Knee pain can be a real annoyance and limiting factor in day to day life. It can affect how you are walking, driving, getting in and out of chairs, and climbing up and down stairs, not to mention its impact on your workouts. Knee pain can be improved, and there are many things that YOU can do to improve it. Below are 5 easy ways to help you improve your knee pain on your own!
- Normalize range of motion – joint pain (especially knee pain) can limit how much we can and are willing to move our joints. Taking your knee through full its range of motion will help lubricate it and allow for easier and less painful movement over time.
- Bike – Our joints are made to move but sometimes walking or running can be a little much for them. This is where biking can come in. The cyclic motion will help lubricate the knee joint, and it can be made relatively weightless, so there isn’t as much impact on the joint but still all the benefits from the motion. The seat can be raised or lowered to different levels allowing greater or lesser range of motion depending on need or pain.
- Squat – It may sound counterintuitive but there has been a lot of research showing that improving thigh (quad) strength improves knee pain. As in the previous bullet point, movement is key to joint health and the squat is arguably the most functional movement we can perform for the knees and legs in general, so why not practice and get stronger at this movement? If it is painful there can always be modifications made to make it doable for you.
- Foam roll – Or do whatever self soft tissue work you prefer. Soft tissue rolling is not going to change muscle length or break up adhesions but it will help decrease pain and desensitize the nerves surrounding the joint. When going after knee pain, foam roll everything around it: the thigh, the hamstrings, the IT band and outside of the leg, the inside of the leg, the glutes, the calves, even the shins. Get it all.
- Strengthen your glutes – The gluteal muscles have a big role in controlling how the knee moves. Improving the glute muscles strength and activation patterns can do a lot to offload stress to the knee joint.
You can change your pain. Normalizing range of motion, lubricating the joint with cyclic motion, desensitizing and strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee will all help!
As always, we hope this helps! If you have any questions or if you would like to read about certain topics, feel free to send us an email at TeamSP@SportsPerformancePT.com.
-Dr. Nick – Physical Therapist
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