Be kind to your knees and joints
“Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they are gone.” So says the lyrics of the popular Baz Luhrmann song Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen track. And how true they are.
Both the knee and hip are complex, weight bearing joints, comprised of multiple structures that support their primary function; first and foremost, they were designed to move.
When something goes wrong, you will know about it as the fact we rely on them so much means we cannot escape the pain and that quickly affects day-to-day life.
Your best friend in these circumstances will be a physiotherapist, whose knowledge and experience leads them to identify the problem and the best course of action.
One of the Benenden Hospital physiotherapists is Bridie O’Loughlin. She is a big fan of these extraordinary parts of our anatomy and she gets a great deal of satisfaction from guiding people back to good health and a return to their favourite sports or pastimes, exclusion from which makes it all the more miserable when people are suffering.
First a quick biology lesson:
Both joints have a membrane capsule which surrounds it, ligamentous attachments for stability and cartilage to help with movement, cushioning and shock absorption. Both are surrounded by large muscle groups that further allow the range of movement they were meant for.
Pain can occur as a result of damage to one of these components or weakness to the associated muscles. This may be due to injury or trauma, degenerative changes, lack of use or congenital defects.
Hip and knee pain can occur at any age. However, age-related pain is most likely to be experienced early to mid-50s.
Your physiotherapist may use a range of treatments to help manage your symptoms. These may include individually-tailored exercises, electrotherapy, taping techniques and soft tissue mobilisations. They will also be able to guide you through lifestyle changes and management techniques so that you are able to deal with your symptoms going forward.
If you are planning on returning to a specific sport or activity then your physiotherapist will be vital in guiding you through the best exercises for you, the frequency and intensity of the exercises and participating in a phased and safe way to avoid reinjury or unnecessary aggravation.
The best chance of staying problem-free hinges on looking after yourself.
Bridie said: “It is not possible to precisely predict when an injury may occur or who will develop pain as they get older.
“However, living a healthy lifestyle and taking regular exercise can help to maintain our strength and joint mobility, reducing the likelihood of injury. It also means that should we experience pain as part of the aging process, we will be better able to manage it. Our weight can play a big part for our joint health, so trying to stay within a healthy weight limit can reduce the amount of pressure on our joints.
“To reduce the risk of injury when exercising or playing sport, it is so important to complete a warm up and cool down on each occasion.”