Whether you deal with knee pain while running
, walking, going up and down stairs, or just deal with day to day aches and pains, physical therapy can help eliminate the need to take prescription drugs and get you back to your favorite activities. Here are 5 easy tips to decrease your knee pain:
1. Strengthen your glutes
Weak hips and poor motor control (coordination) can lead to added forces placed on your knee joint. Weak glutes
in particular can also lead to poor pelvic positioning. These changes in mechanics can lead to overuse injuries and more traumatic injuries like ACL tears. Glute strengthening can help prevent and correct these problems.
2. Correct mobility limitations
A lack of ankle mobility can play a large role in how much overall motion you have during activities like running and squatting. If you are performing these activities on a regular basis, without the necessary mobility, your knees are going to take the brunt of the force. Stretching your calves and working on dorsiflexion mobility can help correct this problem.
3. Train your core
When it comes to knee pain, weak abdominal muscles and decreased core endurance
are typically an underlying cause. We aren’t worried about your beach 6-pack, we are talking more about your deeper core stabilizers like your transverse abdominis. Working on core stability and endurance can help reduce knee pain by helping correct poor mechanics that occur due to fatigue or weakness.
4. Manage your weight
A high BMI
or increased weight can lead to added stress placed on your knees. Research shows that individuals with high BMI’s are at an increased risk for knee osteoarthritis (OA). With small diet and activity changes you can maintain a healthy weight and stop knee pain in the process. Cardiovascular and resistance training are a great way to build a strong, lean body. If you knee pain is so severe that it really limits your physical activity, try water aerobics or strengthening exercises in a pool. By exercising in a pool you can reduce the effects of gravity on the body, which will allow you to move pain free until you are ready to progress to land based training.
5. Look down at your feet
Proper fitting shoes can go a long way in improving the overall mechanics at the knee. High heels have shown to increase the compressive forces at the knee by as much as 23%. Worn out or poorly fitted running shoes can also cause you to over-pronate
which is a common cause of knee pain in runners.
About the Author:
Dr. Kevin Prue PT, DPT, CSCS is a graduate of Duke University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. He is the president and director of Prue Physical Therapy & Sports Performance (www.pruept.com
) located in Cary NC. He specializes sports and orthopedic physical therapy, sports performance training and injury prevention for youth and recreational athletes.