While knee pain is very common, in many cases the knee isn’t the ongoing problem. It’s actually the way you cause wear-and-tear to your knees because of bad habits. Knee problems can seriously reduce your quality of life and limit your movements.
You use your knees to rise, walk, run, bend, jump, and turn. The knee is a complex joint that can develop mechanical problems if bad habits never turn into good habits.
Todd S. Koppel, MD, of Garden State Pain Management treats all kinds of painful conditions. He is a pain management expert, specializing in osteoarthritis of the knee joint. He uses cutting-edge technology like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and Regenerative Cell injections to reduce pain, and regenerate and repair tissue. Dr. Koppel has many ways to help you avoid invasive surgery, beginning with identifying bad habits that could be making your knee pain worse.
Common causes of knee pain
Because the knee is such an intricate and necessary joint, pain can stem from many different causes.
You might be running the wrong way. You know how vital exercise is to a healthy life, but running or jogging might be making your knee pain worse. Running on hard surfaces like roads and sidewalks causes direct and stressful joint impacts. Instead of putting running on your never-to-do list, use alternative running surfaces like sand, tracks, or trails.
Lack of exercise
On the other hand, your knee pain could be made worse by not moving enough. Low-impact exercises help you maintain flexibility and overall fitness without stressing the knee joint. Swimming is an excellent low-impact activity to ensure you keep a good range of motion and release plenty of endorphins to keep pain at bay.
Have you checked out your footwear lately? Inappropriate shoes can cause knee pain. Flip-flops, for example, don’t give your body proper support, but a sturdy pair of athletic shoes does. The right shoes distribute your weight more evenly, causing less stress to your knee joint.
You could be experiencing knee pain because you’re overweight. Every extra pound puts further pressure on your joints. In fact, obesity is a major cause of osteoarthritis. The more overweight you are, the faster you’ll accelerate this risk.
Good habits to reduce knee pain
Besides losing weight, there are other good habits you can start today that help reduce your knee pain. Whether your discomfort stems from an injury, arthritis, gout, or something else, there are healthy ways to deal with an aching knee.
The first step is to make sure you are strengthening your knee. This is a great way to prevent knee pain and reduce your risk of exacerbating a knee condition you’re already dealing with. Building up the muscles stabilizes your knee joint and absorbs the stress. To strengthen your knees, do exercises like squats or walk up and down the stairs.
If you stand all day on a hard surface for work, the soft cartilage in your knee may become irritated. Try using cushioned shoe inserts, using a stool to work, or placing a soft mat under your feet. This reduces knee pain and your chances of developing a more serious condition like osteoarthritis.
As you age, your body naturally stiffens. Dr. Koppel works with you on increasing your range of motion as a noninvasive option to relieve knee pain and strengthen your leg muscles. Stretching, cycling, or yoga are fantastic choices for low-impact exercises that keep your knees loose and flexible.