Exercises To Reduce Knee Pain
Knee pain is one of the most common orthopedic conditions for which people seek medical treatment. It includes pain felt behind and around the knee cap, especially during activities like stair climbing, squatting, running, and walking while carrying a heavy load. Knee pain can prevent you from participating in your favorite activities and performing daily tasks. Without proper treatment, it can linger for years.
Knee pain can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which include knee stiffness, incorrect positioning of the knee cap at rest or with movement, flat feet, improper exercise form, and weakness of the muscles that control the hip and knee.
A physical therapist can work with you to address your knee pain. After an evaluation, a physical therapist will design an individualized comprehensive treatment program to address the specific factors causing your knee pain. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation.
To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.
These exercises are proven by research to reduce pain and improve your ability to participate in the activities you love.
Consult your health care provider before starting these exercises to determine if they are right for you. If you experience any symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness at any time, you should stop immediately. These exercises are provided for educational information only.
Yoga Poses To Avoid With Arthritis
If you have arthritis, you should avoid poses that can potentially cause any flare ups. For some, this may include poses that require you to balance on one foot or bend your joints, such as your knees, more than 90 degrees. For others, it may be challenging to hold postures for extended periods of time.
Some yoga types, such as Kundalini or Ananda, may involve lengthy meditation or breathing exercises that could be difficult for someone with arthritis to sit through.
Keep in mind, there are a ton of different forms of arthritis and they often have slightly different treatments. The asanas Id recommended for those with osteoarthritis are different from the poses Id recommend for those with rheumatoid arthritis.
Holding poses for a long time to strengthen static muscles is great for osteoarthritis. On the other hand, for rheumatoid arthritis you dont want to be holding poses for that long. People with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis should avoid high-intensity yoga postures, and prolonged immobility in seated or lying positions.
Now before I get into the poses, remember: arthritis is no joke. Even with these yoga pose suggestions, its super important to learn and practice them under the supervision and guidance of a yoga instructor or a yoga therapist.
Practice These 10 Yoga Poses To Relieve Knee Pain
Knee pain is estimated to affect nearly 20 million people in the United States alone, with over 600,000 knee replacements occurring every year. And that number is only on the rise.
But whats more interesting to me is that . . . Im part of this statistic.
Hello, my name is Allie. I am a certified yoga teacher, active yoga student, advocate for health, and would fit into the category of having a strong, toned body.
Except, I suffer from chronic knee pain, knee discomfort, knee sensitivity, and even knee insecurity.
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Effective Knee Exercises For Seniors
Of all the joints in your body, your knees take the most abuse. If youre overweight, they take even more abuse. For every 10 pounds of excess weight, you put an extra 4 pounds of pressure on your knees.
Even if you maintain a healthy weight your entire life, your knees will start to ache as you get older. However, the right exercises can help you strengthen your knees and legs. This will keep them limber and strong for as long as possible.
If you have suffered a knee injury or have had surgery you need to be careful when rehabbing your knee. Consult your doctor or physio therapist for exercises that are safe for your knee.
Here are six effective knee exercises that are senior-friendly.
Yoga To Keep You Up Active
Joint pain can be greatly maintained with yoga. Many home care servicing experts suggest yoga for seniors as it gives a cent percentage visits. It gives a peace and mental ability to do the exercises. Most of the yoga poses are giving a pain relief no matter whether its a knee pain or joint pain.
Your home doctor or nurse can help you to do these excises. Some of the most recommended yoga exercises are Bound Angle Pose, Mountain pose, Bridge Pose, Hero Pose and Garland Pose. Yoga when practicing it daily, it will increase the relaxation of muscles and it also will help to regain the strength.
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Common Causes Of Knee Pain
Chronic knee pain is on the rise in America. In a 2011 analysis, researchers noted a marked increase in the number of knee replacements and people with knee pain over a 20-year period, due at least in part to osteoporosis and other conditions.
And according to a 2018 estimate, around 25 percent of Americans experienced knee pain a 65 percent uptick over the previous 20 years.
Strangely enough, the issue usually isnt with the knee itself. Because its a joint, its affected by the muscles surrounding it, including the quads, hamstrings, and calves.
The knee never acts in isolation because of the way the soft structure of the cartilage is designed, explains Jill Miller, certified yoga instructor and creator of Yoga Tune Up.
Other typical culprits of knee pain include injury to a ligament , weak quads or hamstrings, or a chronic condition like tendinitis.
Or blame your job: Sitting at a desk all day can create imbalances in your body by weakening your butt muscles, Miller says. Its best to see a doctor or physical therapist to find out whats causing your particular pain.
