Don’t Get Stuck On The Sidelines Because Of These Myths!
Knee pain is becoming a very common issue, especially with active adults who love to run, workout, or participate in their favorite boot camp classes.
Approximately 1 in 4 adults will experience knee pain that affects their ability to remain active, healthy, and fit. This can be a frustrating experience especially since many of the clients I work with tell me that they “just aren’t the same” if they miss out on their daily run or exercise routine.
Wouldn’t it be nice to go for that 5 mile run, participate in your favorite HIIT workout, or play your favorite sport without having to worry about your knee getting worse?
Having treated many fitness enthusiasts and runners I found that there were several myths that were floating around that actually were hindering their recovery. This often lead them to a delayed recovery and more time spent on the sideline.
By simply understanding these myths you can save time, money, and the FRUSTRATION of missing out on another 5k or enjoying a workout with your friends.
Myth # 1 Rest Is All You Need To Get Better (Hoping it Will JUST GO AWAY!)
I know what your thinking…….don’t I need to rest to heal? Well the answer is YES! However it all depends on how you go about “resting”. While rest is needed for the body to heal naturally and correctly it is often done in an incorrect manner. Here’s 3 DO’s and Don’t about resting your injury.
- Rest in intervals. What does this mean? You may still be able to run 2x a week or workout 2x week but you will need to spend those other days in rest. Don’t keep aggravating the pain.
- Shorten your exercise/run time. Run for shorter distances (before any pain is felt). Perform shorter workouts so you do not push into pain
- Warm Up Before Don’t go into a workout or run COLD. Do some active warm ups. Maybe some high knees, butt kicks, Karaoke drill
- Don’t rest for extended period of time (without taking any other action) hoping the pain will just go away. Usually pain occurs because there is some sort of strength, flexibility, or movement fault. Rest will not fix these issues
- Don’t completely avoid activity. Sometimes it’s OK to feel a little sore in the knee after a run or workout out. It’s when this soreness turns into pain and lingers for 2+ days that it becomes an issue. Run 1 mile instead of 3. Squat 150Lb instead of 300Lb
- Don’t take painkillers hoping it will go away. Painkillers only provide temporary relief and do not address the root cause of WHY you are experiencing your knee pain
Myth #2 Your MRI And Xray Tells You The Whole Story
One of the most frustrating things for the clients I have worked with is that they have been led to believe (at no fault of their own) that whatever shows up on their MRI or Xray is the reason for their pain. Many times they are just given a diagnosis and no method of fixing their pain.
Here are some common statements I hear from people I have worked with:
- “Nothing showed up on my MRI/XRAY but the pain is still there”
- ” I was told I have chondromalacia and patella femoral pain syndrome”
- “They just said I have a bone bruise and that it will go away”
The problem here is that these people were given a “diagnosis” just based off a picture. That fancy scan is just a picture that is STILL in time. It does not take into consideration different movements and activities that hurt your knee. So while the scan showed (or in some cases didn’t show) something it did not provide to reason as to WHY the pain is occurring.
This can lead to BIG problems when getting treatment because many clinicians will just treat based off what the MRI or XRAY shows and not take into effect the different deficits in muscle strength, flexibility, and faulty movement patterns.
In most cases of knee pain although the pain OCCURS in the knee it is not actually CAUSED by something in the knee. This is another reason why scans can be misleading because the cause of the pain often comes from the hip, pelvic ,and back region. The body needs to be “in balance” and when there is an area of the body that is “out of balance” it can then transfer excessive forces to the knee, thus causing pain.
Keep in mind that when I am speaking about knee pain and imaging I am referring to the type of knee pain that gradually occurs over the course of time (not the type of knee injury where something traumatic happens). The proper imaging is required if:
- You hurt you knee during a sport or activity
- You heard a pop or click in your knee when you injured it
- There was swelling present in your knee after you injured it
Myth #3 Changing Your Shoes, Wearing A Brace , Getting Orthotics Will Fix the Problem
One of the first “quick fixes” that people try is to change their shoes, wear a support, or get some orthotics/insert. This is often the quickest and cheapest way to go about trying to fix knee pain but often leads the user disappointed in the result.
This is not to say that shoes and orthotics/inserts AREN’T needed. It just means that there is more to the problem than just changing or adding to EXTERNAL factors. Now what do I mean by that? When dealing with knee pain there are usually internal factors that need to be addressed along with external factors.
Some examples of internal factors that needs to be addressed include:
- Muscle Weakness
- Lack of Flexibility/Mobility
- Decreased stability
Some examples of external factors include:
- Shoe wear
- Shoe Inserts
It’s important to know that external factors usually can bring about a temporary relief with knee pain as they do not address the underlying root cause. Permanent relief is achieved when the internal factors are addressed.
Treating and fixing knee pain usually involves addressing multiple components and multiple moving parts so be wary of any one product or device that promises to “fix” the issue permanently.
Right……So What Can You Do About Your Knee Pain?
The keys to treating and ending knee pain for GOOD involves these 3 steps:
- Proper assessment of how your body moves (i.e during walking, squat, jumping, running)
- Identify deficits in strength and flexibility in the body
- Modify your activity level so that the injured area is given proper rest (not JUST extended periods of rest though).
Worried and concerned about your knee pain? Are you unsure about how you will overcome this knee pain and return to your active lifestyle?
Ask about our FREE phone consultation. We’ll have simple discuss about your health and listen to how your knee problem is affecting your life. Then we’ll be able to help you come away with the best solution for you!
Dr. Nick Scotto is a leading and trusted physical therapist in Jacksonville, Fl. He founded River City Physical Therapy to better serve the active adults in Jacksonville who want to remain fit, healthy, and happy. Many fitness enthusiasts, runners, and active adults have consulted with Nick looking for a permanent solution to their pain. Through education and specific treatment plans he helps them to heal their body naturally and achieve their goals of returning to the activities they love.