Knee pain What to do when you get knee pain?
In my experience, 90% of the knee pain reported by athletes can be eliminated using preventative measures or ‘pre-hab’ type activities. These include all of the following measures:
1) Daily stretching. Areas to focus on – quads, IT band, glutes, calves, hamstrings, hip flexors. When any of these muscles become tight, it can result in knee pain. Always stretch when you are warm. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds, breathing slowly and deeply the whole time to encourage muscle relaxation. Stretching has to be done daily in athletes that are training every day and multiple times/day. The more stress on a muscle, the more likely it is to tighten up.
2) Foam rolling. At least every other day, athletes should be using a foam roller and/or rehab ball to find knots and kinks in the lower body and apply pressure to release them aka ‘roll them out’. Foam rolling should be done before or after your stretching. Spend about 5 minutes on each knot that you find, using very slow, small back and forth rolls alternated with constant pressure to stimulate the area to release.
3) Monthly massage therapy sessions. Try to find a therapist that has some experience with athletes – they tend to be able to find issues faster then the average / general therapist. Often times what happens is the muscles of the lower body can start to ‘stick’ together in bunches as the fascia gets tighter. A good massage therapist can identify this and work to loosen up the fascia and eliminate this bunching or sticking together of the muscles. You can also use an athletic therapist in place of a massage therapist, which would address the issue as well.
4) Epson salt baths. At least once per week you should be soaking in a hot bath with 2 cups of Epson salts to stimulate muscle relaxation, reduce muscle soreness and promote recovery. Be sure the salts are fully dissolved in the water by stirring around and lay for at least 15-20 mins. When following these four, maintenance-type does nothing to relieve your knee pain, you could have a mild form of arthritis. Although this is more common in the elderly, it’s not uncommon for athletes to develop it.
The best ways to treat arthritic knees are:
1) Natural anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and bioflavonoids. Some more common options are: curcurmin/turmeric, vitamin C, grapeseed, fish oil, resveratrol, aloe.
2) Anti-inflammatory meds. i.e. Naproxen (Aleve), Celebrex, Ibuprofen (Advil)
3) Reduction/elimination of all high impact activities i.e. box jumps, plyos, etc.
If after all this, you are still experiencing knee pain, the best advice is to see your doctor or a sports medicine clinic to have things investigated further. They will likely do a full assessment and in some cases send you for a ct scan or mri.