Friday, January 13, 2017

Sore, Achy Knees - What to Do and Not Do

This article from Web MD, titled "Knee Pains Do and Don'ts" and my commentary.

Do: Rest a Sore Knee
Take a break so your knee has time to heal. You’ll only need 1 or 2 days of rest to ease minor knee pain, but severe injuries may keep you off your feet longer. Talk to your doctor if it doesn’t get better after a few days.

Don’t: Stay on the Couch Too Long
Exercise builds strong muscles around your joints, and that helps prevent injuries. Once your knee has had enough rest, get back out there. Low-impact water workouts or tai chi are good options. But don’t overdo it or you’ll risk more pain.

Do: Use RICE
Try the RICE formula to treat a knee injury: Rest for a day or two to heal. Ice your knee to calm inflammation. Compress (wrap) your joint for support and to stop fluid buildup. Elevate it on a pillow or stool to curb swelling.

Don’t: Risk Slips, Trips, or Falls
Wear shoes with good tread on them to cut your risk of a slip. Choose low-heeled ones with soft, rubber soles. Keep your home’s hallways and stairwells well lit, and clear floors of things you could trip over.

Do: Use a Cane If You Need One
Feel unsteady? Use something to steady you as you move around. Choose a sturdy, strong, light cane with a rubber tip and a handle that’s easy to grasp. Hold it at a 45-degree angle to be sure it’s the right height. Find one in a color or style you like so you’ll be more likely to use it.

Do: Watch Your Weight
Extra pounds add strain to your knees and raise your risk of painful arthritis and injuries. But even moderate weight loss can make it better. If you need to drop a few pounds, set a goal to lose just 5% of your current weight over the next few months.

Do: Consider Acupuncture
Tiny needles are put into the skin around your sore joint. Research shows it can ease knee arthritis pain, though it’s still unclear how. Look for someone who's trained and experienced. Many states license acupuncturists.

Don’t: Forget to Stretch
The muscles around your knees can get tight, and that can lead to painful injuries. Daily stretches can prevent that and muscle pain. Ask your doctor or physical therapist for easy moves to help you limber up before you walk or do any other activity.

Do: Use Heat and Cold
If your knee pain flares, try hot or cold treatments. Moist heat is better for pain relief than dry. Soak in a warm bath, or zap a damp washcloth in the microwave. To ease a swollen knee, press a bag of frozen veggies wrapped in a towel against the joint.

Don’t: Sleep in the Wrong Position
This can make your knee pain worse. Try out different positions, and put a pillow between your knees if you sleep on your side. Don’t prop up a bent knee on a pillow, though -- that can make it harder to unbend your leg the next day.

Do: Try Braces or Sleeves
Support a sore, weak knee with a brace, sleeve, or tape. Ask a physical therapist to fit you with one or to tape your knee. A simple sleeve that fits over your knee can offer short-term pain relief, too. You can find them at the drugstore.

Don’t: Wear Out Your Knees
You may get knee pain because you overload your joints. Movements you do over and over again, like go up and down stairs every day, can jar and wear down your knees. But don’t sit for long periods, either. That puts extra pressure between your knee and leg bone that can cause pain.

Do: Support Your Arches
Choose shoes that support your arches, or get slip-in inserts at your local drugstore. If those don’t work, you can ask your doctor about custom supports. But those can be expensive and don’t always work better than the ones available over the counter.

Don’t: Keep Wearing the Same Old Shoes
Shoes can stretch and wear out after a while. Don’t keep wearing your favorite pair after their support and tread have worn out You may find that new shoes that support your feet and ankles well ease your knee pain.

Do: Talk to Your Doctor
You don’t have to deal with knee pain alone. Your doctor might prescribe medication or give you a steroid shot to help. She also might talk with you about surgery to replace worn joints or ligaments.

These are the things I would add:

Do: Take quality joint supplements. 
Since having terrible knee pain upon climbing stairs in my mid 40's, for the past 12 years I have taken a quality joint supplement that include Glucosamine, Vitamin C, magnesium and Turmeric extract. I have no pain today going into my late 50's.  My conversations with researchers have convinced me that Chondroitin and Hyaluronic Acid are not likely to be ingredients that do joint pain any good.  I use to take supplements with those ingredients all without any relief.   

Do: Ensure you get Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids in your diet.
Not because Omega's 3 provide nutrients for your knees and joints, but because they are an anti-imflammatory and help reduce the unequal ratio of Omega 3's to Omega 6's, which if not corrected can manifest itself through joint pain.

Do: Try some home remedies such as Apple Cider Vinegar. 
People, including my wife, have tolds me has helped some with their knee pain. Apparently quality Apple Cider Vinegar has calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus which are vital to joint and bone health.

Apple Cider Vinegar contains the calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus your body needs to dull that pain. The magnesium in apple cider vinegar helps bones absorb calcium, which is essential to bone strength. Apple cider vinegar also contains antioxidants, beta-carotene, and acetic acid. The basic receipt is 1 to 3 teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar into juice and drink twice a day. And some people even have added the Apple Cider Vinegar into a smaller amount of oil such as coconut or olive oil and massage directly into the affected joint.

Additionally, Muscle rubs, while not particular thought of as effective for the joints, can help blood flow into the joint and help nutrient flow and elasticity of connective tissue.  I use the Deep Blue rub on my neck - I would not hesitate to use it on my knees, if I needed it.  

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