Being an athlete has a lot of good points – you get enough exercise and stay healthy, you develop flexibility and strength, and you boost your immune system. Moreover, you get to do well in an activity that you enjoy as well.
Unfortunately, there are also cons when it comes to being an athlete. The disadvantage is that there is a possibility of suffering from various body pains. The most common body pains aside from the back are the knee. What usually causes knee pain is a result of injury. However, an athlete can still get knee pain without falling or tripping and get an injury. Other reasons would include overuse, arthritis, osteoarthritis, and even movements that are repetitive.
How do we lessen the pain we feel in our knees? The first thing to do is identify what the real cause of the pain. Certain treatments that can lower inflammation, or doing the right exercise and even keeping a healthy body weight can contribute to relieving the pain.
What are the symptoms of knee pains?
When you are suffering from knee pains, there is generally a feeling of discomfort around the knees which is usually throbbing and sensitive. However, there are also other symptoms that can be felt when our knees are affected. These include:
– Swelling is noticeable around our knees
– The feeling of discomfort worsens even when just walking or doing light exercises
– The weight on the knees become unbearable
– There is the inability to bend or stiffness that is felt around the knees making it hard to stretch or straighten
– Feeling weak surrounding the leg that is affected
– Kneecaps appear red and warm
– There is reduced capability to move the legs
– A feeling that your knee starts to give out even at the slightest movements
– More unusual sounds around the knees can be heard like popping and crunching
What are the common causes of pain in the knees?
– Leg injuries that usually affects the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage which are near the knee area
– Osteoarthritis or arthritis
– Gout or where uric-acid or crystals that contain calcium which forms on the joints especially near the knees
– Poor body form which compromises movement or muscular deformities
– Overusing or overexerting the legs which can slowly damage the kneecaps after an extended period
– When a person reaches old age
Natural treatments for preventing and relieving knee pain
When you are being diagnosed with knee pain, the doctor or specialist would usually let you undergo a physical examination. This would allow them to monitor your body movement and coordination, particularly with your legs.
There are conventional treatments available especially for chronic knee pains or the ones with pain that at a longer time. However, if the knee pain is mild or acute, you can turn to natural methods to prevent or lessen the pain around the knees. Below are seven natural treatments for pain relief:
- Doing proper exercises and giving time to rest
For athletes, knowing how much your body can take should be important. Even though exercises can maintain healthy knees, overusing it during sports can eventually lead to injuries.
While this is also relevant, doing low-impact exercises can also lessen the pain surrounding the affected area. Some low-impact activities include:
At the same time, if you’re experiencing knee pains, try avoiding high-intensity sports and give yourself time to rest and heal. Sports like skiing, running, intense biking, jumping should be avoided for a while.
- Hot or cold compress or placing ice on the affected knee
Putting ice or cold compress on the knees can ease the pain and discomfort that is felt around the knees. In the same way, applying heat on your knees can also soothe the pain and improve the blood flow.
- Eating foods that reduces the chances of inflammation
One of the causes of knee pains is inflammation around the joints. This is usually where problems like arthritis and osteoarthritis come in. The cause of the inflammation may also come from the food we eat.
That’s why as athletes, eating proper and healthy meals are important especially when it’s full of nutrients. Foods that can lower the risks of getting joint problems include:
o Rich in omega-3 fatty acids from fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, and mackerel. You can also get some in eggs and dairy products
o Green and leafy vegetables especially those high in vitamin C and antioxidants to prevent inflammation like broccoli, cabbage, and asparagus
o Good source of healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, seeds and nuts
In the same way, taking supplements that contain the necessary nutrition to prevent inflammation is also recommended.
- Make sure to do stretches and warm-ups before starting a workout
Knee injuries can also be caused when a person does not stretch or warm-up before exercising. For athletes who are already experiencing knee pains, doing stretches and warm-ups that include the quadriceps, lower back, hips, and hamstring can strengthen and support the knees.
- Putting wraps on your knees
Doing this can help provide additional support for your knees especially if you are having trouble doing normal activities like walking or bending the knees to sit or squat. At the same time, it also lessens the discomfort and pain felt around the affected area. Some examples can be elastic bandages, sleeves or patellar straps to lessen the pain.
- Maintain a healthy and ideal weight
When there is excess weight on the upper body, it causes too much pressure on the knees when trying to support the weight. Make sure that you maintain a weight that is ideal for your body shape and height to lessen pressure on the knees.
- Buy a foam roller and use as therapy for knee pain
Many athletes have attested to the positive effects it brings to their knees when using foam rollers. Foam rollers are great for loosening stiff joints and ease the tension around affected areas. You can purchase foam rollers in sports stores or get yourself some highly recommended ones online.
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