with Dr. Rachel Lys, DPT
5 Ways to Reduce Knee Problems
It’s that time of year again when people become less active either due to cold weather, company visiting with impending holiday season or life stressors and one of the first places where the body will notice a change in activity is at the knee joint.
When an athlete injures their knee, the go to treatment is “RICE” – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. The RICE therapy works consistently to relieve temporary knee discomfort caused by a minor injury. However, when temporary knee symptoms become a chronic, your body is sending an important message that shouldn’t be ignored.
Below you will read 5 nonsurgical options to help reduce knee pain.
1. Footwear: Good footwear is the foundation for proper joint alignment. High heels, poorly fitted shoes or excessively worn shoes can all cause your knees to move in an abnormal fashion. Even very slight changes in alignment can cause problems as you take thousands of steps a day. The more active you are, the more critical this becomes. A PTor podiatrist with video analysis can detect the most minute abnormalities in gait and correct them with custom shoe inserts, exercise and many other techniques
2. Kinesiotaping: Kinesiotape is a stretchy tape that can be applied to the skin in various configurations to add support or restrict movement in a joint. Its been around for decades but became really popular after its debut with the US Olympic beach volleyball team in 2012. Kinesiotaping is like a flexible customized brace for your knee. When applied correctly it can help you move better and exercise more effectively and with less discomfort.
3. Weight loss: Excess weight is responsible for a lot of damage to knees. Therefore losing even a small amount of weight can make a huge difference in the amount wear and tear that occurs in your joints on a daily basis. Contrary to popular notions, exercise is not the key to weight loss. Diet is the key to weight loss. The important part of dieting is to find one you enjoy and can stick with. Many diets come with apps that help you set goals and track your food and exercise keeping you accountable and improving your chances of success.
4. Exercise: Exercise is essential to knee health. Exercising regularly allows circulation of fluid in the knee joint that improves cartilage health. Strong muscles support the joint and protect it from damage and degeneration. What is important to learn is the different types of exercise and how they affect knee health particularly if you have some degeneration or arthritis already. Many standard gym exercises are actually bad for your knees, so its best to check with a Physical Therapist before you start your program.
5. Acupuntrue: A method of Dry Needling is another treatment that has been around a long time but has become very popular in the past 10 years or so. Dry Needling resembles acupuncture in that it involves the insertion of tiny needles under the skin. Dry Needling is a way to normalize tone in tight, sore muscles, allowing the knee to move in a more normal pattern. Many athletes use this treatment to ensure the best possible performance in competition.
I hope you find some or all of these tips useful. If you injure your knee, give it some rest, apply ice to reduce swelling, wear a compressive bandage, keep your knee elevated. However, if knee pain persists, you can talk to a Physical Therapist.
From the EHPT family we wish all of our readers a happy and healthy holiday season.
As always, yours in Healing,
Dr. Rachel Lys, DPT
631-668-7600 – EastHamptonPhysicalTherapy.com