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Black Friday Knee Pain

November 24, 2017


So how was the mall?  How are your knees feeling?

There’s something about a big holiday meal that brings out the aches and pains.  Maybe it’s pschosomatic.  Did you spend a lot of time yesterday sharing your symptoms and ailments with friends and family?  Or possibly you did a lot of the heavy lifting yesterday preparing the bird – meaning you did all the work, not so much the weight of the turkey – though both factors could play a role.  Or maybe it was the opposite.  Maybe you were lucky enough to sit in the recliner, watch the parade and football and not have to lift a finger.  Either way, and I know its not fair, if you did all the work or none of the work preparing the Thanksgiving feast, your knees can feel bad either way.  A lack of motion or too much can unfairly have the same painful affect.

Now I do not recommend starting your exercise regiment for curing your knee pain at the mall on this day.  If you did go to the mall, I hope your knees aren’t feeling too bad.  Don’t get in over your head.  Take breaks, sit when you can, and try not to carry too much.

If it wasn’t black Friday the mall can be a great place to stretch your legs, strengthen the muscles surrounding your knees, and lubricate your joints.  Walking is great way to get some control over your knee pain associated with osteoarthritis.


Knee Exercises

Exercise and stretching can help prevent and relieve knee pain associated with osteoarthritis.  When done regularly stretches, low-impact aerobic exercise, and strengthening exercise can provide many benefits.

Increase Function and Range of Motion – Exercise and stretching will keep the muscles surrounding the knee joint limber.  The more you stretch the greater your knee’s range of motion.  The easier it is for your knee to move, the easier it will be to exercise.

Pain reduction – An unstable knee joint will do much better when supported by strong muscles.  The knee can be protected from repetitive impacts, like walking, by strengthening the muscles that surround the knee.  The hamstrings and quadriceps should be the primary focus.  Exercise also releases the body’s natural pain relievers, endorphins.


Get Up and Walk

December 7, 2016
Lifestyle Modification

    Walking Helps the Knees

Walking can hurt. However, it doesn’t cost much, can be done most places, and can be quite helpful.  Walking allows the knee to move through a normal range of motion with low impact on joints. You only need time and effort to go for a walk – this can also help you lose weight.  Your knee arthritis isn’t going to get better by itself.

Walk on an even surface like a track or treadmill.  Shopping malls provide stable walking conditions, as well as heat or air conditioning. Increase your distance or time as your knee grows stronger.  One step a t a time….

Knee Arthritis

January 14, 2016
Weight Loss and Exercise

                        Weight Loss and Exercise

Losing weight, exercising, and stretching are great treatment options for osteoarthritis of the knee.  Stretching keeps the muscles surrounding your knees loose and healthy, exercising lubricates the joints, and losing weight means your knees will absorb less of a load with every step you take.

You don’t need a prescription, or coverage, or a referral.  You don’t have to share any  personal information or pay a co-pay.  Weight loss, exercise, and stretching are free treatment options that will not only make your knees feel better but improve your overall physical condition.

Decrease the amount of drugs you take, spend less time with doctors….try going for a walk, or a swim.


Seated Leg Extension

To rest the arthritic knee or not to rest, that is the question.  Knee pain can be tricky to diagnose.  The knee joint slides, glides, and rotates.  There are ligaments, tendons, bones, cartilage….there’s a lot that can go wrong.  But for people with chronic knee osteoarthritis, they can usually tell if the knee pain is their “old friend” visiting or some new injury causing them to limp, shuffle, and creak as they walk.

If the knee pain is due to osteoarthritis, then don’t rest too much.  A healthy knee joint requires movement.  Bending the knee keeps the joint lubricated, and the surrounding musculature stretched and strong.  Resting is important for an acute injury, but for knee OA a low-impact exercise routine is important.

Inactivity can make knee pain worse because muscles become weak.  People with Knee OA need an exercise program that is safe for their knees.  And the exercise program needs to be consistent – a routine.  Your body needs to be used to moving.

Swimming, biking, and walking are great low-impact exercises that will get you sweating without beating on your knees.  Strengthen the muscles around your knee, keep them flexible, and your knee pain won’t be so bad.


A new study proves that people who run regularly do not have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis in their knees.  In fact the authors of the study claim that regular running can prevent knee osteoarthritis.

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found that runners of all ages had less knee pain, OA symptoms, and joint space narrowing on an X Ray than non-runners.  The medical community has historically steered runners with Knee OA away from high impact exercise like running.  This science reveals that regular running can actually help protect arthritic knees.

Dr Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo is lead author of the study.  She said, “Recent CDC (Centers of Disease Control) guidelines recommend that all adults participate in regular physical activity, as there is definitive evidence that increased physical activity is associated with reduced cardiovascular events and mortality.  However, the influence of these physical activities on knee OA is unclear.  Since running is a common leisure physical activity that involves repetitive loading, which could be harmful to the joint, I was particularly interested in studying how habitual running relates to the development of knee OA.”

