Kicking off knee pain with exercises
By Dr. David Ryan
Millions of American’s will experience knee pain this year. Many will be helped by non-surgical approaches to improving their knee pain. Any good approach to refining pain should start with a professional visit. In the meantime, some simple exercises should be attempted.
The majority of knee pain occurs from overuse and improper muscle balance. So we are going to start from the ground up in an attempt to alleviating knee pain.
First take a look at your shoes. How old are they? When did your knee pain start and was it just after you decided to start wearing those fancy looking new shoes?
Consider changing your shoes for a while and see if that makes any improvement.
Make an attempt to change surfaces. If you are running on pavement, then try a park or sand. Also attempt to keep the knee covered with any clothing or a neoprene sleeve.
Alter your exercise pattern to avoid impacting the knee. If you run, consider elliptical or other non-impacting movements for a period of time. Instead of just running forwards, consider running backwards.
There is a large amount of research to show the benefits of running backwards with respect to reducing knee pain. Most commonly the knee is injured by individuals who are overweight jogging/running forwards. Because they don’t feel safe or coordinated enough, they avoid any back peddling.
It is always smart to start on a track and walk slowly. Attempt to reach back with your toe and take small steps at first. Another option is on a treadmill, which offers side rails to provide additional stability.
Any incline on the treadmill provides additional stimulation to the quadriceps. The incline will help balance out the muscles and provide better stability to the knee by specifically targeting the knee flexors.
The side shuffle is a rare exercise that helps a great deal with knee stability. Begin by standing with toes straight ahead and shoulder width apart. Bend your knees slightly to simulate a half squat position.
From that starting position, lift both heels off the ground and pivot on your toes to the left side. Put your heels down, then lift both sets of toes off the ground and pivot on your heels to the left.
Repeat with the heels and then the toes again until you have moved a yard/meter. Reverse the direction bringing the toes and heels to the right until you have returned to your starting point.
Attempt this exercise based on 1 set equaling a point where you can move 1 yard/meter away from and return to your starting point. Begin with one rep, then each day, add an additional yard/meter.
Once you have reached 10 reps, then begin to attempt to lower the total time it take to complete the exercises by 1-2 seconds each day.
Using a simple leg extension machine, position your heels so they are pointed in and your toes are pointed out. Do approximately 30-60 reps with a lighter weight.
Approximately a third of the way through the leg extension reps, reverse the position of the foot and point the toes inward and heels outward. During the last third of the reps, point the toes straight. This allows for a complete pattern to cover all of the muscles of the quadriceps and helps stabilize the knee.
Leg curls are done in a similar fashion with the toes pointed outward, then inward and then straight. Try to use a similar weight as used on leg extensions to attempt a balancing out the knee strength.
Most commonly, the squat seems to cause most people the greatest amount of knee pain. Avoid allowing the knees to be positioned in front of the mid foot area while flexing the knees in the squat. Lift the toes just slightly while squatting. This means maintaining most of the weight to the outside of the heels.
Yours in Health!
Columbus Chiropractic Center Director