Ask people you know who have dealt with knee pain, and you can expect to hear about varying levels of discomfort and limits on their activities. Maybe you don’t even have to ask; you know by seeing whether they’re able to do the activities they’ve always done, or whether just getting around every day has turned into a struggle.
Often, people with knee pain suffer in silence, perhaps because they’re not sure how to make it better. We’re here to help at Orange Orthopaedic Associates, and we have a question from the opposite point of view: Do you know what you might unwittingly be doing to make your knee pain worse?
Dr. James M. Lee Jr. and the rest of the team at our two New Jersey offices work hard to provide informed orthopedic care to our patients. However, there are also plenty of ways you can manage your knee pain at home, and this often starts with avoiding some bad habits and less effective approaches that we’re highlighting here.
Your shoes aren’t supporting you
If you’re constantly walking around in high heels, flat sneakers, or even worse, flip-flops, you’re going to need to make a change. One reason your knees are probably hurting all the time is because you don’t have the support you require.
Sneakers with good support can help protect your knees from feeling the shock experienced when your feet hit the ground. Wearing shoes that have inserts specially made for your feet is also extremely important if you already have considerable knee pain.
You’re working too hard
According to the Cleveland Clinic, people who love to run and who are especially accustomed to doing so on hard surfaces, like cement sidewalks, may need to change their fitness routine after experiencing regular knee pain.
Putting your knees through continuous, stressful activity can be too much for them, and running on hard surfaces adds to the shock on the knees. Even with good shoes, it may be time to push your body a little less in order to minimize your discomfort.
You’re not working hard enough
Although you’re still going to want to rest between exercise routines, especially if you have injured your knee, you’re going to need to get involved in workouts that encourage movement, rather than leading a sedentary lifestyle. Some low-impact exercises that can be easy on your knees include cycling and swimming.
You aren’t sleeping enough
Your body needs a good night’s sleep for it to function most effectively in all ways. This includes your joint health. If you’ve noticed that you’re constantly having trouble sleeping, try to look into some ways to make sure you’re getting at least seven hours a night.
In addition, sleeping on your side can be murder on your knees. Try sleeping on your back instead, or if you have to sleep on your side, do so with a pillow between your knees to offer them some support.
You’re carrying extra weight
It’s never easy on your joints when you’re carrying more weight than you should. It puts more pressure on them and makes it harder for you to get around. But remember, you’re not going to want to throw yourself headlong into an intense fitness regime, especially if you already have bad knees.
Instead, try to practice swimming or cycling and follow a healthy eating regimen, rather than a fad diet, every day.
You’re not listening to your body
If you really listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs. If you’re working out and you start to feel pain, slow down or stop. Give yourself a chance to assess the situation. If you’re feeling restless while sitting at your desk, get up and do some stretches. Never ignore what your body is telling you.
You’re not getting treatment
If it has been a while since you’ve been to the doctor, if you’re always telling yourself you can deal with your pain, or if you’re constantly swallowing over-the-counter pain pills to minimize the issue, it’s time to talk to Dr. Lee. Without proper treatment, your knee pain is likely to worsen.
No matter the cause of your knee pain, you deserve to be able to enjoy your daily activities. Consistency and attention to what your body needs are the keys to managing chronic knee pain and avoiding any bad habits that could be worsening it.
To make an appointment with Dr. Lee, call 973-658-7773 for our West Orange office or 973-559-4035 for our Bayonne office. You can also send us a message here on our website or use our convenient online booking feature.