You can develop knee pain at any age for a variety of reasons. While it’s common to experience acute injuries like tears and broken bones, you can also end up with knee pain because of medical conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis and infections. Your knees also take a beating daily, leading to overuse and degenerative issues, like osteoarthritis.
While you can’t always prevent knee pain from developing, several things can put additional stress on these joints and trigger your symptoms. Dr. Christopher R. Boone in Bellevue, Washington, recommends ditching these bad habits to protect your knees and reduce your chances of pain.
Carrying excess weight
Being overweight is a surefire way to put added stress on your knees. When you’re overweight, each extra pound puts up to 3 pounds of added pressure on your knees when you walk. If you run, it more than triples. This added stress on your joints significantly increases your chances of having osteoarthritis and can even accelerate the degeneration of cartilage in your knees. Your cartilage is the protective tissue cushioning your joints that enables smooth and comfortable movement. However, when overweight men and women lost an average of 11 pounds, they reduced their risk of osteoarthritis by half.
Skipping the gym
Exercise is a crucial component when it comes to maintaining healthy knees because it keeps your muscles, bones, and connective tissue strong. At the same time, you should avoid putting repetitive strain on your joints. To protect your knees, Dr. Boone recommends participating in daily forms of moderate exercise that build strength, stamina, and flexibility. Great low impact activities often include walking, biking, swimming, yoga, and strength training. And, don’t forget to spend 5 to 10 minutes warming up and cooling down before and after activity.
If you currently have pain, Dr. Boone can determine if exercise is safe for your knees and make suggestions tailored to your specific injury and symptoms.
Practicing poor posture
Believe it or not, your mom was right about standing up straight. When it comes to your knees, it’s essential to have your muscles, ligaments, and joints properly aligned to avoid unnecessary strain.
Avoid knee pain by keeping your:
- Back straight and avoid slouching
- Knees slightly bent, never locked
- Abdominal muscles engaged
- Head centered over your body
- Weight distributed evenly between your feet
You can also protect your knees by practicing proper biomechanics while walking, running, lifting, and sitting.
Wearing the wrong shoes
Think those high heels or flip-flops are making a fashion statement? Wearing the wrong shoes can also put unwanted stress on your knee joints. To ensure proper weight distribution throughout your body, focus on wearing high-quality shoes that support your feet during physical activity, and address any anatomical considerations. Common issues that can lead to knee pain include flat or rigid arches, overpronation or supination foot rotation, and bowed legs. You can also get orthotic inserts to wear inside your shoes that address many issues and relieve pressure on your knees.
To learn more about knee pain or to find treatment, contact Chris Boone, MD, in Bellevue, Washington, by calling or booking an appointment online today.