The Do’s and Don’t’s of Managing Knee Pain
Osteoarthritis is a painful condition, and unfortunately, the most common joint disorder in the United States. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the likelihood of developing knee osteoarthritis increases with every decade of your life.
Knee osteoarthritis comes with some painful symptoms, which can be hard to live with if it progresses too much. To make sure you keep your knees feeling their best, here are five do’s and don’ts that can help you manage the pain.
Do low impact exercises
You might think that moving your joint might cause more harm than good, but that isn’t the case. Engaging in low-impact, joint-friendly exercise on a regular basis can help your knee joints become stronger and increase flexibility. Stronger muscles will help your joints handle the stress put on them better by acting as shock absorbers. Walking, biking, and swimming are also some joint-friendly exercises you can do.
Don’t rest too much
Feeling pain might make you want to sit back and rest your knee joints, but this is a vicious cycle. Too much rest can actually worsen your joint pain, which will make it harder for you to exercise. If you find a routine that works for you, make sure to stick with it. If you’re unsure of how much exercise you need, or whether it’s safe for you, consult your doctor or a professional.
Do use “RICE”
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is a process used to help relieve knee pain caused by osteoarthritis flare-ups or knee injuries. Rest your knees, apply ice to reduce any pain or swelling, wear a compression bandage, and keep your knee elevated by placing it on a pillow.
Don’t wear the wrong shoes
When you have arthritis, your cartilage and joint tissue suffer from progressive damage. Research shows that the right shoes can significantly help with supporting your knee joints and reducing pain. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and provide enough support to avoid any further injury. This may require some trial and error
Do watch your weight
Excess weight will add more stress to your knee joint, making the pain less manageable, especially if you suffer from inflammatory arthritis. Losing weight has been proven to not only reduce knee pain but also slows down the rate of cartilage degeneration in your knee. Apart from regular low-impact exercise, people with osteoarthritis can also change their diet to include more fish, walnuts, fruits, and vegetables to increase their intake of omega-3 fats.
Don’t ignore symptoms
Knee osteoarthritis is a chronic condition, which means the pain can crop up now and then, making it difficult to identify when the severity levels increase. If you find that your pain is getting unmanageable, starts happening at moments of rest and not just after movement, or wakes you from your sleep, consider updating your treatment plan. Other symptoms can be swelling, locked knees, and weakness.
Knee osteoarthritis can reduce the quality of your life, but it doesn’t have to be that way. To learn more about your options to manage your knee pain, contact the team at Matthew D. Barber, M.D., or call us at (251) 410-3600.
While Dr. Barber focuses exclusively on the management of knee and hip problems with a focus on joint replacement procedures. He is proud to be a source of information for patients and has several specialist partners at ALABAMA ORTHOPAEDIC CLINIC who are available to treat any orthopedic condition.