Tag Archive for: prevent knee pain

knees

Spooky creaks and cracks coming from your knees?

Do the cracks in your knees “spook” you out?

Yes – it’s Halloween – and we’re having some fun over here…

But in all seriousness – when it comes to cracking in your knees (or any joint for that matter) – people get nervous.

First of all, cracking in your knees (as well as your other joints) is quite common – and most of the time there’s a reasonable explanation for it.

Crepitus is the term used to describe any grinding, creaking, cracking, grating, crunching , or popping that occurs when you move a joint like your knee. You can experience this at any age – but it’s certainly more common as you get older.

So what causes crepitus – and should it be a concern…

The most common causes of crepitus include air bubbles popping inside your joint, tendons or ligaments snapping over your joint’s bony structures, or the degeneration of your joint’s cartilage that generally occurs with arthritis. You may experience uncomfortable sensations, or even a tiny bit of pain when this happens, but in most cases, none of this should scare or concern you.

It’s all a normal part of aging and wear and tear.

But if the cracking in your joints starts to become more regular – is accompanied by joint swelling and more constant pain – or if the cracking turns to “clunking” and your knee starts to feel unstable… then you’re smart to be concerned and it’s possible something more serious could be going on.

If you suspect something like this could be happening – get your knees checked out by an expert.

But assuming you haven’t let your knees get to the “concerned stage” yet… and the most annoying thing to you right now is the cracking, grinding, or crunching…

There are things you can do to prevent it from getting worse.

The first thing I always recommend is to keep moving.

Motion is lotion.

And regular movement throughout the day helps keep your joints lubricated. It’s like applying WD-40 to a creaky door hinge – when your joints creak – move them to lubricate them.

The second important thing to consider if you want to reduce crepitus and prevent it from becoming something more serious is your biomechanics.

Biomechanics refers to how well your muscles and joints function together.

If you’ve got imbalances – it will impact the way your joints move and function – causing more creaking and cracking.

For example, let’s say your hips are on the weak side. How your knees tolerate various activities depends a lot on how strong your hips are. I’ve experienced this first hand… I love to hike. And if my hips aren’t doing their part, I feel the entire hike in my knees, especially on the way down.

And you know what else happens?

My knees crack a lot more on the days after I hike.

The imbalances in my body cause more stress on my knees and the result is they crack a lot more. Now, as I mentioned previously, this isn’t a big concern for me… yet. My knees don’t hurt – they are just very noisy. But in the interest in prevention – I make a conscious effort to regularly stretch my quads, and strengthen my hips and core – so that I can keep this problem at bay and not let it get worse.

My FAVORITE way to do this is with Pilates.

Specifically… on the Pilates Reformer!

When you use the Pilates Reformer – it allows you to both strengthen and lengthen at the same time – as well as focus on your coordination. These three things – when combined together – help to significantly optimize your biomechanics.

If you’ve never used the Pilates Reformer and want to give it a try – check out our Pilates program HERE.

Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates expert, owns CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth. To get a FREE copy of her guide to knee pain – CLICK HERE

Failed Knee Surgery

Knee Surgery Gone Wrong? It’s More Common Than You Think.

Arthroscopic knee surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed – despite research telling us that it’s not nearly as effective as most people are led to believe.

Furthermore, the science tells us that people who do undergo arthroscopic knee surgery are likely to have knee arthritis that advances more rapidly – resulting in a total knee replacement that quite possibly could have been avoided.

Arthroscopic knee surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that’s commonly done to help “clean out” your knee joint if you’ve got degenerative arthritis, or to clip out pieces of a torn meniscus that might be irritating your knee.

Sounds pretty simple and harmless – right?

Well… it is until it isn’t.

The big problem is that arthroscopic knee surgery is not necessary for most cases of knee pain.

If there is a complication – which there are many even with “minimally invasive” procedures – you could end up being worse off than when you went in.

Plus – if you never even needed the surgery to begin with – you just put your knee through unnecessary trauma that you’ve got to now heal from. This further delays you from addressing the root cause of your knee pain.

The truth is that most people can get full relief of their knee pain as well as full restoration of knee function without any type of surgery or procedure. This is true for 70% of all knee pain cases.

An early research study from 2002 by JB Moseley and colleagues, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed that placebo surgery for advanced knee arthritis was just as effective as actual arthroscopic surgery.

Since then, numerous studies have proven similar results. This means that even if you have a torn meniscus or degenerative arthritis in your knee – you can still get better naturally and with conservative treatment.

So why then – despite all this research – are surgeons still performing arthroscopic knee surgery more than ever?

In some cases it’s just what the surgeon knows, and they haven’t kept up with the research. Other times, it’s due to poor conservative management of knee pain. If you’ve gotten physical therapy and it wasn’t effective, people are led to believe that the physical therapy “didn’t work”.

But more often than not, you just haven’t found the right physical therapist yet – someone who understands how to diagnose knee pain properly and get you the customized approach that is required to avoid surgery.

And then there’s the elephant in the room…

It’s very common for knee pain to be coming from somewhere other than your knee. Knee pain can come from your ankle, hip, or back. One study showed that 40% of the time – knee pain is caused by your back – even when you don’t have any back pain.

MRI’s add even more confusion to this. It’s entirely possible to have degenerative changes, a torn meniscus, or advanced arthritis in your knee – and still have your knee pain stemming from a source other than your knee.

