Knee pain is a total pain! It can feel like it comes out of nowhere. Fortunately, many types of knee pain are easy to treat, especially with physical therapy, the right lifestyle changes and the support of a multi-specialty care team of doctors and experts.
Read on to learn the top things you should be doing to combat knee pain, today.
Get rid of knee pain by:
Moving more often
Surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly, moving is really important for your knees. If you think about your knees like a car, it makes sense that you’d need to take them for a spin regularly to keep them working in tip-top shape. By moving your knees, you encourage blood flow, decrease swelling and strengthen the muscles that support your joint.
Doing physical therapy exercises every day
Incorporating a good physical therapy routine into your day-to-day can really help with knee pain. Multiple studies have found that doing regular, tailored-to-the-patient physical therapy helps get rid of pain and improve everyday knee movement.
Choosing a physical therapy plan with strength at its core
A personal strengthening plan is key. It might surprise you to learn how important strengthening is to knee pain. We’ve partnered with our friend Craig Lindell, Doctor of Physical Therapy, to bring you this quick explanation of why your physical therapy program needs to include strength training:
Other things causing knee pain that you can tackle from home:
There are other factors that can affect how much knee pain you have each day. Two of the biggest factors are:
Did you know that, according to Dr. Hood, each extra pound you have translates into 4-5 pounds of extra pressure on your knee?
This also means that each pound you lose equals 4-5 fewer pounds of pressure on your knee.
The good news is that with some extra help, losing weight doesn’t need to be difficult. You can check out our blog for other nutrition tips.
An inflammatory lifestyle
Pain and inflammation work together. When we get a little cut, it might turn red and get hot or swollen. This is inflammation at work. In short-term doses, inflammation is actually a good thing. It signals that there’s a problem and the body works on repairing that specific area.
Long term though, inflammation can wreak havoc on the body. When your body is in a continual state of inflammation all the time, it’s less able to fight off diseases.
- Long-term inflammation can cause body pain, fatigue, weight gain or loss, bowel problems, more frequent infections and mood issues.
- Inflammation can be caused by: poor diet, stress, smoking, being overweight and poor sleep.
If you find yourself eating a diet rich in sugars, white carbohydrates, meat and fat, your body is producing more pro-inflammatory molecules than it would otherwise.
Reverse inflammation at home
Fortunately, it’s easy to reverse chronic inflammation with lifestyle changes.
One of the biggest and easiest ways to reduce your inflammation (and likely your knee pain) is by eating better foods. When we say better, we mean natural, whole foods.
- Fat, specifically trans and saturated
- Sugar, not including natural sugar found in fruit
- Red meat and refined meat products
- High-glycemic carbohydrates (like white flour, processed baked goods, cereal)
- Fruit and vegetables, specifically blueberries, apples, cherries and cruciferous vegetables (slightly spicy vegetables like turnip, arugula, cabbage, broccoli and bok choy)
- Fiber from whole grains and nuts
- Green tea and black tea, both of these have polyphenols which are anti-inflammatory. In studies, drinking 2-3 cups a day of tea was associated with lower C-reactive protein (a signal of inflammation in the blood)
- Turmeric contains an anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin which has had a lot of success as an anti-inflammatory. One study even found that when compared to Tylenol, curcumin was similarly effective for pain relief.
Stressing less, getting into meditation and mindfulness and sleeping properly are all simple ways to reduce your chronic inflammation over time.
Saying no to smoking and alcohol are also ways to reduce inflammation.
A sample physical therapy plan
Participating in a tailored physical therapy routine several times a week can really show knee pain who’s boss.
We believe no one should have knee pain. So, we want to share part of our Week 1 physical therapy routine from the Knee Pain Program. It focuses on range of motion and neuromuscular reeducation of the knee and surrounding areas:
- Spend 10 minutes on a bike each day
- Do a few patellar mobilizations and seated heel raises
- Strengthen your nearby muscles with quad sets and clams
- Add some heel slides, if you have a resistance band
Always best to make a plan with a professional
While we stand behind the exercises and advice above, we really recommend seeing a professional and consulting with them about what’s best for you. They’re able to assess exactly where you’re at today, give you helpful tips and advice and plan with you to help you get to where you want to be.
Looking for more support?
We hope this article was helpful. If you want access to a daily program designed for your pain, 1:1 physical therapy, and doctor visits with top knee pain professionals, register for PeerWell Health. PeerWell Health is a virtual clinic for knee pain that gives you access to telehealth doctor visits.
If you’ve been suffering from painful joints, whether it’s from a recent injury or a chronic condition, and you’d like to learn more about getting whole-person treatment with PeerWell Health, schedule an appointment today!