Simple Strategies to Reduce Knee Pain
When your knees hurt, doing knee exercises may be the last thing you want to do… But making smart knee exercise choices just might be the solution to help reduce your knee pain.
Chondromalacia patella or Patellofemoral syndrome can be a very painful knee condition. The patella (or kneecap) is designed to slide in a groove between the femur and shin bones. If the patella does not track properly in its little groove, or the joint surface and articular cartilage becomes worn or irregular, friction increases. Every time you bend and straighten the knee, you may feel grinding, creaking, or crackling. It might not bother you for a while, so you continue participating in sports and activities that continue to aggravate it. At some point your knees are screaming at you to stop moving, so you finally go to the doctor to find out what’s wrong and how to fix it.
The first thing the doctor will tell you is REST! Avoid ALL activities that jam your patella against the femur with force and grind away at the back of the kneecap. Perhaps you’ll try using a knee brace with a hole cut out to help the knee cap sit where it belongs. A little ice after exercise or at the end of the day, and anti-inflammatory meds to help reduce inflammation that is also keeping the joint aggravated. But seriously, are you giving your body time to heal and stopping all activities that cause you knee pain?
The next step is actually doing the recommended exercise program as instructed by your doctor or physical therapist. Not for a week or two, but for the rest of your life! These exercises (done correctly) should help get the right muscles in balance to keep your kneecap sliding properly in its groove.
What exercises are best for you? Check with your doctor, PT, or health care specialist. “Guessing at the right exercises” or doing exercises incorrectly will only continue to aggravate your knee pain. But a good rule of thumb to start with is that if an exercise or activity hurts your knees, don’t do it!
Reducing Knee Stress
Pressure between the patella and thigh bone is minimal when the knee is straight or only slightly bent. Exercises, sports, and activities that require deep knee bending, jumping and landing, pushing, pulling, heavy weights, stopping and starting can place too much stress on the Patellofemoral joint and patellar tendon.