With New Year’s resolutions in full swing many of us are hitting the gyms. Baptist Health’s Dr. David Gerson says he sees a lot of patients this time of year with knee pain-most often with no specific injury. Dr. Gerson shares a few tips to help ease the discomfort and keep you on your goals for a healthier 2016.
What are your patients telling you they’re experiencing?
They usually tell me the pain starts to come on slowly with their work outs. But in many cases, it’s really not the knee. The main culprit is often deconditioning and our feet.
Your running shoes are extremely important. It’s very important to have good form and arch support. I recommend starting with commercially available arch supports that can be purchased over the counter before investing in more serious orthotics, though for many patients this will be a necessary option.
You need to focus on exercises to build the quads (quadriceps) and focus on the Vastus Medialis, the inner thigh muscle, which tends to be the main culprit causing “Runners Knee.”
What is Runners Knee?
Also known as Patello-Femoral syndrome, this is caused by the knee cap rubbing on the inside of the joint, often misaligned because of weaker inner thigh muscles, wider hips and “flat feet.”
The main symptom is pain behind the knee cap but pain can present anywhere throughout the joint, your doctor or trainer can make sure it is not something else when they examine you.
Other injuries seen with starting a new exercise, sport or other physical activity can include the meniscus, the medial and lateral collateral ligaments and the dreaded bursitis. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) ligament damage is usually caused by a specific acute trauma to the knee, though your doctor will always test these as well on exam.
How can I treat or even prevent knee pain?
Mobility stretches should be performed before all exercise. Hamstring stretch, Patellar Mobility stretch and quadriceps stretching.
Strengthening is key, focus on the quadriceps, most importantly, the medial quad, this is generally the most under-developed in the knee and causes the instability that leads to the problem.
- Quadriceps set
- Straight leg raise
- Weight lifting
- My favorite, walking backwards on a track
I also recommend using a neoprene knee sleeve to support the knee itself during exercise and walking.
If you have an acute injury to the knee, get it iced immediately, start NSAID’s (aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen), elevate, wrap it and get to your doctor. But If the pain is slowly coming on, try some of the tips today first for 2-3 weeks. If it does not get better I recommend seeing your family doctor.
Watch Dr. Gerson’s appearance on KATV Channel 7 on this topic: