, the more chronic and challenging they can be to get rid of. And limping around for weeks or longer does nothing for the overall health of your knees!
Adopt these five easy tips and you’ll be on your way to happy, healthy knees!
Jen and I would love to help you incorporate these tips to keep your knees (and the rest of your body) healthy and moving pain-free. You can call us at 720-320-4212, or email us at email@example.com to schedule an appointment.
Here’s to your best health!
Dr. Trish PT, DPT
Dr. Jen PT, DPT