Having sensitive knees may make you feel like you should be cutting back your physical activities. You may not be able to do as much as you used to, but knee pain shouldn’t keep you from staying active.
Walking, for instance, is a good physical activity that can help reduce inflammation and pain. In fact, walking is a highly recommended activity for those with arthritis to maintain function and improve the quality of life.
Starting a walking program can help you stay in good shape, keep your heart and bones healthy, and your joints functioning.
If you have sensitive knees, the following strategies can help protect your knees when walking:
1. Start slowly and warm-up.
If you’re new to a walking program, it’s important to start slow and build your walking time gradually. You may start with an easy or slow-paced 10-minute walk and slowly build it up over time as you gain more strength and endurance.
Aim for a 30-minute walk each day, walking briskly at a pace that you find challenging.
Before you start walking, you may find it useful to apply heat to the joints. Some people find it helpful to apply heat before and after walking (through a warm bath or shower).
2. Aim for at least 6,000 steps a day.
Research shows that people with osteoarthritis can benefit most when they walk for at least 6,000 steps a day. A pedometer or a phone app can be used to track your steps.
3. Use the right shoes.
If you have sensitive knees, opt for low-heeled, wide toe box shoes that are flat and flexible and bendable in the forefoot.
4. Walk on softer surfaces.
Natural surfaces like dirt or pea gravel are gentler on the joints. If you’re walking on even surfaces, opt for an asphalt or cinder track trail rather than concrete.
Hard concrete floors can take a toll on the body due to its inflexibility. Walking and even standing for long periods of time on concrete surfaces can exacerbate the knee pain.
5. Use assistive devices.
Depending on your condition, you may find it useful for your stability and for reducing joint fatigue to use walking aids such as trekking poles or canes.
If your knee pain is affecting your quality of life, it’s best to see a specialist.
Ozark Orthopaedics has doctors who can look into your knee condition and recommend appropriate treatment options. Visit us here to find the location nearest you.
To request an appointment, you may call us at (479) 521-2752.