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Home > Five Bad Habits That Exacerbate Knee Pain

Five Bad Habits That Exacerbate Knee Pain

Dr. Bob Snyder

Robert J. Snyder, MD

As an Orthopaedic physician, I spend my days looking at, diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal issues, and believe me, I have seen and taken care of more knees than I can count. Let’s discuss the bad habits you should avoid if you want be good to your knees for life!

Bad Habit # 1 – Overeating

Overeating causes weight gain. Carrying around extra weight is hard on your joints, especially your knees.  Although estimates vary, for every pound you weigh, your knees feel the equivalent of three-four pounds, so basically your knees carry triple-quadruple your body weight around every day. Be kind to your knees and don’t make them work so hard-they will thank you with less pain!

Bad Habit # 2 – Smoking

There are numerous studies that prove smoking increases pain in the body. According to the CDC, smokers are more than 50% of patients who seek treatment for pain AND smoking is known to aggravate back and joint pain. The nicotine in cigarettes causes restriction in the blood vessels and prevents oxygenated blood from reaching cartilage and bone as it should for optimal joint health. If you needed another reason to quit, here it is.

Read these related articles on smoking:
Smoking and Back Surgery
Smoking and Knee Replacement

Bad Habit # 3 – Not Exercising at all/Enough

A body that doesn’t move quickly loses muscle tone, flexibility, and strength.  That goes especially for the knee joints, which require strong leg muscles, tendons and ligaments for stability, and mobility. Sitting on the couch for days, weeks or months is a recipe for knee pain, dysfunction, and a visit to see me for a consult. You don’t have to be a gym rat – simply get off the couch and walk around the block a few times.  Add to your distance slowly but steadily.  Soon, you’ll be walking for miles and your knees will be doing great!

Bad Habit # 4 – Wearing cheap shoes

Wearing ill-fitting, poorly made, non-supportive shoes can quickly translate into knee pain.  This is especially true when it comes to athletic/work-out shoes and working out, walking, or running for fitness.  You can skimp on many things, but I recommend that you don’t cheap out on your shoes.  Your shoes help to absorb the shock and pounding of your workout/daily activities, so that your feet and knees don’t have to take so much punishment.  Your shoes can even help correct structural defects, mechanical and alignment problems that can cause knee pain, when fitted properly and get good orthotics.

Bad Habit # 5 – Training too much/too hard/incorrectly

Just like not working out at all or too little is bad for your knees, so is overtraining or training incorrectly.   When too much stress is being put on your knees by overtraining, your body becomes fatigued.  Those muscles, ligaments and tendons that work to keep your knee joints stable and in alignment become more susceptible to injury, even micro-tears.  What was once a well-functioning, healthy knee may suddenly become an angry, swollen, painful knee because of overwork and abuse by its owner – you!  Yes, you may think you are doing yourself a big favor by getting into shape quickly, but by not paying attention to your body, you could be setting yourself up for a big injury that could potentially side-line you for a very long time.  When you feel a twinge, soreness, or pain, pay attention!  Rest, apply ice intermittently, elevate, take some ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, modify your workout, and review what you are doing, if anything to contribute to the pain.

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