Posts Tagged ‘knee pain exercises’

Protect Your Knees at Any Age

knee-painKnee problems are the most common reason people visit an orthopaedic or sports medicine surgeon. May seem like common sense, but if you want healthy knees later in life, start taking care of them now, even if you are young.

The knee is the largest and strongest joint in your body and the major support structure of all your lower extremities. Unfortunately, as people age, knee issues become more common. Possible knee symptoms are aches, stiffness, and swelling and are usually caused by two main factors.

First, as we age, we lose some of the natural cartilage that acts as a cushion between the four bones in your knee joint. Damage to, or wearing down of, the cartilage causes pain and makes it hard to do many everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs.

Second, if you play sports, live an active lifestyle, or have suffered a knee injury, it is likely you may experience future or further knee problems as you continue to age.

Obesity has more recently become a major risk factor for knee conditions such as arthritis, not only of the knee, but also the hip and ankle.

Now that we know the major causes of knee problems, what’s a person with aging knees to do? While you can’t stop the aging process, you can follow these key tips to protect your knees.

1. Monitor changes in your knee health and record any signs and symptoms to share with your orthopaedic physician.

Symptoms from the aging process may be knee pain, but swelling is another common indicator. With age and cartilage loss, the body naturally responds by trying to repair itself, so there may be fluid in the knee, which is the body’s way of trying to increase shock absorption and lubrication in the knee.

2. Maintain a healthy weight

Every extra pound you put on places about four 4 extra pounds of pressure on your knees. Getting rid of extra weight may help alleviate knee pain or cure it altogether.

3. Exercise

Living an active lifestyle and incorporating low impact exercise into your routine promotes healthy knees. Make sure you leave enough time to properly warm up and stretch before starting your activity. Strength training uses resistance to build strong muscles and flexibility in the skeletal muscles.

4. Don’t overdo it!

Make sure you do not ignore the ongoing knee pain. If you play sports, consider additional training to learn proper techniques and alignment. When doing squats and lunges, don’t bend your leg beyond a 90-degree angle and make sure your knee stays directly over your foot. If injured, try using the RICE method to relieve immediate pain and reduce swelling: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. And contact your healthcare provider if the pain persists or intensifies.

The team of knee specialists at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center includes orthopaedic surgeons, non-operative and sports medicine physicians, and trainers. At Emory, we offer the most advanced knee treatments in the Southeast, including anatomic ACL reconstruction, PRP knee therapy, meniscus repair, and more. To schedule an appointment, call 404-778-3350 or complete our online appointment request form.

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About Dr. Spero Karas

karas-speroDr. Karas is the Director of the Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship Program and an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University. Dr. Karas is an internationally recognized expert in the field for sports medicine, surgery of the shoulder and knee, and arthroscopic surgery. He has been recognized as one of America’s “Top Orthopaedic Doctors” in Men’s Health Magazine and “Top Sports Medicine Specialists for Women” in Women’s Health Magazine. Atlanta Magazine has named him in “Atlanta’s Best Doctors” for the past eight years.

Dr. Karas came to Emory in 2005, after serving as Chief of the Shoulder Service and team physician at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He currently serves as head team physician and orthopedic surgeon for the Atlanta Falcons, as well as a consulting team physician for Emory University and Georgia Tech athletics. He cares for patients and athletes of all levels: professional, collegiate, scholastic, and recreational.

Understanding Runners’ Knee aka Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Knee PainDo you have pain in the front of your knee behind the kneecap? If so, you may have patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS for short), commonly known as “runners’ knee”. Typically runners’ knee is not a product of an injury, but is caused by abnormal leg mechanics including weakness in the quadriceps which result in poor tracking of the kneecap.

You can increase your risk of developing runners’ knee if you have tight hamstrings, or do not warm up enough before an event. Runners often experience patellofemoral pain as they increase their running distance and/or frequency.

Symptoms of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome:

  • Pain in the knee, usually in the front of the knee, behind the kneecap
  • Pain in the back of the knee or also above or below the kneecap
  • Pain that gets worse after sitting for long periods of time
  • Pain that gets worse after going up or especially down stairs or hills
  • Pain that gets worse when wearing shoes with high heels
  • Pain with jumping, squatting, and lunging
  • “Crunching” or “popping” in the knee
  • Minimal swelling

The good news is that this condition is treatable with improving your overall leg mechanics. You should think about incorporating strength training into your running training so that you strengthen the quadriceps and gluteus muscles. It is also important to stretch the hamstrings and IT band. If you have flat feet or foot pronation (fallen arches) you should consider inserting orthotics in your shoes to support your arches.

If you are diagnosed with this condition, you may have to stop running temporarily until the knee pain subsides, but continuing to run will not cause long term damage. You should at least consider adding in cross training with activities such as swimming and cycling which will be easier on the knee with PFPS and maintain your fitness. Make sure to ice your knee after exercise and take anti-inflamatories like ibuprofen. You may also want to try a neoprene sleeve for comfort.  Refer to this Patellofemoral Syndrome document for some exercises you can safely do to strengthen the muscles, increase flexibility and stretch the quadriceps.

If your knee pain has not improved within 4-6 weeks, you should consult your sports medicine physician.


Emory Healthcare is a proud sponsor of the AJC Peachtree Road Race.

Peachtree Road RaceEmory Healthcare is the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia and includes Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Emory University Orthopedics & Spine Hospital, Wesley Woods Center, Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Emory Adventist Hospital, The Emory Clinic, Emory Specialty Associates, and the Emory Clinically Integrated Network.

Come visit us at the AJC Peachtree Road Race expo in booth 527 to get your blood pressure checked and learn more about how Emory Healthcare can help you and your family stay healthy!

About Dr. Jeff Webb

Jeffrey Webb, MDJeff Webb, MD, is an assistant professor of orthopaedics at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center. Dr. Webb started practicing at Emory in 2008 after completing a Fellowship in Primary Care Sports Medicine at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. He is board certified in pediatrics and sports medicine. He is a team physician for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, and serves as the primary care sports medicine and concussion specialist for the team. He is also a consulting team physician for several Atlanta area high schools, the Atlanta Dekalb International Olympic Training Center, Emory University, Oglethorpe University, Georgia Perimeter College, and many other club sports.

Dr. Webb sees patients of all ages and abilities with musculoskeletal problems, but specializes in the care of pediatric and adolescent patients. He works hard to get players “back in the game” safely and as quickly as possible. He is currently active in the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and American Academy of Pediatrics professional societies and has given multiple lectures at national conferences as well as contributed to sports medicine text books. Dr Webb is an avid runner and has completed 16 Peachtree Road Races.

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