Over the course of my 20 year career, I’ve seen many knee surgeries go wrong.

Most of the time, it has nothing to do with the procedure itself, but everything to do with an incorrect diagnosis going in. If your knee pain can be resolved conservatively – and you put it through unnecessary trauma (surgery) – there’s a good chance you’re going to have more problems afterwards. If you get knee surgery when your knee problem isn’t even coming from your knee – then you’re definitely going to have problems afterwards.

The moral of this story is to make absolutely certain that:

1) Your knee problem is really a knee problem and

2) You’ve fully exhausted all (quality) conservative therapy options before going under the knife.

Remember that 70% of all knee pain cases do not need surgery.

Science has proven this. Don’t resort to knee surgery unless you’re 100% sure you really need it. Because it can go wrong and when it does – it’s much harder to come back from then if you had avoided it to begin with.

Want help with your pain now? CLICK HERE to talk to one of my specialists for free – you can tell them all about your knee pain and we’ll let you know if we can help. 🙂

Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates expert, owns CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth and writes for Seacoast Media Group. To request a free copy of her Knee Pain Free Report CLICK HERE  or to get in touch, email her at info@cjphysicaltherapy.com.

Holding Knee with Arthritis

Three Tips to Protect Your Knees From Arthritis

Knee arthritis is one of the most common forms of osteoarthritis.

Knee arthritis accounts for more than 80% of all osteoarthritis and impacts at least 19% of Americans over the age of 45.

For many, a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis leads to chronic, debilitating knee pain that stops them from doing all of their favorite activities. Sometimes it’s simply due to the limiting belief that once you have arthritis – you’ve got “bad knees” for life.

Other times it’s because you’ve been told you have “bone on bone” in your knee and there’s nothing you can do – except to scale back on activity so that you don’t make it worse. This line of thinking is flawed and often leads people to unnecessary procedures and surgery. One of the best things you can do to protect your knees from the debilitating effects of arthritis is to keep moving.

Here are three tips to help you protect your knees from arthritis as you age – so that you can keep doing all of your favorite activities and avoid any major procedures or surgery:

1. Strengthen Your Hips and Core

Your knee joint is situated just below your hips and core. And research has shown that when you have poor control of your upper leg muscles – you get more stress through your knee joint.

The strength of your upper leg muscles is very much dependent on your hip and core strength. Your thigh bone – or femur – connects your knee and your pelvis – and your core strength controls your pelvis.

If your pelvis isn’t stable – your femur is going to have a difficult time staying in alignment – which will ultimately have an impact on your knee joint. If you’ve got arthritis in your knees, it’s critical you minimize any added stress to your knee joints.

Strengthening your core and having good hip strength is going to help prevent and minimize the symptoms of arthritis and keep you doing activities you love longer.

2. Keep Your Knees Mobile

Mobility before stability is my mantra.

And I say this for just about every joint in your body. But it’s especially true for your knees. There are joints whose primary function is stability – and there are those whose major function is mobility.

Your knee needs to be mobile.

Its major purpose is to bend all the way so you can squat and pick things up – and it needs to straighten all the way to give you stability when you need it. When either of these motions are lacking – your ligaments and surrounding muscles will suffer.

A lot of folks just “accept” that their knees are stiff – especially if you’ve been told you have arthritis in your knees. The limiting belief is that stiffness is par for the course. But the truth is that if you keep your knees mobile as you age – you can not only maintain the mobility you have but improve what is lacking.

If your knees are stiff – start moving them. The thing to understand about arthritis is that it’s a normal part of aging. Debilitating mobility is not. Even a 10% improvement in your knee mobility – which can happen even if you’ve got arthritis – will result in huge improvements in your knee function.

It can be the difference between a natural solution to knee pain vs undergoing a major surgery like knee replacement.

3. Don’t Stop Your Activities

When people find out they have arthritis – and especially if they’re in pain – they often think that slowing down or stopping activity will help protect their knees.

This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Study after study – including one from the Center for Disease Control – shows that severe joint pain among adults with arthritis is worse with inactivity. When you remain active, you keep blood flowing, your knee joints mobile, and your muscles strong. These are very important factors in managing your arthritis. Sometimes, the knee pain you feel when you’re doing certain activities has nothing to do with your arthritis. Statistics show that only 15% of patients with evidence of knee osteoarthritis on X-ray even had symptoms.

That means that the other 85% is walking, biking, and running around enjoying their most favorite activities – despite the fact their X-ray showed arthritis too. The point here is to keep doing your activities – whether you’ve got arthritis already or not – it’s one of the best ways to prevent and protect your knee joints as you age.

So – to review…

If you want to optimize your knee health as you age – which you still can even if you’ve been told you have “advanced arthritis” – prioritize your core strength, the mobility of your knees, and stay active.

Focusing on these three things can have a significant impact on how arthritis affects you – and can help you avoid major (often unnecessary) surgery in your future.

Is knee pain keeping you from doing your favorite activities? Are you considering a major procedure or surgery but not sure if you need it?

Join us on Tuesday Oct. 25th from 6-7pm for our Free Masterclass for Knee Pain Sufferers.

Sign up using this link —> Knee Pain Masterclass.

We hope to see you there!

Can’t make it live? All participants will receive a complimentary replay of the class 🙂

Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates expert, owns CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth and writes for Seacoast Media Group. To request a free copy of her Knee Pain Free Report CLICK HERE  or to get in touch, email her at info@cjphysicaltherapy.com.