Knee pain is one of the most common type of injury. As people age the bones naturally get weaker and this weakening is accelerated if the person is not taking in enough vitamins such as potassium or getting enough calcium in their diet. Most people afflicted by knee pain are the elderly, the overweight/obese, and athletes that practice and perform a lot of high impact exercises.
Causes of knee pain
There are a lot of causes of knee pain some of which include sudden injury, overuse of the joint, or perhaps by unseen or underlying conditions such as arthritis. Sudden injury could be in the form of an accident that caused the person to smash the knee cap or patella into a hard object. It could also be due to an event that caused the person to land on their knees or perhaps an occurrence where something fell on their knees.
Overuse of the knees mostly happen to athletes who practice hard and play harder. This is specially true for basketball players and football (soccer) players who mainly use their legs to provide them power and to absorb impact upon landing after a huge jump.
An underlying cause would be due to illnesses that have been building up without getting treatment. This is particularly common in the elderly as their bones begin to get porous as they age. You can even get osteoarthritis in your knees.
What to do when you have knee pain?
Knee stretches can help alleviate the pain and even make it vanish if repeated. As you’ll see on the video below, the author “AskDoctorJo” will describe various ways to help you mobilize your knees to increase range of motion and to decrease pain.
For the first stretch, you will need a belt or a dog leash and don’t forget to remove your shoes since you’ll be sliding your foot towards you. This will decrease friction between your foot and the ground.
Place the leash or the belt on the arch of your foot. You will be bringing your knee up towards you slowly by pulling on the leash or belt.
When you finally reach the position as much as the pain in your knee would allow, take a pause for a few seconds and then you’ll be sliding back down slowly by using your foot to push the belt away from you.
This type of stretching helps because the movements in the joints will help loosen the knees which therefore would help lessen the pain. You would want to repeat this for about 8-10 times. As your knee pain gets better, try to pull the belt a little further next time.
Next you will be moving your kneecap or patella around. This is imperative since your patella is attached to your quadriceps and your patellar muscle. When those muscles are tight, it is difficult to bend your knee. The key to moving your knee cap is that your leg has to be relaxed. You may opt to slap your legs a bit to make sure the muscles relax.
All you’re going to do is to move your kneecap. First one has to be back and forth. You have to get the movement there. Side to side, front to back.
Just press it tight and get that kneecap to move. You may do this for 2-3 minutes.
For this exercise, you will be stretching the muscles connected to the knee cap. You will be using the belt again but this time you will put it around the balls of your feet. Not the toes, not the arch, but the balls.
You will keep your leg straight to stretch the calf muscle. Relax your foot and pull it towards you without bending the knee. You want that leg straight.
Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat it 3 times each. Relax and pull again.
Next up is a ham string stretch. Bring the opposite leg up, keep the main leg straight. The most important thing to remember is to keep your back straight.
Don’t curl it as you will be working on your ham strings. What you want to do is to move your pelvis and bend at your hips.
Maintain this position for 30 seconds 3 times each.
The last stretch will be on your stomach or in prone position. This will stretch your quadriceps. Use your belt again and wrap it around the foot like the image above.
What you’ll be doing is to bring it around your shoulder. This is the key and you’re going to pull on that strap until you feel a good stretch on the back part of your leg.
What you want to achieve is tension. Now for most people, the image above will suffice for tension and stretch. If you can do it without pain, you pull on it until it reaches your bottom. You will hold it for 30 seconds 3 times each.
After that, you’re done. Depending on your need, you might want to do this on a daily basis. These knee stretches are not a complete substitute for what your doctor recommended but would definitely server as a good reference for the exercises they recommend you. Remember, you’re not aiming for pain but for tension and stretching.