A person relies on their knees for supporting their movements during a workout. But sometimes the knees themselves can ache during or after exercising. If experiencing knee pain after exercising, the individual should understand that an underlying condition probably exists which is responsible for the knee pain. Wondering what causes post workout knee pain, and what to do for knee pain from working out? First of all, each type of exercise which the individual has performed and the location of the pain need to be evaluated for identifying the exact cause of knee pain post work out. Learning when the individual can continue exercising with knee pain, and when they cannot is important for their continued good health.
What are the Causes of Knee Pain Post Workout?
Injury/Strain: One of the most common complains after exercising or working out is knee pain. The knee is an intricate joint, which involves tendons, bones, muscles, menisci, and ligaments, all of which support the knee joint. If any of these get damaged or stressed, it can lead to knee pain. Further, many physical activities like jumping, running, bending, and stretching while working out can also put a lot of stress, impact, strain, or body weight directly on the knees, and cause knee pain while or after working out.
Intense Workouts: The problem of knee pain is particularly observed among people who work out intensely, but inconsistently. A person can also develop tendonitis over time if they practice intense and irregular workouts regularly. Sore knees can cause a lot of pain or discomfort, especially in people trying to maintain a more active lifestyle through working out. Their knees tend to get sore or stiff when they put weight on them, in a spin class, during interval training, or while running around the park. They should rather opt for strengthening exercises.
Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome: However, certain causes of knee pain from working out are a little more serious. A common cause of knee pain in youngsters, especially those who exercise or engage in high-impact sports, is patella-femoral pain syndrome or runner’s knee. This condition is marked by pain in the bones and soft tissues surrounding the kneecap. Treatment for runner’s knee involves rest and physical therapy for stabilizing the knee joint.
Wear & Tear of Knee Cartilage: Another possible cause of knee pain from working-out is the wear and tear of the cartilage in the knees, due to overuse and age. In such cases, one would need to change their workout routine and incorporate more of low-impact activities to lessen the knee pain.
What To Do For Knee Pain From Working Out?
The best ways of relieving post work out knee pain are:
Post-Exercise Treatment: Ones experience knee pain after exercising, should take immediate steps to decrease inflammation in their knees. This includes icing the knee within 10 to 20 minutes post workout, and taking an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen. These people should also evaluate their footwear because lack of support, especially arch support during workouts often leads to knee pain. A doctor or a shoe specialist can help these individuals choose the best shoes for ensuring that they stay in good enough shape and continue exercising. If their knees continue to swell, or the knee pain worsens instead of getting better, the person should take a few days off from exercising and seek medical attention. People with knee pain should also try to follow a healthy lifestyle, since gaining weight can put additional strain on their knees and cause knee pain from working out.
Avoid High Impact Exercises: Knees are the biggest shock absorbers of the body, which absorb the impact every time one takes a step. People engaging in high-impact activities like running, basketball or volleyball face a greater risk of experiencing knee pain after working out. If pain is experienced in both the knees after high-impact exercise, then it is an indication that the individual needs to alternate high- and low-impact activities. These include activities like swimming or exercising on an elliptical machine, which put lesser stress on the knees. By incorporating these activities in their workout routine, these individuals can effectively take the pressure off their knees and hence avoid knee pain from working out.
Perform Knee Strengthening Exercises: If the knee has been evaluated by the doctor and no serious injuries were detected, then the patient can engage in some knee-strengthening exercises for reducing the knee pain and restoring its stability after working out. Strengthening the knees and performing the exercises correctly, can help to prevent biomechanical issues, which cause knee problems. For instance, the patient can sit with their legs extended and then slowly lift their legs about 6 to 8 inches off the ground. This move can be repeated 5 to 10 times on each leg. From a seated position with their legs extended, the individual can also cross one leg over the other to stretch the outer part of the knee. This position should be held for 5 seconds before releasing the stretch. The entire move should be repeated on the opposite side as well. The doctor can even recommend alternate stretches to the patient for easing the tension in their knee. Knee-strengthening exercises greatly help in reducing knee pain from working out.
Treat Knee Injuries Immediately: A number of tendons, muscles, and bones are related to the knee. This makes the knee extremely prone to injury. One can experience conditions like runner’s knee, which causes pain behind the kneecap; and ilio-tibial band syndrome, which triggers pain outside the knees. Both injury and overuse of the knees can lead to knee pain from working out. If knee pain does not subside with rest, the patient should visit a doctor immediately for getting their knees evaluated for potential knee injury. A surgery is not the only treatment option for relieving knee pain. Several conservative approaches can be recommended by the doctor to treat the problem of knee pain from working out.
Relieving general knee pain from working out or exercising could only be something as simple as a matter of perfecting the form/posture when running or doing squats and lunges. Some sessions with a certified physical therapist can help a person learn the basic movements of working out correctly. This will help to ensure that the individual does the work out movements correctly every time, without putting themselves or their knees at a risk of injury or long-term damage. These people may also need to take the help of physical therapy for improving the stability of their knees. But since knee pain can be caused by multiple reasons, it is advisable to talk to a doctor for ascertaining the right course of treatment.
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