Although sore knees often make us feel like we don’t want to get out there and exercise, walking is a super way to maintain function and help alleviate symptoms. If your pain is due to osteoarthritis, then you shouldn’t let this stop you from enjoying the outdoors.
A regular program of walking can improve arthritis symptoms by reducing stiffness and inflammation and hence enhancing the quality of life. Walking, as part of a healthy lifestyle, not only helps with joint function but also heart health so we thought we would share a few tips for walking with sore or sensitive knees.
Is Walking With Sore Knees Appropriate?
Your knee joint is composed of bone and cartilage. The cartilage doesn’t have a blood supply and relies on joint fluid for nutrition.
Over time the quantity of this fluid can diminish but you can consider a treatment offered at The Regenerative Therapy Centre called Viscosupplementation. In this procedure, a gel-like fluid called hyaluronic acid is injected into the joint. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the synovial fluid surrounding joints. It acts as a lubricant to enable bones to move smoothly over each other and as a shock absorber for joint loads. People with osteoarthritis have a lower than normal concentration of hyaluronic acid in their joints. The theory is that adding hyaluronic acid to the arthritic joint will facilitate movement and reduce pain.
Do you find your joints are stiff in the morning or when you sit for a long time?
By moving the joints with a walk, you help them maintain their function and you may help keep them functioning longer.
Regular exercise maintains and builds muscles, which you need to support your knee and maintain functioning. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking also helps maintain bone health.
Am I Ok To Walk If My Knee Hurts?
If you have osteoarthritis which causes you mild to moderate pain in your, walking and exercise helps mobilize your joint fluid and lubricate the joints. Stiffness, pain, and fatigue should improve with exercise.
If you have moderate to severe pain in your knees before you start walking, take it easy. Do a shorter walk at an easy pace or try an activity that doesn’t place much stress on the joint. If joint pain remains severe, stop immediately as it is a sign of inflammation or joint damage that needs treatment.
If you have joint pain the day after a particularly long walk, for instance, you should take a day off and do a shorter walk or one that doesn’t stress the joint
Can I Do Anything Else To Help?
There are other things you can do to help protect sensitive knees and enable you to still get in your daily stroll. Here are a few ways to protect your knees:
- Add cycling which helps to keep your knee’s opposing muscles in shape
- 6000 steps per day: A study found that people with osteoarthritis knee pain benefit most when they walk 6000 steps or more per day
- Build your walking time
- Choose softer walking surfaces where you can
- Invest in the right shoe and consider orthotics/inserts
- Do regular stretches during the day to keep joint fluid moving
- Ditch the excess weight
- Use a cold pack after works to reduce any potential inflammation
- Buy a set of Nordic poles or trekking poles
- Choose your time – walking when the pain is low makes the walk more enjoyable and will help consistency
- Warm-up – start slow and increase pace once your joints are warm
As with all forms of exercise when you suffer from a condition such as arthritis, it would be wise to discuss your exercise option with your doctor or physio to make sure it is appropriate for you.