The Challenge Of Working With The Inner Quad
Yoga students are often told to lift the kneecaps in straight-legged poses to engage their quadriceps and, ostensibly, protect their knees from hyperextension. But lifting the kneecaps in a healthy and balanced way requires focused attention, especially if you already have problems in your knees.
This is easy enough to check. Sit or stand with your legs straight and your feet parallel to each other, then engage your thigh muscles so that your kneecaps lift or pull toward your hips. Do your kneecaps move up in a straight line, or do they move in an angle toward the outside of your knees? If the latter is the case, then you need to strengthen the vastus medialis, the inner quad, and learn how to use it properly.
This has its challenges. First, it can be difficult to find and isolate this muscle, because you can feel the vastus medialis firming most only in the last 10 to 20 degrees of knee extension. So it takes focused attention to even feel and understand what the muscle does.
Second, structural misalignments that cannot be changed tend to limit the vastus medialiss proper functioningand can even weaken it in relation to the other quadriceps muscles, making it even harder to work with.
Heres what you can do to keep your kneecaps tracking properly with yoga knee therapy:
Find your vastus medialis, the inner quadriceps muscle.
Strengthen it with small extension exercises.
Continue to strengthen the vastus medialis in bent-knee warrior poses.
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But It May Depend On The Injury
Lyndsay Hirst, a physiotherapist who teaches clinical yoga and pilates, notes that ones physical ability depends on the type of knee problem. If someone has a meniscal tear , they might find it uncomfortable to fully bend the knee, so positions such as sitting back into childs pose might be difficult, she explains.
Those suffering from general degeneration due to wear and tear, or arthritis, can use yoga as a way to stretch their joints. Hirst says this wont lead to any harm or danger. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but will get easier over time. One of the best parts of yoga is the fact that it can be customized to any person. And that means anyone dealing with an injury can modify it to fit their needs.
There are floor sequences that will keep your knees safe, and, of course, arm balances and inversions give you plenty of yoga with no risk to your knees, shares yoga instructor Shana Meyerson. When it comes to leg-intensive postures, you can still practice as long as you are incredibly conscientious about your movement. All yoga requires that you are extraordinarily mindful as you practice. So, in a way, injuries bring you deeper into your practice, as they make you more aware and in-tune, she says.
How To Practice Yoga At Home
Use yoga DVDs or search youtube for videos to follow along & practice yoga at home .
If you cant find a class in your area, or would simply rather practice from home, its possible to do this.
However, you should be aware that your risk of injury is higher, and you may not be performing postures correctly, which can put undue strain on your back, hips, and other joints.
Many books and DVDs are available to help you learn yoga postures, or you can make your own flow with the poses outlined in the next section.
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Improved Balance & Posture
The importance of good balance for seniors should not be underestimated. Not only is it one of the first things we start to lose as we age, its key to preventing falls – the leading cause of injury and death among older adults.
The slow and precise movements of yoga, along with its strengthening and challenging poses, help maintain balance, improve posture, mobility, and agility into old age.
Weak Knees Or Something Else
Knees are something most of us dont really think about until we start to have issues with them.
Since the knee joint is one of the large joints of the lower body alongside the hip joint and the ankle joint, it has to handle enormous amounts of stress and forces.
Our legs are a marvel of nature when you think about what they are capable of. The positions they can reach, the force they can produce and the endurance they can sustain when trekking long distances.
All that comes with a price. Since the muscles around the knee and hip joints are the strongest muscles in the human body, the joints have to handle huge amounts of stress.
Just like a mechanical joint, there is also a need for lubrication, otherwise, friction will lead to reduced performance and wear. And just like the mechanical joint in a machine, rust and debris can build up, causing the joint to malfunction.
These are simple metaphors of several ailments of the knee that can cause pain, lack of mobility, and severely reduced performance.
These include injuries like ruptured ligaments and torn cartilage and medical conditions like arthritis, gout, and even infections. There are many things that can go wrong within the joint, some more serious than others.
The common thing with many of these ailments is that they might not respond well to strengthening the muscles and ligaments around the knee joint. This is why its very important to get a proper diagnosis before trying to treat knee pain on your own.
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Is It Safe To Practice Yoga If You Have Knee Issues
Generally speaking, yesit is safe to practice, says Olivia Zurcher, a 200 RYT yoga instructor in Des Moines who had two ACL repairs after sustaining injuries while participating in collegiate cheerleading. However, it is critical to listen to your body, whether you are practicing at home or with an experienced teacher. If you are practicing at a studio with an instructor, inform your instructor about your injury, past or present. This is key to keeping yourself safe. This information also impacts the verbal cues and potential assists your teacher provides for class, she adds.
