By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: June 2008
Physical therapist Steve Earle (left) and Rob Ellison (center), manager of the Therapy Center at Central States Orthopedic Specialists, provide an exercise prescription for knee pain to Dayna Paeper.
Summer is the season many people feel more vigorous and increase their daily activity levels. The beautiful weather encourages outdoor activities such as strolling around the neighborhood, working in the yard and taking a dip in the pool. Exercise has countless benefits, but sometimes a drastic increase in activity can lead to pain and stiffness in the weight-bearing joints, primarily the knees. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. LaButti, along with his team at Central States Orthopedic Specialists in Tulsa, can help you understand why this occurs and how to prevent it.
"People often experience onset of knee pain and stiffness due to a sudden change in activity levels, such as increased exercise intensity or prolonged kneeling and squatting to do activities such as yard work," said Dr. LaButti.
Symptoms usually arise when the demands placed on the joint exceed the joint's physical capacity. If your joints are not conditioned to handle the activity at hand, they become overloaded, leading to pain and stiffness.
There are several things you can do to help decrease the load on your joints and improve their physical capacity. Gardening and working in the yard, for instance, require a lot of squatting and kneeling. Try avoiding prolonged squatting activities and use knee pads or cushions when kneeling.
Carrying around extra pounds can also have an adverse effect on the capacity of your joints. Dr. LaButti suggests working with your physician on a weight loss program, using nutritional supplements such as chondroitin sulfate with glucosamine. This particular supplement is sold over the counter and assists in reducing symptoms and helping the cartilage in the joint rebuild itself.
The most vital aspect of improving the physical capacity of your joints is exercising. According to Rob Ellison, manager of the Therapy Center at Central States Orthopedic Specialists, it is crucial to perform exercises that do not overload your joints.
"Exercise prescription is a little more complicated than most people think. For people with joint problems, the exercises that are recommended must not cause excessive force, or load, through the joint. At the same time, they need to be challenging enough to improve the health of that joint," said Ellison.
As a rule, using exercise equipment in which your feet never leave the ground is beneficial. For example, working out on a stationary bicycle is effective for knee pain, because you are able to do a lot of repetitions while controlling the amount of force through the knee joint.
Walking is also effective for knee joint pain, but Dr. LaButti encourages you to stay on a level surface. Be sure to notify your physician if walking on level surfaces causes your knees to swell and become stiff.
For more information on knee pain and the health of your joints, call Dr. Labutti at Central States Orthopedic Specialists at (918) 481-2767.
Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.