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Exercising and Knee Pain

The following advise was given by an experienced personnel called Ben who have been working for many years in a store specialising in sales of fitness and rehabitation items. I feel it’s worth the while to include it here as this person was kind enough to offer me this advise free of charge even though he knew that I would not be buying from him:

If you have knee pain/ past injury/ creaking knees, it is advisable to wear a knee guard or a good elastic knee support when performing any forms of exercise. The same goes for the shoes that you are using- you would need a real good pair of shoes when exercising. Imagine- each time you jump up- as if in running, pop dancing, jogging and most aerobic activities, when you land on the ground, your knees, hips and feet have to support your entire weight. Plus the force of momentum would add on to the pressure- therefore, the knees, feet and hips of a 50kg person would suddenly need to deal with the weight of 80kg or more as a person who jumps lands on the ground.

For those of us with knee problem like pain or loose/ creaking joints, as we do more intensive exercises, the movement may cause further loosening of the joints and more damage. That is why he said, at least wear a good knee guard for protection every time we exercise. Even though the pain may appearently go away, continue wearing a knee guard to protect the knees.

He cited an example of his friend who played basketball- his friend constantly suffered from knee pain because of the ballastic nature of the sports (lots of jumping, sprinting and landing). His friend had wanted a knee guard, Ben recommended the one that was sold in the store- costing about RM360. His friend was put off by the price and decided to buy the elastic ones from pharmacies. First he bought one for about RM40- then use for less than a year, the elastic loosen. Then he bought another for RM60- same thing happens. And then he tried the RM90- still, the band loosened after a year. Finally, he went back to Ben and wanted to give the expensive knee guard a try.

As Ben said, he was quite happy with the knee guard- he has been using it for more than 2 years and there is no sign of the elastic loosening. He said that if he does not use that knee guard, he had no confidence to play through the basketball (must be in competition).

But Ben advised, expensive or not expensive, at least get something to hold the knee together- because already if the structure is weak, we do not want to further damage it by making it moving in all directions.

He said that usually if people come in with some knee or arms complaint, he may able to recommend something. But for back pain, he usually advise people to go for physiotherapy and also get checkup done. Reason being is because there are different category of back problems-

  • a person who had a slightly dislocated joint can opt for light/ low impact exercise on the ball or rebounder, but
  • a person who had fractured the back – it would worsen the fracture if he bounces on the ball or rebounder

As such, the choice of exercise depends on the condition of the health condition of the person. Exercise is still very important because we need to get our circulation moving. If we stop exercising because of pain, our body would become more decondition, and muscle degeneration- which would eventually worsen the condition. We can opt for treatment like special massage, chiropractic to improve the condition. But after that, we need to ‘maintain’ it by regular exercise.

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