If you have had it, you know how much knee pain can affect and slow down your life and daily activities. It is fundamentally important to change your habits when undergoing recovery from any knee injury. If you feel like your pain is intensifying, then you must act accordingly.

Legs of a woman standing on a weight scale, selective focus

Make sure you are not hurting yourself

If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis or any other cause of knee pain, then your previous runs may need to be adjusted to make sure you are not hurting yourself. If you could run 10 km before, it may be time to trim it down a couple of kilometers. Running on hard surfaces puts stress on the knees, you might be tolerant to pain however it may be the right time to start looking towards alternative ways of exercising. If it’s too hard to give up your favorite form of exercise, at least try running on a more forgiving surface, such as softer trails or tracks instead of cement and pavements.

You are taking it too easy

If your doctor recommends rest this doesn’t mean you need to lay on the couch watching your favourite TV shows all day. Rest is important to recover from a knee injury, however you could always try low-impact exercises that do not put that much strain on your knees. A couple of examples would be cycling and swimming that are great for fitness and your knees. Although cycling may seem like an unlikely suggestion, the steady position of your foot and lack of lateral motion can make it a safe alternative to jogging.

Yoga also helps with flexibility and is a slow paced activity which can help with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, where stiffness improves with activity. As a bonus, exercise releases endorphins that can help lower your pain levels. Proper form matters as you don’t want to make an injury worse. Contact a physical therapist that can help create a program to build and support your muscles and knees as well as guide you through the correct way of carrying out certain exercises to reduce the strain on your knees.

You are carrying too much weight

Obesity is a key factor in many cases of knee pain as every additional kilogram adds strain to your knees. Being overweight is a risk factor for developing osteoarthritis and other similar conditions. You might think 1-2 kilograms is not a lot for your knees, but think of lifting a 500 gram weight with your arm, its not tough but try repeating it during every step you take in a days time! It certainly adds up and can become unbearable at times. Fortunately, losing weight can also slow down the progression of arthritis once you have it. The concept is simple: Less weight on your joints equals less damage and less pain. It’s one more reason not to stay stagnant.

You are wearing the wrong gear

Are you wearing flip-flops to walk around the neighborhood? If you have knee pain, it’s probably not a good idea. You need shoes with the proper support for your foot and an even distribution of weight down on the ground. Just as a good pair of athletic shoes is ideal for your jog, a pair of work shoes with anatomic features will relieve you during the day. The same goes for knee braces, don’t rely on a generic drugstore brace to support your knee for too long. It is like putting a bandage on a major wound. If you have significant and recurring pain, ask a doctor if it’s worth getting fitted for a load-bearing brace. These specialized braces are more expensive than the store-bought ones, but they also work much better when needed. Typically, a trained orthotic – often a physical therapist – will fit them to your knee and your specific needs.

You haven’t adapted to your environment

For people who can’t be quite as active or who have especially severe pain, a few simple steps at home can go a long way toward relieving the causes of pain. Adaptive tools help. Toilet-seat heighteners and bed rails make it easier to get up and down without straining yourself. A cane fitted to your body will allow you to stay mobile while taking the strain off your knees. There is no one tip that will apply to everyone, since knee pain varies by severity and cause. But the basic idea is universal: To ease your pain, do as much as you can to avoid or reduce what’s causing it in the first place.