There is a principle that is adopted by athletes who make it to the professional realm. This truth is ingrained into their early training. It is something that helps them achieve a high level of physical intensity, conditioning, and confidence. The principle goes something like this.
The sign of a true athlete is the ability to work in, and around, injury and pain!
This does not mean that people who enjoy exercise should ignore what their bodies are telling them. It also does not mean that things like knee pain have to be an unmanageable fact of life and getting older. The major benefit of this athletic principle, is that is comes in very handy when dealing with pain as we age. In fact, this is an all-ages mantra.
The last thing a person should do is react to pain with complete inactivity. The fear of pain should never be the deciding factor regarding how a person approaches life. It is true for world class athletes, and it is true for older individuals learning to balance joint pain with a love for exercise.
Pain Does Happen
There are many factors that contribute to joint degradation over a person’s lifetime. Poor nutrition and chronic sicknesses can manifest as bone problems. Some people may have genetic propensities that result in predictable pain.
The vast majority of older people experience joint pain because of how they treat their bodies earlier in life. It is an unfortunate irony that things like arthritis and knee pain can arise from favorite activities. Joyfully taking part in certain sports and activities wears the body in many ways. Movements associated with certain sports and physical exertion must be adjusted as the body ages. Here are some examples.
- Switching from running to power walking because of hip and back mobility issues.
- Trading hiking boots for swim trunks to combat an onset of arthritis.
- Quad isolation instead of deep and heavy squats in the gym.
We understand that changing your approach to exercise because of natural body decay is difficult. It can trigger thoughts of being non-vital, or a signal to stop exercise altogether.
Fortunately, a love of exercise can continue at any age. It may require help from a clinical expert, or incorporating joint-specific therapies. Together with a solid plan for post-treatment recovery, older individuals can experience effective body renewal.
Remember the mantra mentioned earlier? With help, it’s possible to be active at any age. When it comes to pain associated with joints and bones, specialized care may be needed.
Effective Ways to Exercise with Knee Pain
Knee pain is typically caused by the slow decay of soft tissue cushioning in the knee joint. Knees are extremely complex, and they take the blunt force of most athletic activity. When knees decay, it can cause any number of problems. These include:
- Bone fragmentation and sheering
- Ligament tearing and detachment
- Meniscus sliding and crushing
- Bursitis and arthritic deposits
By far, ligament tears and osteoarthritis are the most common causes of knee pain in active older adults. While athletic conditioning throughout life can provide muscular and soft tissue support that minimizes this pain, sometimes it doesn’t. Most people are not conditioned like elite athletes. When pain occurs, especially later in life, exercise adjustments are necessary. Decreasing ranges of motion in joints, changing workloads, changing terrains, wearing support braces, and incorporating therapeutic movements may all help.
In the past, surgery was a primary option if people wanted to pursue an active lifestyle when suffering from joint pain. Instead of electing for surgery, many people just gave up their favorite athletic activities. For many the thought of surgical invasiveness and months of rehabilitation was frightening.
Medical advancements now make it possible to restore knee function, without having to undergo invasive surgeries. Now a series of simple injections with cushioning and lubricating gel can replace natural cushioning. Because this treatment is minimally invasive, it is ideal for older individuals. This cushioning gel is called Hyaluronic Acid, is FDA-approved, and has helped thousands of older people stay physically active and enjoy a satisfying lifestyle.
If you suffer from knee pain contact us and see how our specialists can help you adopt the athlete’s mindset to keep moving.