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How Seniors Can Best Keep Knee Pain Under Control

African-American senior experiencing knee pain

If you lived an active life in your younger years, it’s not uncommon to have knee pain as you get older. Seniors with knee pain understand the years of wear and tear on the knees and joints can take a heavy toll. When mobility and flexibility become more challenging, it’s time to find a solution. 

Osteoarthritis, injury, excess body weight and lack of muscle strength or flexibility can all cause or contribute to knee problems for seniors. While many of these ailments are common, there isn’t always an easy solution. If you’re wondering how to take care of your knees as you age, there are ways to work your leg muscles to minimize knee and joint pain without surgery or medication. 

Before starting any new exercise program, it’s always best to meet with your physician to discuss your symptoms. In some instances, surgery is an essential option and should be considered. If cleared by your doctor to start working out, below are some helpful tips for how to take care of your knees: 

  • Strengthen your leg muscles – Focus on exercises that target your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and gluteal muscles to help strengthen your upper and lower leg. 
  • Work toward a healthier weight – Losing weight is one of the best ways to mitigate knee pain and help you live an overall healthier lifestyle. Even just a few pounds can make a major difference. 
  • Start with low-impact options – When starting an exercise routine as a senior, choose low-impact exercises. Select cardiovascular exercises like cycling or swimming that reduce strain on your knees to prevent any additional damage. 
  • Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day – Staying active can help reduce knee stiffness and help encourage weight loss. Be sure to stretch before any workout to help prevent future injuries. 
  • Change up your routine Repetitive movements can put unnecessary pressure on your leg muscles and knee cartilage. When it comes to how to take care of your knees, keep trying new low-impact workouts. 

The Role of Physical Therapy in Managing Knee Pain 

If medication and surgery are not recommended for you, your doctor might recommend physical therapy. Physical therapy is an excellent way for you to restore your range of motion, strengthen your leg muscles and stay active. Through physical therapy and targeted exercises, you can keep your knee pain in check and regain your independence. 

Since physical therapy is completely individualized, your first step will be a thorough assessment by a trained physical therapist. After evaluating your entire leg, hip and foot, they can suggest the right combination of exercises and modalities to help minimize knee pain and improve your leg muscle strength. 

Some other key benefits to using physical therapy to take care of your knees: 

  • It lessens the need for medication.
  • It lowers the risk of surgery.
  • It provides improved mobility and balance.
  • It can help reduce future pain.

Goal-Driven Senior Rehabilitation at Walnut Place

If you’re not sure how to take care of your knees as you age, physical therapy and rehabilitation might be a good option. At Walnut Place, we offer comprehensive senior rehabilitation services to help individuals recover quickly. We have an entire floor dedicated to comprehensive short-term senior rehabilitative care, with facilities including a therapy gym, and the support of nurses, therapists, and social workers — all under the direction of a physician. We invite you to learn more about the comprehensive services available at Walnut Place. Learn more about senior rehabilitation and our senior living community when you contact us today.