Troublesome knees prevent you from doing activities you enjoy, compromise your fitness, are painful and put strain on the rest of the body.
Sufferers become trapped in a self-perpetuating cycle – the pain restricts our movements, as we compensate for our knee pain, yet makes matters worse.
So what are some of the keys to knee health?
First, be sure the knee is the problem
Our clinical research has found that 75 per cent of knee problems originate in the upper body. Patients are often surprised to find that the joint itself is not the cause. Mid-back, lower back, shoulder or gluteal issues can all cause knee pain.
Remember, the knee takes a lot of pressure. If our posture or mobility is compromised due to an upper body issue it can strain the knee joint.
A proper evaluation is essential before jumping to conclusions.
Restricting your mobility is a common trap with knee pain. It is an understandable and often unconscious reaction, but your knee needs mobility to stay healthy. Even just short, regular periods of movement, without pushing into severe pain, will help the knee until you get it diagnosed and improve your eventual recovery.
Low impact strengthening
Low impact exercise such as swimming or cycling is great for knees. Also consider yoga, tai chi and Pilates, which build strength via gentle movements. A strong knee will respond better to treatment and recover significantly faster.
Don’t give in too quickly
Knee pain may feel like osteoarthritis, but too many people jump to this conclusion. It’s important to rule out other factors, such as injury, or an upper body or posture issue first.
Importantly, osteoarthritis does not have to mean the end of the road for your knees. Arthritis sufferers can still have good mobility and remain active physically provided they have a good regime in place, including a plan which builds tolerance gradually.
But you should always expect results quickly. As a rule, three treatments or less is enough time to tell if a physio treatment is working. If not, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion or try another treatment.
Do you have knee problems? What have you tried to get your mobility back? How has it affected your life? Tell us your stories below.