Knee pain is one of the most common chronic physical ailments among adults in North America, especially those over the age of 65. Physiotherapy aims to help individuals gain maximum physical mobility, and can also treat ailments that are associated with joints and muscles such as knee pain. Physiotherapy has proven to be a useful alternative to surgery or drugs, which can be costly, invasive, and can cause unwanted side effects. Physiotherapy involves no pain and helps to strengthen the body naturally. There are a number of ways you can prevent or reduce knee pain, and they involve exercises recommended by physiotherapists.
By strengthening the glute (butt) muscles, you can relieve the stress it places on the hip, knees, and ankle when walking. Weak glute muscles cause imbalance between the pelvis and thigh bone, which leads to pain in the knees. Hip extensions are good exercises to help strengthen the butt and prevent or reduce instances of pain.
Most jobs require sitting for the majority of the day. This puts a lot of stress on the inner thigh muscles and hamstrings which in turn puts stress on the knees. If you strengthen the muscles that support your knees they will have to do less work and that means less pain.
Surprisingly, a weak core can indirectly cause knee pain. When your core (also known as abdominal muscles) is weak, this causes your spine to fall out of its neutral position, causing your pelvis to tilt forward. This puts extra pressure on the knees when movement occurs.
To strengthen your core muscles, physiotherapists recommend abdominal exercises (but not crunches). The plank is a popular abdominal exercise that strengthens deep muscles in your core area while keeping your spine in a neutral position.
Excessive or increased weight puts additional pressure on the knees, particularly when walking and climbing stairs. Therefore weight control reduces the chances of developing chronic knee pain. Most people think of running when they want to burn fat, but that exercise puts stress on the knees and can (ironically) cause pain. Instead, physiotherapists recommend water aerobics, cycling or just about any activity that does not put pressure on the knees.
Basic Knee Strengthening Exercise
If your knees are in severe pain, then a gentler form of physiotherapy treatment is recommended. You just need to sit on a bed or flat surface with a rolled cushion or towel. Place the towel or cushion directly beneath your knee and gently push the knee down (this should be without pain). The muscles will contract and you can feel them by placing your fingers on your inner quadriceps. Hold for five seconds and then release. This should be repeated ten times (pain free).
More Advanced Knee Strengthening Exercise
For this exercise you need a chair and a resistance band. While your foot is bound to the chair with the resistance band, sit in an upright position with your back straight. Straighten your knee in a slow motion while keeping the front of your thigh tight, and then return to its original position. Perform this repetition ten times in three sets.
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