It can be frustrating when you read information on the internet that is supposed to ease knee pain, however when you give it a try, the results are disappointing.
A client of mine had the same experience and this is what she asked me:
I’m really starting to get frustrated with some knee pain I have. I feel like I’ve tried everything. I’ve looked online and was advised to exercise more regularly and have even bought a knee support that I use. I went to see my doctor and was advised to rest. Now I seem to feel worse than I originally did and don’t know why. I’m trying everything I am advised on but I don’t know what the problem is. Is there anything you would recommend or is there somewhere where I’m going wrong?
-Sandra, 52, Hart
I emphasise with Sandra, I really do. I understand that she’s trying her hardest to ease her knee pain but the reality, is that she might be doing more harm than good.
It can be frustrating to get conflicting advise, especially if it’s on the internet. I mean who do you trust? The doctor that Sandra went to see may have meant to rest from movements that may have caused her knee pain in the first place.
My reason for saying this is because sitting down really won’t ease the knee pain. Our bodies aren’t designed to sit. The knee joint and surrounding muscles are stretched, which over time, can cause your knee pain.
What makes this worse is also if you cross your legs whilst sitting or sit with your knees bent. This is stretching the joints even more. This is partly ones of the reasons as to why we are encouraged to move around after sitting for so long.
After looking at Sandra’s question, I thought it would be best to explain why some of the things you think are easing your knee pain, are actually making them worse!
Using a knee support Please don’t let the fact that this is a support fool you. Supports are meant to support you but ONLY as a last minute resort.
By this I mean, if you’re on holiday and you’re having trouble finishing a walk or if you’re climbing steep stairs at your friends house and you’re not used to it.
Don’t by any means use a support on a daily basis! Yes, it may ease your knee pain, but the truth is, it’s just masking the pain and creating a bigger problem.
Think of it like this: When you have a broken leg or arm you get a cast put on. However after 6 weeks or so, once you take the cast off, the muscles underneath are weak. This is exactly the same as wearing supports everyday.
Because the knee support, supports your joint, it takes the pressure off your muscles. However doing this everyday will make your muscles lazy and as a result, they will become weaker.
Once you take the support off because it’s eased your knee pain, there’s a strong chance it will come back quicker and worse than before! So please only use supports when necessary or you might make your knee pain worse!
Don’t just ask about your knee when going to see a physiotherapist. You may ask why when that is where the pain is but you must remember why you’re going to a physio in the first place; to find the root cause of your problems.
Yes, your knee may be experiencing the pain but the cause may be coming from elsewhere. We get this often in my clinic. Some people will come in with a knee pain and when we assess them, we find out that they have a lower back or hip problem.
So please, go and see a physiotherapist with an open mind! If they think the problem is coming from elsewhere then listen to them. Not only will they then be able to get a true diagnosis for you, you will also be on the mend a lot quicker than before!
Stop exercising! There I’ve said it. You may believe that exercising is what is stoping you from additional aches and pains, which yes, could be true.
However if you’re experiencing a knee pain at the moment, you should stop and assess your exercise routine. Do you stretch before and after exercise? Most importantly, how do you exercise?
If you mainly exercise by running, going slow on the stair master in the gym, or enjoy doing a gentle breast stroke then stop. All of the above exercises provide repetitive motions for your knee.
Over time this can make your bones wear away and ultimately can cause pain to your knee joints and surrounding muscles. You can still exercise however, just try not to do the same thing all the time!
Also if you don’t already, I really recommend you stretch before and after your workout, even if you’re going swimming! It really helps prevent any further injury and will ease your aches and pains the next morning.
Remember variation is key to better health, increasing stamina and easing aches and pains from your joints.
Another quick point I’d like to make is, no matter if you are exercising or not, remember to wear cushioned shoes or trainers. These types of shoes absorb shock when you put your feet on the floor and help support your body better.
As a result there will also be less pressure on your knee joints and less knee pain overall. Also for anyone who is fashion-savvy… trainers are officially on trend!
So why not take advantage of your trainers and help ease your knee pain in the process!
So to answer Sandra’s question: Remember that not all advice on the internet is right. It’s called advice for a reason!- There’s no evidence to prove that what they suggest works.
I also recommended Sandra to ease herself away from the knee support so that her knee gradually became stronger, and to come and see me if any pain persists.
If you feel like Sandra and would like some more tips or advice on easing knee pain, then have a look at my free knee pain report and gain back your independence!
Visit my website here where you can pick up a copy of my free report instantly: www.paulgoughphysio.com/knee-pain
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