Our experienced trainers will keep you safe through your yoga workouts. Learn more here.
Cardio Exercises For Seniors At Home
If you can’t get to the gym, you don’t need to worry because there are plenty of things at home that qualify as working out – even things you do every day! That’s because things as simple as vacuuming or gardening can be cardio with the pushing, pulling, digging, and raking. So can walking around the block.
Here are a few more ideas.
Jogging – If you enjoy walking but want to try jogging and you jog for at least 30 minutes three times a week, studies show that you’ll be less likely to experience age-related physical decline. Try starting with brisk walking as a 5-minute warm-up and then start jogging at a moderate pace for up to 20 minutes. Cool down with another brisk walk for about 5 minutes.
Dancing – Dancing can be low impact or high impact depending on your fitness level, and it’s relatively easy to do at home. You just need some clear floor space to move. In the video shown, the teacher goes through some traditional low-impact, Latin-influenced moves that are perfect for beginners or seniors. It will engage your core and provide an entire body workout while raising your heart rate to boost your cardio health.
Basic exercises – These are your general exercises like jump rope, stretches, jogging in place, and more that you see on workout videos. They get your heart rate going, and there are a multitude of options out there. Each one can typically be modified for your skill level. A few are described below:
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Yoga For Seniors: Hips Knees And Feet
Michelle takes you through an invigorating sequence of strengthening and stretching exercises for the hips, knees and ankles – all done in a chair! It’s a great class for seniors or for anyone with limited mobility. Filmed in beautiful Victoria, you’ll thoroughly enjoy being a part of this class!
Thank you for this class,it is helping me stretch/strengthen left leg that I ruptured my tendon 5 mo.ago
This is a very good routine for tight hips. I felt better straight away but also, with time, I think the improvement will be even greater. Clear explanation and simple movements at a good pace.
Michelle tells us to breath in when the leg goes down and exhale as it comes up. Is she really huffing and puffing like you would need to do to keep up with her? Is the breath supposed to be so shallow that breathing that fast would coincide with the rhythm? gasp, gasp
Maybe, as a newbie, I have the wrong idea of yoga…I thought this class moved way too fast. I felt more like I was doing calisthenics than yoga. The movements and stretches, I’m sure, were effective, but I’m more used to deliberately moving into a stretch, holding, relaxing, breathing, ETC. I may try the class again, as I can’t lay down on the floor, so the seated movements are good for me, but will do slower, more deliberate movements, maybe half-time. I do appreciate this site so much, and the class.
Relief From Aches And Pains
Chronic pain is common among older adults, particularly the pain associated with arthritis and joint problems – but yoga can offer some natural relief.
A 2001 study conducted at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center looked at the effects of yoga on those with chronic pain, caused by conditions such as osteoarthritis and migraines.
Participants took part in 90-minute yoga sessions three times a week for four weeks, before being asked to rate their moods and severity of their pain. Most of the participants experienced decreases in pain, with many being able to reduce their intake of pain medications.
Since then, several other studies have had similar results: 2013 research reports that yoga may be able to to decrease pain, improve mobility, and enhance overall health in older adults and a 2015 study highlighs its ability to ease pain and improve vitality and mood in sedentary adults with arthritis.
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Other Poses Worth Modifying For Anyone With Knee Issues:
- Half Frog pose: Meyerson says any pose can be made accessible with proper alignment, instruction and modification. But some deep knee postures, like this one, should be approached with extreme caution and moderation, using props when necessary.
- Deep Side Lunge pose: Skandasana is traditionally cued to bend deeply in your knee joint, so your seat rests on your lifted heel, states Zurcher. If youve got a knee injury, limit the range of motion to 90 degrees or greater when practicing this pose. This will look more like a side lunge. Note: this variation requires more strength to hold!
- Toestand pose: Instead of trying to lower your seat toward your heel in this pose, Zurcher recommends focuses on the balancing element of this pose, which requires additional strength and focus, and will help avoid knee irritation.
- Lotus pose: This pose requires deep external hip rotation and can cause pain in the knee joint, especially the lateral collateral ligament , if forced or not enough flexibility in the hips and knees, says Zurcher. Half lotus is a great substitute, but I like baddha konasana or . With or without a block under your bent knee, these seated poses require external rotation. But dont put pressure on the knee joint.
Beginning Yoga Exercises + Poses For Seniors
Some of the best poses for beginners and seniors are detailed below. Remember to only go as far as you can with each of the postures. Every pose can be modified to meet your needs, but it’s good to consider getting professional instruction rather than going it alone.
Remember to discuss with your physician for approval before beginning your new yoga regimen.
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