Updated: Feb 16, 2022
As you start getting older, your knees may start to hurt. You don’t want to depend on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories; as they have many side effects that could even cause organ damage. What steps can you take to keep your knees in good shape for you to continue enjoying activities such as playing sports, gardening, or dancing?
Why does knee pain often occur when you start ageing?
Your knees have an incredible task of supporting much of your body weight. You put a huge amount of pressure on your knees with every step you take — about one and a half times your weight. During your lifetime you take a lot of steps, to put it into perspective, it’s comparable to walking around the earth approximately five times by the time you reach 80! When you start thinking about it that way, it’s not surprising that as you age you may develop knee pain.
Our specialist physicians at 1 Health Medical Centre, see patients with knee pain every day, the cases differ from either injuries or chronic conditions such as arthritis. They specialists have years of experience behind them and are experts at diagnosing and treating both types of conditions.
An overuse injury in which you damage a ligament, tendon, muscle, or a sudden accident, can result in knee pain. As you get older you may start to develop chronic knee pain which is usually the result of osteoarthritis. Your menisci – fibrous, tough tissues that are present between knee bones so that direct bone-on-bone contact can be prevented – get brittle and thinner, and can result in a tear more easily as you age. The same deterioration can also affect your articular cartilage, which protects the kneecap. Your cartilage can eventually vanish, leaving behind excruciating bone-on-bone pain which would require knee-replacement surgery.
But that doesn’t have to be your story! You can follow a few early steps to take care of your knee-health and eventually avoid major surgeries like knee replacement.
Tips for taking care of your knees
Here are a few simple tips that can go a long way in taking care of your knees as you get older, so that they’ll carry you successfully into old age.
1. Add Appropriate Exercises to your Daily Routine
“Use it or lose it,” is a popular phrase that applies to your joints. Exercise plays a vital role in helping you stay mobile and healthy. But as you get older, you likely need to make a few changes to your exercise regimen. Protect your joints from overuse- injuries as they are not as strong as they were when you were 30 or 40. Your exercise should adapt to your changing ability.
It may be time you gave up on those deep squats you did when you were a 24-year-old weightlifter. Similarly, you may need to switch to cycling or rowing if you were a runner in your youth. Don’t you think that as a better alternative than wearing out your knees by the time you’re 60? Swimming can be a good non-weight-bearing exercise if you love the water. Doing some gentle yoga techniques also helps in maintaining your flexibility and range of motion.
2. Lose That Excess Weight
If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is higher than 25, you may be doing your knees a favour by slimming down. You may assume that being a mere 10 kgs overweight is nothing to worry about, but two more kgs of pressure is added to your knees for every extra 500 gms you gain. So in reality your knee joints are actually carrying 36 kgs of surplus pressure! Over time, it accelerates cartilage damage and deterioration.
3. Choose Appropriate Footwear
Standing on hard surfaces like concrete for long periods can make your knees hurt. In such scenarios, it is advised to use cushioned inserts, or, get prescription orthotics that can give extra support if your condition warrants. Always go for comfort and choose a lower heel as it’s easy to lose your balance on stiletto heels.
Whether it’s from an overuse injury or arthritis, your knee pain can be reduced when a 1 Health Medical Centre physician explains the most effective treatments that work for your condition. You may simply need the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) along with a temporary brace if the injury is minor. Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy if your range of motion is impacted to help you regain it. In case of severe pain, injections can provide significant pain relief as they give you time to think about long-term solutions like platelet-rich plasma treatment, or if need be, surgery.
Get in touch with our expert Orthopaedists and Physicians at 1 Health Medical Centre to get the best Diagnosis and Treatment in town!