While knee pain is responsible for roughly one-third of all doctor visits related to muscle or bone pain in general, it’s more common in athletes. Over time, heavyweight loads and repetitive bending involved in cross-training workouts can stress the knees and lead to nagging pain.
However, there are many exercises you can incorporate into your workout routine to keep your knees pain free and performing at optimal levels.
Common Knee Injuries
Bursitis. The bursae are sacs of fluid that reside in joints throughout the body, including the knee. Repetitive use, a fall or overexertion can irritate the bursa overlying the kneecap, causing pain and swelling. This injury is often caused by repetitive kneeling or squatting, like a baseball catcher.
IT Band Syndrome. The iliotibial band, or IT band, is a thick band of tissue that runs along the side of the leg from the hip and down to the outer part of the knee. Overuse can develop adhesions on the tissue which may become painfully inflamed. Runners are also susceptible to this injury because of the repetitive motion of the joint and stress of the foot striking on the pavement.
Exercises to Prevent Knee Pain
Knee pain is often actually referred pain. This means that the source of your knee pain may actually be caused by imbalances or irritations in other parts of the body, like the quadriceps, adductors or IT band. Below are simple foam rolling exercises you can perform to alleviate adhesions on these muscle groups that may be the cause of your knee pain.
Quadriceps. Begin in the plank position while balancing on your elbows and the foam roller placed under your quads. Next, slowly roll from just above the kneecap up to the top of the thigh. Make sure to use your core muscles to facilitate the movement and do not arch your lower back. Pay attention while rolling and scan for tender spots and hold these spots until the pain diminishes. If you’d like to place emphasis on one leg, simply shift your body weight to one side. Repeat this motion for a few passes, then repeat the movement with your toes pointed inward to isolate the internal rotation and again with your legs slighter wider apart with toes pointing outward to isolate the external rotation.
Adductors. The adductors are the inner portion of the thigh. Begin this move balanced on the elbows and the toes of the opposite leg. The foam roller should be placed under the inner thigh of the opposite leg with toes pointed outward. Next, slowly roll from the inside of the knee up to the groin to release any adhesions on the muscle. Scan slowly and hold on tender spots until the pain diminishes. You can also shift your body weight towards the foam roller to apply more pressure.
IT Band. Start this movement balanced on your forearm with your outer thigh on the foam rollers. Next, slowly roll from the top of the knee to the top of the hip rotating at five degrees as you work your way past the hip to avoid rolling over the hip bones. Scan for tender spots and hold this position until the pain diminishes. You can also lower your top leg down and place your foot on the ground to help support you in the movement.
How Airrosti Treats Knee Pain
At Airrosti, our providers conduct thorough injury assessments to identify the true underlying cause of the pain. By pinpointing the cause, they can treat the pain directly at the source rather than just treating the symptoms. This custom treatment plan also includes education so the patients are equipped to perform these active recovery exercises at home to speed recovery and strengthen surrounding muscles to stabilize the joint. This means you can be back in the box in no time!
If knee pain has been nagging you lately, contact Airrosti to find a provider near you.
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