2,683 people were involved with this study.  The participants had an average age of 64.5 years old, 56% were women, and the average body mass index was 28.6 (that’s overweight).  Patients had their knees x-rayed, were assessed for OA symptoms, and completed a questionnaire.  Patients were followed up with a two-year check up.

The study found that people who ran at any time in their lives had less knee OA symptoms than non-runners involved in the study. In fact people who run regularly do not have an increased risk of Knee OA, they may actually be protecting their knees from OA by running.

Dr. Lo remarked, ‘This does not address the question of whether or not running is harmful to people who have pre-existing knee OA.  However, in people who do not have knee OA, there is no reason to restrict participation in habitual running at any time in life from the perspective that it does not appear to be harmful to the knee joint.”

The study was recently presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Boston.


For some of us it is the hardest thing to do.  Exercise.  It’s still one of the best treatments available for knee pain associated with osteoarthritis.  Why?  Well for a few different reasons.

1.  Exercise will lubricate your joints.  My grandmother used to tell me, “that if you don’t use it, you lose it”.  Gram was one smart cookie.  The cartilage in your knee is a lot like a sponge.  Every time you step, you compress your cartilage.  When you take weight off your knee the sponge expands.  This motion pulls fluid into your knee, and pushes fluid out.  This movement of fluid brings nutrients to your cartilage, and caries away the stuff it doesn’t need.  Walking facilitates this process of lubrication.  If you remain dormant the sponge will not get the fluid it needs.  Think of the month old sponge at your sink that is dry and flaky.  It’s not too far of a stretch to think of your knee cartilage in the same way.

2.  If you exercise you are more likely to lose weight.  If you weigh less, your knees won’t have to absorb as much impact each and every time you take a step.  Losing weight will make your knees feel better because they won’t have to work as hard.

3.  Exercise will stretch the muscles around your knee.  Having flexible musculature surrounding your knee will take pressure off the cartilage.  Stay loose and your knee pain won’t be as bad.

So something as simple as walking will lubricate your knee, stretch your muscles. and help you lose weight.

Knee Pain

February 12, 2014
Knee Pain

Knee Pain


If your knee hurts enough that you found this blog post, chances are your arthritis is getting worse.  So what can you do?  You have plenty of options, it’s just a matter of figuring out which one is right for you.

Let’s start with the basics:  Lose weight, eat healthy, stretch, and exercise.  Yes, losing weight and eating healthy can be difficult.  But it’s not impossible.  Stretching and going for a walk is real simple.  Just doing these four simple things can make a big difference.  It’s completely up to you.  You don’t need a prescription, you don’t need to get health insurance involved.

Try this today.  Have a nice salad for lunch, then stretch your legs for five minutes, and then go for a half hour walk.  In just one hour you proactively treated your knee without drugs, without surgery, and without going to see a doctor.  Try doing this a few times a week.  Imagine the results if you stick with this simple plan for a month, or for a year?

Why not?

Cartilage reduces friction in the knee during normal motion.


Osteoarthritis is caused by damage and inflammation of the bony aspects of the joint surface.  Cartilage is a joint’s first line of defense.  It is not surprising then to learn that people with healthy cartilage have less osteoarthritis, and that unhealthy cartilage makes osteoarthritis worse.  It is important to protect and maintain cartilage in order to avoid severe osteaorthritis.

In order to preserve your cartilage, you must understand how it recieves its nutrients.  Unlike bone, which recieves its nourishment from its blood supply, cartilage is very poorly vascularized.  Instead of getting nutrients from the blood stream, cartilage collects nutrients from the synovial fluid.  This is crucial, because it means that increasing motion can push nutrients out of the synovium and into the cartilage.

While it is undisputed that exercise can reduce osteoarthritis, it has been considered to be a mixed blessing; it was thought that losing weight would help osteoarthritis, but exercise might damage joints in the process.  This is not the case!  Exercise encourages healthy cartilage, which protects and insulates the joint surfaces.  So exercise with no reservations.  Athletic activity will improve your osteoarthritis.

OA and Fear

November 3, 2012

This post has been delayed by a hurricane, inspired by a spooky holiday, and grounded in science:

While osteoarthritis does not carry a terrifying death-sentence like severe cancers, it can still produce fear.  Osteoarthritis of the knee can lead to extreme pain during physical activity.  This pain can lead to apprehension about exercise.  Ultimately, that apprehension can become so severe that activity is avoided.  This can be catastrophic.

A recent article in Arthritis Care & Research studied predictors for treatment success.  The authors examined numerous factors including age, BMI, surgical history, and physical therapy treatments.  After their exhaustive review, they found only 2 factors were directly linked to the outcome of the treatment:  Knee instability, and fear of physical activity.

This means that the negative effects of being scared of exercise may be equivalent to damaged ligaments, muscles, and menisci.  In other words, the psychological effects of fear are as dangerous to your health as the physical effects of injury.

So if the thought of exercise makes you nervous, even if you know that it will bring you pain, do not let your fear make you unhealthy.  Work through it now, and overcome your fear.  It will help you later.