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Avoid Knee Pain this Winter

Wednesday, Dec 14, 2016
Avoid Knee Pain This Winter

Winter sports are fun, but can take a toll on your knees. Follow these tips to keep knees healthy and pain-free.

Sledding, skiing, snowshoeing . . . they're all fun, but as we get older winter sports activities can cause pain in aging knees. Much of it is caused by arthritis, which is inflammation of one or more of your joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the knees.

Osteoarthritis most often occurs in people age 50 and over due to the wear and tear of daily living and physical activity. Pain, swelling, and stiffness are the main symptoms of arthritis. Any joint in the body can be affected by osteoarthritis, but it is particularly common in the knees.

These tips for maintaining strong, healthy knees can help you survive winter sports and be ready for more action in the spring — and throughout the year.

Maintain a healthy weight

The more overweight you are, the more pressure you put on your joints. Every extra pound exerts four pounds of pressure on your knees. So, to your knees, being 10 pounds overweight is like carrying 40 extra pounds. Joints like your knees support much of your body weight. A healthy weight decreases pressure on your joints and decreases the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the first place.

Stay active

Exercise and being physically fit not only help you maintain a healthy weight, they're also good for the joints. If you already have achy knees, try activities that are gentle on your joints, like swimming in a nice warm indoor pool during the winter months. Gentle yoga, walking and floor exercises can also be joint-friendly activities to help keep your knees in shape for the occasional intense activity like skiing.

Exercise also builds muscles around the knees, like the quadriceps and hamstrings, to help the joint function properly. Unused muscles stiffen more easily than muscles that move.

Remember to stretch or warm up before exercising to prevent injury, and also stretch or cool down post-exercise.

Ice, ice, baby

Try icing your knees for 15 minutes after exercise or activities if you tend to get sore. Icing your joints can help reduce swelling.

Don't overdo it

Certain exercises or activities might be a bit much for your joints to handle at first, especially if you haven't been active for a while. Take it slow to prevent injury and pain. You shouldn't feel serious pain after exercise or recreational activity.

Professional athletes train for their sports. Think twice before hitting the slopes if you've been hitting the couch instead of the gym.

Find an Orthopedic Specialist Near You

About Doylestown Health's Orthopedic Institute

For joint repair and replacement, spine and hand surgery, sports medicine and osteoporosis care, you’ll find Doylestown Health’s Orthopedic Institute is the perfect fit. With same and next day appointments available, our board-certified and fellowship-trained physicians treat all types of bone and muscle conditions. And for eligible joint replacement patients, our rapid recovery program helps patients return to the activities they love – faster.

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