The Familiar Story:
You woke up one day and noticed you had a little bit of knee pain walking down the stairs to get your morning coffee. You don’t remember hurting yourself so you thought it was odd. Then, you started walking down the stairs one leg at a time hoping the pain would eventually go away. Next thing you know, you’ve started modifying other activities in your day and now your mild knee pain has gotten worse. Now you’re sitting in the doctor’s office anxiously waiting for you name to be called. “Mrs. Jones, come on back.” You sit down and explain the story of your knee pain to your doctor. “It all started with going down the stairs but now going up the stairs hurts too. Walking for even 5 minutes has become painful and I can’t stand up or sit down without using my hands.” The doctor moves your knee around and mumbles some words to the nurse then says, “sounds like you need an X-ray, Mrs. Jones.” Your heart sinks because there is no way you don’t have something going on in the inside of your knee with the amount of pain you’ve been having. You had the X-ray and the report came back with osteoarthritis, now what? Your doctor recommends a steroid shot or a total knee replacement and your heart stops.
Let your heart start beating again because, here at Total Motion Physical Therapy, we can help!
Things to remember:
- Arthritis takes time to develop and is a natural aging process. Just like developing wrinkles from normal aging – we have wrinkles on the inside too. If you woke up with pain or had a gradual onset of pain it is likely not due to the arthritis so don’t jump to surgery or injections.
- Motion is Lotion. The more you move your knee (progression from a tolerated range and load) the better the joint and muscles around the joint will feel.
- Get your knee straight. Stress on the knee joint increases if you are lacking motion in the straight position. This is especially true during weight-bearing activities. Even though that slightly bent position feels better it is important to get that knee straight (whether you are post op total knee replacement or still have your God-given joint) even if it is associated with mild to moderate pain (0-5/10 on the pain scale).
- Get your quads, core, and butt muscles strong! Science and research shows us that our tissues get strong along lines of stress, so if we can get you moving without that pesky knee pain you can return to exercise that will keep you strong and pain free, and most importantly, living a healthy lifestyle.
4 exercises to try for your knee pain:
- Terminal Knee Extension – begin by tying a resistance band into a circle. Secure the knot by shutting it in a door frame and stepping your knee into the band loop. Let your knee start in the bent position, then straight your knee against the resistance. Your butt and hips should remain relatively still. Start with 3 sets of 10 reps
- Resisted Side Steps – Step into the band loop and pull the band up around your knees. Side step back and forth until you feel a mild muscle burn in your gluts and legs. Start with 3 sets of 10 steps out and back
- Glut Bridges – Start by lying on your back with your knees bent, then drive your feet into the floor or bed and lift your butt. Start with 3 sets of 10 reps with a 3 second pause at the top
- Quad Set – Sit with your leg out straight, then contract your quad (top leg muscle) by driving the back of your knee toward the floor or bed. Start with 3 sets of 10 with a 5 second hold
If this helps but you still need guidance, call us!
You may not need a referral, so be sure to ask the front office staff for more information!
Total Motion Physical Therapy, 540-585-4841