Knee injuries are quite common among athletes and active adults and one of the leading issues I deal with daily in the clinic. When years of wear and tear take a toll on your knees, you need to turn to strategies to relieve pain. Whether a sharp pain or dull ache, knee pain is a common complaint of nearly two-thirds of active adults. Exercising can strengthen your muscles and protect your knees without exposing them to pain, because your knees require the right balance of flexibility, stability, and care to stay healthy.
Licensed physical therapist, Matt Midkiff, director of our Mesa-Gilbert clinic, is an expert in all things knee pain, specializing in ACL repair and reconstruction. He has created the following videos to address and relieve knee pain.
Here are some additional tips to avoid future knee damage and pain during exercise and everyday activities:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight causes considerable strain on your knees. One extra pound of body weight puts an extra five pounds of force on your knee joints. Additionally, if you don’t strengthen the other muscles around your knee, it can cause instability and extra pressure. To prevent these types of problems, eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and focus on strengthening your quadriceps, hamstrings, and core muscles.
- Don’t ignore abnormal pain: A little knee pain is usually nothing to be concerned about and can typically be cured with some rest and recovery. But if the pain lingers or gets worse, don’t ignore it. This could indicate a more severe problem, and you may start overcompensating in other areas (your back, thighs, feet, etc.), which could lead to other injuries. Instead of ignoring the pain or hoping it goes away, see a doctor or physical therapist to diagnose the problem and get a treatment plan correctly.
- Let your muscles rest to prevent overuse: Disregarding muscle soreness can be just as dangerous as ignoring the pain. Soreness is a sign that your muscles are growing and rebuilding. After a challenging workout or activity, give yourself a chance to recover for a day or two before exercising again. Stretching also helps muscles heal faster, so be sure to take a few extra minutes before or after your workout to warm up or cool down.
- Get a physical therapist’s or trainer’s help with strengthening and agility: ACL tears (the ligament on the outside of your knee) are among the most common knee injuries due to your knees’ natural instability. Physical therapists and neuromuscular trainers can teach you how to improve your strength, agility, and performance to avoid ACL tears and other knee injuries. If you’ve already experienced a knee injury, seeing a physical therapist can help you recover quicker, regain strength, and return to regular activity as soon as possible.
It’s easy to take our knees for granted, but having an injury can be debilitating, frustrating, and painful. Becoming aware of the dangers and learning better habits now can help you be mindful and avoid problems later. For more advice on how to avoid injuries or to get more information on knee pain treatment in Phoenix, schedule your appointment with Matt Foothills Sports Rehab Physical Therapy.