Aspirus Medical Monday: Spring tips for knees and hips


UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – As winter has left us and spring is bringing warm sunny days, we are all are eager to return to outdoor exercise activities. But before you start, it is important to remember that you might need some time for your body to get used to your new outdoor regimen.

Orthopedic Surgeon, Douglas Tice, MD from Aspirus Houghton Clinic has some tips on how to keep those joints healthy.

· Most injuries occur at the beginning of a sporting season because our bodies are not used to the amount and type of exercise we are doing.

· Even if you have had a previous total hip replacement or knee surgery, exercise is possible and beneficial if you take extra care and keep your movement restrictions in mind.

Here are some tips to keep your knees and hips feeling great when you move your workout outdoors:

Warm up and stretch: When venturing outdoors for that new spring workout, a proper warm-up is critical to reducing your risk of knee or hip injury. You may start with some simple stretches or jogging in place.

Tread cautiously: Pay attention to your surroundings. Be aware of variations of pavement or ground surfaces that could contribute to a fall or injury. People with joints that may be unstable from previous injuries should be extra cautious when running on uneven or unstable surfaces. Hard surfaces like roads and sidewalks will also place more strain on your knees compared to softer surfaces.

Start slowly: Ease back into your outdoor routine or you could risk an overuse injury. If you have not been very active over the winter, do not push yourself to make up for lost time or you will risk injury and set yourself back from your training goals. One of the worst things you can do is suddenly start a high-impact exercise regime.

Switch it up: Try mixing up your routine. If you like running or walking, you might try biking or strength training. A variety of exercise will help build muscles and strengthen joints, which can help reduce your chance of injury, and keep your workout more exciting.

Just get moving: Even if you have some of the common symptoms of arthritis, it is important to keep moving. Regular low-impact exercises can help relieve joint pain. Get outside and enjoy the spring season and help yourself feel better with activities such as stretching, brisk walking, gardening, or yard work. Just pace yourself.

Overall, the benefits of regular exercise outweigh the negatives. When you build flexible, strong muscles around your knees and hips, it helps to ensure your joints are well supported.

If you do experience knee or hip pain it is important to not ignore it. See an orthopedic specialist when the pain or discomfort is making your everyday activities difficult, the pain is lasting longer than a few weeks, you notice a decrease in your range of motion or are unstable when you are walking.

Ignoring knee or hip pain does not usually make it go away. If not treated in a timely and proper manner you could make the initial injury worse or cause damage which may be permanent. There are many treatments for orthopedic pain that do not involve surgery.

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