How Walking Can Help Alleviate Knee Pain

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Many people believe that exercise can worsen knee pain, especially for those suffering from conditions like arthritis or previous injuries. However, research has shown that walking can actually be beneficial in relieving knee pain and improving overall joint health.

Slowly turn the entire top leg outward so that the hip rotates upward slightly, knee up. Do not let the pelvis or trunk move — the motion is at the hip only. The right combination of strengthening and stretching exercises can relieve pain by helping to improve the way the joint moves and functions. Improving your overall fitness level and keeping your knees and legs strong and flexible can help reduce the pain you feel while you are walking (and even while you\’re not).

To properly address your arthritis symptoms with strength training, try focusing on exercises that target the quadriceps and hamstring muscles in the front and back of the knee joint. Some knee pain will go away on its own within a few weeks with a reduction in activity level, Stewart says. Treatments will depend on the cause of the pain, but most knee pain will respond well to physical therapy and a home exercise program, he says. A comprehensive exercise program should combine cardiovascular endurance plus flexibility and strength exercises, Orlandi says. There are many good exercises to strengthen the knee joints and surrounding leg, hip and buttocks muscles, she says. There’s no doubt that walking is one of the best activities you can do to help with symptoms of knee arthritis.

To diagnose your knee pain, a medical professional will perform a physical exam and order imaging tests, for example, X-rays or an MRI scan. Wear and tear from daily activities and injuries are some of the most common causes of knee pain, but long-term knee pain can indicate an underlying health issue. When you’re walking to relieve knee pain, you don’t want to wear any old pair of shoes. Tendinitis is a type of overuse injury that results in inflammation of the tendons, which connect between your muscles and bones.

Since your adductor muscles attach your pelvis to your knees, tight adductors can throw your whole lower body off kilter as it tries to compensate. “You want this area to be flexible enough so that you have a full range of motion while you walk to reduce pressure on your knees,” explains Dr. Broach. As a rule, those with knee pain must avoid high-impact exercises, such as skipping and playing basketball, football, tennis, squash, soccer, and racquetball. Squats, lunges, and sloped terrains on a treadmill may also not be for you.

Squeeze your butt, and let your arms swing naturally rather than exaggeratedly pumping them. Leaning forward, especially if you increase your intensity, can cause back pain. Focus on stretching, range-of-motion exercises and gradual progressive strength training. Include low-impact aerobic exercise, such as walking, cycling or water exercises, to improve your mood and help control your weight.

The Benefits of Walking for Knee Pain

\”Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for knee pain,\” says Dr. Lauren Elson, an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. Please schedule a consultation with your primary care provider or one of our St. Luke\’s Health orthopedic experts. Check with your insurance provider or primary care doctor to confirm if you need a referral. Certain elite athletes are at higher risk because of joint injury and overuse. Women are also more likely to develop the condition, especially after 50. Extra weight is also a culprit as it puts more pressure on the joints.

Walking is a low-impact exercise that helps strengthen the muscles around the knees without putting too much stress on the joints. This can help improve flexibility and range of motion, reducing stiffness and discomfort in the knees. Additionally, walking can help with weight management, which is crucial for reducing the burden on the knees and preventing further damage.

Tips for Walking with Knee Pain

It\’s important to start slow and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your walks. Make sure to wear proper footwear to provide adequate support and cushioning for your knees. If you experience any sharp pain or swelling during or after walking, it\’s essential to rest and consult with a healthcare professional to determine the cause of your discomfort.

In conclusion, while it may seem counterintuitive, walking can be a valuable tool in managing and alleviating knee pain. By incorporating regular walks into your routine and following proper precautions, you can help strengthen your knees and improve your overall joint health.

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