“Individuals with knee pain should decrease their physical activity as this places added pressure on joints and increases the pain”
An active lifestyle with plenty of exercise is best for all bodies—including those that are experiencing knee pain. Those who suffer with knee pain are often at increased risk of not getting enough movement in their daily lives due to their aches and pains, but decreased mobility can actually cause greater joint issues later on. Individuals experiencing joint pain should opt for types of movement that don’t require repeated impact on the joints, for example swimming or a stationary bike. The more you move, the more likely you are to maintain your current range of motion, knee pain or not—and exercise is key in helping maintain an ideal weight, which is integral to joint health as well.
“Strength exercises are damaging to individuals with knee pain and should be avoided”
Initially, the aim is to let pain and swelling settle but we don’t want to avoid using the knee completely as this can lead to increased stiffness and longer term issues. Activation of the muscles around the knee after pain or injury is crucial for recovery as this prevents the knee joint itself from doing all the work. Simple exercises such as a squat or bridge will strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings
“Weight has no impact on knee pain”
Research has shown that those with a higher body mass index are more likely than those with a normal BMI to report knee pain and accompanying limitations. Excess weight puts additional stress on weight-bearing joints, such as the knees. Inflammatory factors associated with weight gain can also contribute to trouble in other joints. The more weight on the joint, the more wear and tear on the cartilage which can lead to osteoarthritis. With osteoarthritis, the cartilage “cushion” within a joint degenerates. This can cause irritation, pain and swelling.
During normal walking, the forces transmitted across the knee joint ranges between 2 and 3 times bodyweight. Therefore, the effect of each additional kilogram in bodyweight is multiplied by 2 or 3 times at the knee. Any small reduction in weight can have a significant impact on knee load and pain. A reduction of 1kg could reduce the force by up to 3kg during walking.
“Knee pain is always the result of an earlier injury, whether from sports, trauma or repetitive strain.”
Although knee pain can be caused by an earlier injury or trauma, this is not always the case. Knee pain can also be caused by conditions such as osteoarthritis, as mentioned earlier.
It is important to determine the cause of your knee pain in order to formulate the best treatment plan for you. Book in with one of our team of Physiotherapists here at Bend + Mend to explore the range of treatment options that are tailored specifically to your knee pain and needs.