Knee pain can impact every aspect of your life, including limiting your mobility. You’ve been trying to do things to reduce your pain, but what if you’re actually making it worse? Here are a few common mistakes that Dr. Nolan, a highly skilled orthopedic surgeon, sees in his office time and time again that can make knee pain worse.
From knee braces to orthopedic shoes, support gear can definitely help lessen knee pain. But it’s only helpful if you have the right gear.
Starting with shoes, you need to be sure you have the proper support to match your type of physical activity. Trying to run or even walk in stylish but not supportive shoes will only result in further injury. Take a bit of time and get fitted for the right shoes for you.
The same advice applies to knee braces and canes. Trying to save money on a brace by purchasing it at the drugstore is not going to lessen your knee pain. If the pain is severe enough, it may require a specialized brace that is fitted by a trained orthotist. A cane should also be fitted to you. Using a cane that isn’t appropriate can cause more pain and put you at risk for injury.
You don’t want to make the pain worse or injure yourself during exercise, so you just stop exercising all together. After all, it hurts when you move! But being completely sedentary can actually make pain worse, not help reduce it.
Joints need physical activity to stay flexible, and muscles need exercise to stay strong. If you’re not sure where to begin, Dr. Nolan can guide you toward exercises that work for you.
Instead of taking it easy, you’ve decided that knee pain won’t stop you from doing what you love to do. Although your determination is impressive, your regular activity could be making the pain worse. Trying to “push through the pain” is a common mistake people make. Activities like running, jumping, or other high-impact exercises put stress on the knees.
It’s worth repeating here: Don’t give up on exercise completely. Instead, look for things you can still do. Try low-impact workouts like swimming or cycling. A physical therapist can also help design a workout program that is appropriate for your specific condition to support your knees.
With each move you make, your knees bear the brunt of every extra pound you’re carrying. Being overweight is a major risk factor for osteoarthritis, a painful degeneration of the joints. Losing weight can slow the progression of arthritis.
You don’t need to lose 50 pounds overnight. Even losing just 5% of your body weight can decrease the impact on your joints and reduce pain. Focus on making small changes to your diet and lifestyle that can help you lose weight gradually.
You can make many changes to your home to support the health of your knees. Adaptive equipment like bed rails and toilet-seat heighteners can help. Make sure your home is designed to reduce the risk of falls, which could increase knee damage.
Keep clutter and power cords off the floor, use the handrails on the stairs, and be cautious when exiting the shower. Making your environment safe for you and your knees can also help prevent injury and pain.
Being proactive about managing your knee pain can help you stay active and enjoy the things you love.