Posts Tagged ‘knee pain’

A Few of My Favorite Things…

November 14, 2008

I’m always looking for great wellness products for myself and my clients, so when I find something that works for me – I like to share the information. One of my must-haves is Traumeel, a homeopathic anti-inflammatory tropical ointment. For acute, minor muscle aches and pains, nothing works better. I first discovered Traumeel years ago when I was racing marathons. The difference in the soreness of my legs post-race was remarkable. These days I always carry a tube in my purse or gym bag – something I was very glad of 18 months ago when I was in a bad car-accident and suffered pretty severe whiplash. Personally, I find the ointment more effective than the gel – as it’s more penetrating. Both the ointment and the gel are odorless and they won’t stain your clothing. Traumeel is available at most health food stores and Whole Foods and these days you can even find it on Amazon.com for a great price. It’s also helpful in preventing bruising if you bump yourself or take a fall. My sister was recently in the hospital and also found it effective in healing from the pain of surgery and IVs. Note:  it should never be used on broken skin. The makers of Traumeel also make Zeel – a similar product for chronic pain and inflammation – great for those with arthritis.

Here are a few more of my favorite things:

Recharge – a natural electrolyte replacement drink alternative to Gatorade for active people especially during the summer months. Try it at Whole Foods and then to buy in bulk I found this great offer viaAmazon.

Chicken of the Sea Salmon Cups – a convenient way to get your Omega 3s on the go. Great for taking with you in the car, on the airplane – or just brown bagging at the office. Available at most grocery stores in the canned tuna section.

Water Warmup Jackets – made of special stretchy, comfortable and most importantly warm neoprene fabric. These jackets are a must if you workout in an outdoor pool during the winter months. Find them atwww.waterwarmups.com and tell Sally that Carolyn sent you.

H20 Wear Swimsuits – are made of a special blend of polyester and are guaranteed to last a year. They offer traditional-style suits as well as swimsuit tanks and shorts. I’m still wearing some that I bought years ago.Check them out at www.h20wear.com.

Xyflamend– a natural anti-inflammatory supplement for those with arthritis, sports injuries or chronic pain. It contains organic herbal anti-inflammatory formula with powerful anti-oxidative agents, including Holy Basil, Turmeric and Ginger. Find it in most health food stores and Whole Foods.

Be Well,

Carolyn

Kicking Knee Pain

November 10, 2008

No body part is more vulnerable to exercise-related injuries than the knee joint. But exercising regularly doesn’t have to lead to painful knees. In fact, Stanford’s Arthritis Center compared the knee problems of runners and non-exercisers ages 50 years and older over an eight-year period and found that the exercisers experienced 60 percent fewer knee problems than their sedentary counterparts. In another study, researchers at the Boston University Medical School tracked the development of knee arthritis in older adults for nine years and found that exercisers had no greater or lower risk for developing osteoarthritis of the knees. So while exercising may not delay the progression of osteoarthritis of the knees, it doesn’t appear to accelerate it either.

Other Origins of Knee Pain

Like your shoulder and your hip, your knee is a ball-and-socket joint. It is the largest and most complex joint in your body, held together by strong tendons and ligaments which act like stays and pulleys, allowing the joint to twist, bend, push and withstand the stress of hiking, dancing, playing tennis or just climbing stairs.

In addition to osteoarthritis, knee pain is often a symptom of a biomechanical problem or muscular imbalance in another part of the body. Weak quadriceps muscles combined with tight hamstrings can, for example, lead to an improper tracking of the knee and can even pull the knee cap out of its groove. Knee pain can also be caused by excessive foot pronation (when the arch collapses and the foot rolls too far inward) or tightness in the muscles surrounding the hip joints. Worn or improperly fitting athletic and everyday shoes can further exacerbate a knee problem.

Replacing Worn Out Knee Joints

Severe degeneration of the knee joint usually results from osteoarthritis or repetitive knee trauma/injuries. In either situation, the protective cushioning of cartilage wears away resulting in the painful rubbing of bone against bone. Knee replacement surgery is usually a last resort when pain becomes constant and the ability to function normally is impaired. Exercising both before and after surgery is critical: pre-habilitating” your knee prior to surgery makes the post-surgery rehabilitation faster and easier. In both cases, aquatic exercise is particularly beneficial in developing the leg muscles without loading the knee joint.

Case Study

“Tom” came to me three months prior to his scheduled knee replacement. We worked hard in the pool to prepare him for the surgery, specifically focusing on building the strength and increasing the flexibility of his quadriceps and hamstring muscles. Because of the aquatic “prehab” he did prior to surgery, Tom breezed through the knee replacement and was the star of his post-surgery physical therapy class with his very impressive range of motion. For more information on aquatic prehab and rehab, please visit the aquatic therapy/training page on my website at www.bewellcoaching.com.

Strengthen Those Leg Muscles!

Speaking of exercise – “weak in the knees” is more than just an expression. Rehabilitating sore knees and preventing future problems requires strengthening and stretching the muscles and tendons surrounding the knees. When the quadriceps, hamstrings and gastrocnemius muscles are weak and/or tight, the knee joint receives the brunt of the force with weight-bearing exercise or activity. Exercises such as wall or chair squats, seated leg lifts and even stair climbing strengthen the leg muscles so they can provide shock absorption for the knee joint.

Note that knee pain can result from a sudden increase in exercise. Give your knees time to adjust to a new activity level by gradually increasing the duration and intensity of your workouts and by scheduling rest days in between. Also, make sure you have the proper adjustments when using exercise equipment. For example, a bicycle seat that’s positioned too high or low or too far forward or backward puts additional stress on the knee joint. Bottom line: exercising intelligently doesn’t increase your risk for knee problems, but being sedentary does.

Be Well,

Carolyn