This morning, 3/21/2019, on NBC’s TODAY show, Savannah Guthrie and Carson Daly talked with Sports Doctor, Jordan Metzl, about the most common knee injuries and caring for your knees from youth to your senior years. Your knees are essential to movement. If you’re dealing with chronic knee pain, here’s some advice.
Metzl says every day in my office, he sees people coming in with achy knees, from 8-year-old gymnasts to 82-year-old marathon runners. No matter their age, each of his patients has a common objective, they want to keep moving.
Common Knee Problems
- Common Knee Pain from a Growth Spurt. This causes a loss of muscle flexibility and a pulling or pain sensation at the growth plate in the knee called Osgood-Schlatter. Knee issues are most common in teen athletes during periods of growth (for girls, age 10-14; for boys, age 12-14). How to fix it: The ways to fix a knee with Osgood-Schlatter include getting on a foam roller to loosen the muscles around the leg and using a knee strap to keep the pressure off of the tibial tubercle, the area of the knee that is made of cartilage and hurts with jumping and running.
- Runner’s Knee. Runner’s knee is the most common cause of knee pain in young adults. It is caused by the kneecap (patella) rubbing against the femur (thigh). You don’t have to be a runner to get runner’s knee. The classic symptoms are an ache underneath your kneecap as you go up and down the stairs. This issue commonly occurs in active people, age 20-60. How to fix it: The ways to fix runner’s knee include building up the muscles in the leg which helps the patella stop rubbing against the femur bone and also shortening your walking or running stride. When the stride is shortened it puts less loading force on the patella and the pain reduces.
- Arthritis of the Knee. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, it is a wear and tear of the lining of the joint. It is the most common cause of knee pain in people over 50 and can limit their activity. The main point to emphasize here is that we don’t want an arthritic knee to cause health problems. Sitting at the kitchen table and feeling sorry for yourself is the worst thing you can do! Moving an arthritic knee, and strengthening the muscles around the knee, can make a huge difference. How to fix it: Try these exercises outlined below:
- Monster walks: Get a resistance band and put it around both ankles. Then slightly bend your knees and take small steps sideways. This is a great way to build the muscles on the sides of the hip, and thus, supporting the knee.
- Squatting from a chair: This is a great way to safely squat, and a great way to start building the quads and hips. Stand in front of the chair with your arms out straight and sit back until you feel the chair, then come back up. Don’t get too comfy, the key is to lightly touch the chair and come back up.
- Biking: This a great way to keep the knees and hips moving while also building strength. He recommends 30 minutes a day, as often as you can.
Dr. Jordan Metzl is a renowned sports medicine physician at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. In addition to his medical practice, he is the author of five books about the intersection of fitness and medicine including The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies. He can be followed on Instagram.
Ref. MSN/lifestyle, NBC/TODAY
Photo courtesy of Bing via chronicpainblog.com