Have you spent a little extra time hanging out on the sofa for the past few months? Exercising less? Is your osteoarthritis “talking to you?” Is your joint and muscle pain increasing due to the lack of activity?
Now that we are slowly able to return safely to our favorite summer activities, there is a great chance that your joints and muscles are not so ready…
People are generally more active in the summer months – between running, jogging walking, playing ball, hiking, biking, gardening, swimming, golfing, surfing, and mowing the lawn, there are a lot more ways to move your body. However, having limited use over the past few months means you may also increase your risk for minor to a major pain for the muscles and joints in your legs.
For the legs to do these activities, the knee joint works your
With so many moving parts, even just the slightest inflammation or injury to any one area can affect all of the others.
Here are six ways to keep your knees pain-free this summer:
- Start slow. If you have been less active over the past few months your muscle memory may not kick in the first time you try to do something. Start slowly to prevent injury.
- Knee protection starts at the ground up. By wearing proper shoes, you can keep your feet from striking the ground incorrectly and applying abnormal pressures on your knees. Flip-flops are great to wear to the beach or pool, but a shoe with more support is necessary for long walks and hikes. Wearing footwear designed for your activity can help avoid injury.
- Stretch and strengthen. The muscles in our thighs help stabilize the knee. Without strong muscles, the knee and kneecap are prone to misalignment or hyperextension. The muscles in the lower leg allow for movement, and tight muscles can prevent the knee from moving freely. Before you (re)start any activity take the time to stretch. Make strengthening activities a part of your daily routine.
- Warm-up for summer fun. Many people are injured over the summer by jumping into a summer activity like kickball or volleyball, or playing too rough with family and friends in a game of corn hole or miniature golf. Warm-up those muscles before jumping into anything to avoid injury – especially an embarrassing one that would leave friends and family laughing at you.
- Keep Cool and Stay Hydrated. While joint pain is often associated with cold weather, the truth is hot and balmy temperatures can greatly affect our bodies. Studies have shown links between the barometric pressure and the contraction or expansion of muscles, tendons, and scar tissue – often resulting in pain. Staying hydrated, keeping cool, utilizing your air conditioning, and talking to your chiropractor can help minimize your chronic pain.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight. You may have become a victim of the “Quarantine Fifteen” but you may not realize the damage those extra pounds are doing to your joints. In many cases, losing weight can help reduce pain and lower the risk of osteoarthritis. Studies have shown that even just a 10% reduction in weight can show significant improvement in pain levels.
As a result, while returning to your favorite physical summer activities is good for your mental and physical health, it is also important to remember to take precautions when necessary. We understand the impact chronic knee pain can have on your daily life, no matter the season. That is why we want to help your body perform at its very best!