Understanding Knee Pain And Joint Health
Due to the knee's large articulating surface and weight-bearing properties, it is no surprise that it is one of the most commonly injured joints. In fact, in the United States alone, knee pain accounts for over 1 million ER visits and more than 1.9 million primary care outpatient visits each year.
The natural aging process causes gradual changes in the musculoskeletal system, increasing the risk of joint injury and stressful activities. However, Matthew D. Barber, M.D. highly recommends stretching exercises to prevent or reverse damage or trauma.
About Knee Pain
A painful knee may occur for various reasons that include repetitive movements, overuse or arthritis, or another inflammatory or chronic conditions. The knee may become red, warm, or swollen, and painful to touch. Exercise may exacerbate the symptoms. Rest, elevation and icing are often the initial first aid interventions. Treating the condition depends on the extent and type of injury. Thus, we recommend a consultation to determine the underlying cause to receive the correct treatment.
Flexibility is Key
When we use muscles and connective tissues infrequently, they become stiff. When forced to stretch beyond ability, tearing occurs, which causes pain, instability, and loss of range of motion. By performing stretching exercises routinely, muscles and connective tissues become flexible, which reduces the chance of injury.
It is possible for someone living a sedentary lifestyle to prevent potential joint injury by starting a stretching exercise regimen. Matthew D. Barber, M.D. advises individuals living with chronic medical conditions to develop a personalized program with his assistance.
Slow and Steady
Warm the musculoskeletal system for approximately two to five minutes before engaging in advanced stretching movements. Start by putting specific joints through a normal range of motion to encourage blood and oxygen flow to the areas. Perform the recommended stretches and hold each for a designated length of time. Repeat the exercise for the number of times suggested.
It is not unusual to experience a minor muscle burn while stretching. However, if experiencing extreme pain, discontinue the exercise and consult with Dr. Barber. Over time, the number of repetitions may be increased and perhaps the intensity of the activity. Matthew D. Barber, M.D. stresses that consistency is vital for the body to achieve optimal results.
Vary the Routine
Stretching exercises need not become mundane and boring. There are a variety of low-impact activities that engage in gentle stretching without causing undue stress and possible damage to knee joints.
The ancient practice of Tai Chi involves a combination of graceful movements and controlled breathing to increase flexibility, improve balance and enhance cardiovascular health. Classes are offered indoors and outdoors in many communities.
Low-impact Pilates programs emphasize stretching movements to increase overall balance, flexibility and strength. The exercises are easily modified to meet age group or individual needs. It's best to exercise on a floor mat, as it eliminates joint stress.
Swimming or a water aerobics class is another option. The buoyancy of the water reduces joint stress while providing a full-body workout.
When suffering from knee pain, call (251) 410-3600 for an appointment with Matthew D. Barber, M.D.
***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.