Whether you’re suffering from an injury or are simply genetically predisposed to joint issues, there are a number of ways to manage knee pain. There are often many different goals with joint rehabilitation, but the path to get there is often quite similar. Runners hope to finish their perfect marathon, grandparents want to play with their grandchildren, a car accident victim has goals to walk normally again. The purpose of effective physical therapy is to improve your quality of life and get you back to living the life you want, whatever that looks like for you.
Exercise Helps Manage Knee Pain
Strength training, aerobic exercise, range of motion stretches and even tai chi have all been shown to help reduce knee pain and improve the functionality of the joint. It may seem counterintuitive to work on recovery by doing more of what got you into this problem in the first place, but sitting around doing nothing isn’t going to help you either. If you’re experiencing a sports-related injury from running or other activities, you’ll need to be careful and work with a professional to figure out the best kinds of exercises to improve your knee pain. For those suffering from osteoarthritis, exercise is a great way to maintain flexibility and freedom of movement in your knees.
Inflammation is common for an acute knee injury and long-term knee pain conditions alike. While it can be an appropriate response on the part of your body initially, prolonged inflammation is detrimental to the joint. There are over the counter medications that you may be able to take (unless otherwise specified by a doctor) that can help with inflammation, but ice and elevation are also commonly used to alleviate swelling in joints.
Choosing the Right Shoes
You probably notice that there are bad choices of footwear for maximum comfort with long-term knee pain, but is the reverse true? A 2013 study showed that shoes specifically designed for people with knee arthritis helped with walking and slowed the progression of the disease.
Listen to Your Doctor(s)
If you’ve spent the time and money going to the doctor over your knee pain, don’t ignore their advice! And that goes double for physical therapists and specialists. Whether they’ve prescribed medications or PT stretches, it’s important to stick with their recommendations.
Weight Loss and Knee Pain Management
This is definitely a longer-term solution for knee pain (after all, weight loss should be gradual for it to be healthy). The good news is that even modest weight loss can have a significant impact on knee pain.
The most important part of managing knee pain is sticking with any treatments and exercises. It can feel like a difficult slog, but the results are worth it in the long run.