The Three (Not So Secret) Benefits of Exercise for Knee Pain

Couple Exercising

Many people suffering from knee pain probably think that exercise will make their pain worse. However, research shows that regular exercise can improve a knee's function and actually reduce pain. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle can be bad for your joints and result in increased pain over time. Whether you’re dealing with ligament tears or degeneration, arthritis, or age-related aches and pains, exercise can benefit your knees. Here are three ways exercise benefits your knee:

 

Reduced Bodyweight

Research suggests that weight loss results in less knee pain. So it stands to reason that an exercise regimen combined with a healthy diet can have a profound benefit on those suffering from chronic knee pain. By losing excess body weight, you take the pressure off of damaged or inflamed knee joints. You also reduce the friction between the end of the thigh bone and top of the shin bone, where cartilage might be damaged or worn away. Losing weight also puts less strain on the knee’s soft tissues, including ligaments and tendons. Many patients can even put off the need for invasive orthopedic knee replacement surgeries by simply losing weight.

 

The Release of Synovial Fluid

Synovial fluid is stored in the cartilage and carries nutrients that can reduce inflammation and have a healing effect on the joint. It also acts as a natural lubricant, reducing friction in the joint and even absorbing shock to protect the joint. Now, guess how it's released into the joint -- that's right, through usage. When you use your joint, the synovial fluid is squeezed out of the cartilage like water from a sponge. The more you exercise, the more your knee is lubricated, protected and healed with this amazing fluid that your body produces naturally.

 

Increased Flexibility and Range of Motion

Stretching is so important to maintaining a healthy body. Even those that aren't suffering from knee pain should gently stretch on a daily basis -- especially before a workout. Exercises like those found in yoga and tai chi can improve your knee's range of motion, lower joint stiffness and strengthen the surrounding muscles. This can result in increased function, less pain and noticeable improvements in basic movements.

 

Regardless of what exercise you do, the secret to sustaining an active lifestyle is to find activities you genuinely enjoy and can be done on a consistent basis. As always, you will want to consult with your doctor be settling on an exercise routine -- but don’t wait! The knee pain and stiffness you feel today might be a thing of the past thanks to the benefits of regular exercise.

Author
Dr. Orlando Landrum

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