Imagine this, if you will; you are standing atop a large hill looking over a beautiful sunrise, not a cloud in the sky. You can hear the birds chirping, feel the breeze, smell the fresh grass and blooming flowers of spring.
Now, imagine looking up from the bottom of that hill dreading the first step up because you just know your knees can’t handle the climb. Instead of the amazing view, you walk back to your car and drive home to grab a seat in front of the television and rest your knees.
Was what I just described a bit of a dramatization? Perhaps. But I am sure that there are people out there, maybe even some of you reading this blog, that can relate to that feeling. Maybe not climbing a hill in the early morning, but going for a run, starting a workout plan, walking up a flight of stairs, walking through the grocery store, standing up from a chair…
Knee pain is a very common and very impactful problem that millions of people face every day. In fact, 1 out of 5 people will have knee pain at any given time. This means that knee pain is the most common form of joint pain. What I want to do today is give you some insight on what may be causing these problems and what you can do to fix them.
There are three common issues that could be causing your knee pain:
- Bad shoes
Every day we take thousands of steps to get through the day. If we exercise that adds even more steps. Each of these steps will put the force of our body weight through our ankles and into our knees. If we are wearing shoes that are too old or don’t fit us properly then knee pain will almost certainly begin.
What kind of shoes are best? That largely depends on you. Every person has different feet and finding the right shoe needs to be done on a person-to-person basis. You want to make sure your shoe has good cushion and that it stabilizes your foot properly. Running stores, like RunMN, are great places to get fitted for the proper shoe, even if you aren’t a runner!
- Weight gain
This issue relates to what we talked about with bad shoes. Every day we take thousands of steps and the force from our weight gets transmitted through our knees. The more we weigh, the more stress and strain our knees must endure. Keeping ourselves at a healthy weight not only prevents our knees from breaking down and getting very painful, it also keeps our bodies healthy in just about every other way.
- Knee is out of alignment
The knee is the largest and most complex joint in the body. It consists mainly of two bones (the femur and tibia) and a large joint space with a bunch of soft tissue with fancy names like meniscus and cruciate ligaments. There is also a smaller joint alongside the knee where your fibula connects. Finally, you have your knee cap, or patella, sitting in front of it all. These structures are meant to absorb and cushion the constant strain that walking/running/jumping puts into the joint. Generally, it does a great job and we can be very active without any problems.
As with any other joint in the body, however, these joints can become misaligned and not work properly. When this happens the forces that go through the knee won’t be absorbed properly, leading to problems. These problems include joint pain, muscle pain around the knee, and pain just above or below the knee cap. If the problem is there for a long time, it can start to cause ankle pain, hip pain, low back pain, etc.
When a misalignment occurs in your knee, or any joint in your body, you cannot fix it yourself. Also, these misalignments will not go away on their own. They will allow for degeneration, breakdown, and pain to continue until permanent damage has been done. It is best to see a doctor trained to work with joints so they can get everything back in place and ensure there are no tears of the soft tissue within the knee.
If you can adhere to these three simple steps of wearing proper shoes, keeping your weight in check, and making sure your knees are aligned properly, you will have many great years of pain-free knees!