Dealing with Knee Injuries and Chronic Pain

Matt Iseman offers up some helpful tips.


-Don’t rest too much. When the knee hurts, many people think they should just “give it some time off.” WRONG!  Too much rest can weaken your muscles, which can worsen joint pain.  the more you strengthen the muscles around the knee (like the quads and hamstrings), the less stress you put on the knee and the better the knee can function.  Find an exercise program that is safe for your knees and stick with it. If you're not sure which motions are safe or how much you can do, talk with your doctor or a physical therapist

-Do exercise. Cardio exercises strengthen the muscles that support your knee and increase flexibility. Weight training and stretching do, too. For cardio, some good choices includewalking, swimming and water aerobics, stationary cycling and elliptical machines. Tai chi may also help ease stiffness and improve balance.

-Don’t risk a fall. A painful or unstable knee can make a fall more likely, which can cause further knee damage. Curb your risk of falling by making sure your home is well lit, using handrails on staircases, and using a sturdy ladder or foot stool if you need to reach something from a high shelf.  This is something that YOUNGER patients often overlook  


-Do use "RICE." Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is good for knee pain caused by a minor injury or an arthritis flare. Give your knee some rest, apply ice to reduce swelling, wear a compressive bandage, and keep your knee elevated at the END OF EVERY DAY, especially if you’ve worked out.


-Don’t overlook your weight. If you're overweight, losing weight reduces the stress on your knee. You don’t even need to get to your "ideal" weight. Smaller changes still make a difference.


-Don’t be shy about using a walking aid.  A crutch or cane can take the stress off your knee.Knee splints and braces can also help you stay stable.  AGAIN, many people often refuse these devices out of PRIDE… don’t let it get in the way of your health.


-Don’t let your shoes make matters worse. Cushioned insoles can reduce stress on your knees. For knee osteoarthritis, doctors often recommend special insoles that you put in your shoe. To find the appropriate insole, speak with your doctor or a physical therapist.

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