Help for sore knees?
August 15, 2021 6:34 PM   Subscribe

I'm noticing lately that a combination of bad sitting posture and my job has led to some soreness in my knees. Beyond trying to improve posture, is there anything I can do to help?

I'm in my late 30s, and noticing within the past 6 months or so that my knees are occasionally sore, especially when sitting at my computer. I've been known to have some terrible posture there. My job (on my feet a lot, and lifting frequently) doesn't help I'm sure.
Would something like glucosamine help? I've tried taking it in the past but the particular brand I took didn't agree with my stomach. I've been tentatively getting into yoga as well, and it's helping with general flexibility. I'm not a runner. I do like walking and do it when I can.
Any other things I should be looking into?
posted by cozenedindigo to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I did PT for knee issues a few years ago. There's a very common thing called patellofemoral pain syndrome that was what I had and could be what you have. One of the main signs is soreness when sitting with your knees at 90 degrees for a prolonged period -- it's called "movie theater sign" because of when it often occurs.

The basic idea is to have your muscles take more of the load off of your knees, using a combination of improved flexibility, improved strength, and better gait when walking.

Here is what they had me do:
- Hamstring flexibility exercises, a lot of toe touching and lunges
- Foam rollers for my IT bands
- Quad strength and flexibility exercises
- I have very flat feet and hyperpronate, and so I did a lot of exercises to strengthen the muscles in my feet, like three way toe taps (but without the resistance band) specifically to improve my gait.

If you too have flat feet, you may also want to see a podiatrist about custom orthotics which can make a huge difference.
posted by goingonit at 6:44 PM on August 15, 2021 [5 favorites]

I found that riding a single speed bike corrected most of the knee issues I was suffering. I was a big time walker, and my knees were always sore, or swollen, or cracked like a shotgun whenever I knelt down. The rotational pedaling was low impact, smooth exercise, and seemed to alleviate most of the symptoms.

Ten years later, I still ride the bike every day to keep the knees happy, and it has the extra benefits of helping with muscle tone and weight control.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 7:54 PM on August 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

There are a number of PTs on youtube that have knee-strengthening exercises (basically strengthening all the support structures) that are not at all hard or weird, they just need to be done routinely. I learned some of them from PT after breaking my leg, and learned more to keep everything shipshape afterwards.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:58 PM on August 15, 2021

Glucosamine supplements are snake oil. Don’t bother with that.
posted by spitbull at 2:19 AM on August 16, 2021 [2 favorites]

How’s your lifting form? If you’ve never studied forms for squats and deadlifts, understanding the biomechanics is going to help you approach lifting other things in ways that are safe for your knees. The book Starting Strength is great for this, but probably more detailed than you need, I bet YouTube has resources. For starters, feet turned a bit out, not straight front to back, and knees point the same direction as toes.

More supportive shoes aren’t a bad idea, either. You don’t want them squishy, but something that’s helping you stand with good posture when you’re on your feet.
posted by momus_window at 6:59 AM on August 16, 2021

I was having pain in my knees, to the point I was ready to seek out a doctor to examine them. I then discovered that if I place my weight on my toes then standing I had knee pain, if I placed the weight on heels no pain. Talk with the trainer and my family doctor, both agreed that issue was tight quad muscles. With stretching and foam rolling the pain was revealed.
posted by tman99 at 7:19 AM on August 16, 2021

I've tried different supplements but I don't find them helping. I still have two large bottles from Amazon sitting around. (hahaha)

I tried a knee brace for a while. The wrapping sort of helped a bit, but it does get warm.

Right now my job involves sitting in a car seat for most of my shift so I tend to shift around quite a bit, get out of the vehicle once every hour if only to loosen my joints. I even set reminders to do so.
posted by kschang at 11:06 AM on August 16, 2021

I’ve been having pain inside one knee for over a year, gets worse when sitting at desk for many hours, or when I go for walks, or go down stairs. Has been quite bad. On a whim I bought a knee cushion thing which is worn between the knees when sleeping.

Much to my surprise and joy, the pain reduced by about 80% within a couple of nights of using it. It’s a bit annoying to have to use the cushion but… it’s really helped.
posted by ElasticParrot at 4:19 PM on August 16, 2021

Also did pt as described by goingonit. It helped. Only thing i would add is that i started doing at home Pilates mat workouts (on recommendation of pt). The theory of pilates is basically that when you properly align and strengthen your core, other joint systems will fall into place properly, including your hip and knee joints.
posted by you'rerightyou'rerightiknowyou'reright at 7:29 PM on August 16, 2021

The yoga will probably help, but even if it doesn't you should think about PT or sports medicine. It's also useful in my experience to run through a list of exercises like this one from Kaiser until you hit on the one(s) that are just shockingly hard to do and then do those, having identified a weakness.
posted by Lady Li at 6:38 AM on August 17, 2021

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