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Summer is over and our desire for routine has returned.  For most of us, that routine involves exercise and fitness. Unfortunately, some fitness plans are hampered by knee pain and one can fall into a vicious cycle of knee pain, leading to inactivity, resulting weight gain, which of itself causes worsening knee pain and of course, growing frustration.

 

You need to walk before you can run! Lots of people start to run as their initial form of exercise, however you should start slowly and walk before you run.  Your knees were designed for loading and motion, however if you are not conditioned, your knees can become painful. Therefore, walk first, then introduce intermittent bouts of jogging into your walks and soon you’ll find you are jogging continuously. There are a number of websites which will guide you through a graduated exercise program.

 

Ian Kelly, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Whitfield offers the following advice and sets out some tips to avoid knee pain and to enable a happy return to fitness, “I recommend you set achievable goals from now till Christmas. Having goals makes you more likely to train and ensures positive feedback, as you progressively improve. Gather a group of friends with similar fitness levels, goals and timetables as yourself – as group training is much more enjoyable and productive.”


The most common type of knee pain when you start exercise, is a deep pain in the front of the knee, typically due to overloading the kneecap or patella.  Ways to avoid this type of pain are weight loss and core and quadriceps strengthening and stretching exercises. The value of appropriate stretching exercises cannot be under-estimated.


It is also worth purchasing good socks and well fitted runners to avoid knee and foot pain, keep your training plan varied and alter your distances and routes.


Mr. Kelly continued, “Most knee problems can be avoided. If your knees become sore, consider ‘cross-training’ – which means maintaining your aerobic fitness while your knees are recovering. Swimming, pool walking, a stationary bike or a cross trainer are means of exercise that should not aggravate your knee pain. Once settled, then resume your program at a lower intensity level and most importantly, keep stretching your lower back and all your leg muscles.


Before you know it, you will be enjoying your exercise and its benefits.”


Ian Kelly is an experienced orthopaedic surgeon, based at Whitfield in Waterford. He specialises in the lower limb, especially Hip & Knee Replacement and Foot & Ankle Surgery.


If you would like to learn more about Whitfield’s orthopaedic or other services and facilities, you can visit Whitfield Clinic on www.whitfieldclinic.ie.