I’m Over 50 - Is Knee Pain Normal?

If you’re over 50 and your knees hurt, is that normal? “Normal” may not be the best descriptor, but it certainly isn’t unusual. There are several reasons that people over the age of 50 are increasingly experiencing knee pain, and many of those reasons are things you can control.

A study in 2011 found that about 60% of women over the age of 50 in the UK had knee pain that they described as persistent, intermittent, or incident. Clearly, aging plays a role in this widespread knee pain.

With every step, your knees absorb some shock. The force of each step puts anywhere from one and half times your body weight up to three times your body weight on your knee joints. It’s no surprise that knees wear out!

However, you aren’t necessarily doomed to a life of pain or limited mobility. There are some things you can do to protect your knees and to lessen any pain you may already be experiencing.

Maintain a healthy weight

One of the best ways to protect your knees is to ease the burden they carry. If you’re overweight, losing any extra pounds lowers the stress on your knees. Losing weight isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort if it means living with less pain as you age.

There are all kinds of weight loss programs available, but eating appropriate portions of healthy foods and exercising are the two most important aspects of weight loss. Aim to increase the amounts of healthy vegetables, fruits, and lean protein in your diet; limit processed foods and sugar, and work toward including healthy fats.

If you’re struggling with weight loss, talk to Dr. Nelson. We may be able to suggest a supplement or IV therapy that can help.

Get moving

After losing any excess weight, the second most important thing you can do for your knees is to get stronger. Your muscle strength peaks sometime in your 20s, so you aren’t going to be able to be stronger than ever after the age of 50. You can, however, strengthen your muscles, which provides more support to your knee joint.

As you probably already know, walking is one of the best exercises you can do. It’s good for your cardiovascular system, it’s convenient because it doesn’t require special equipment, and it isn’t complicated. It also happens to be one of the best ways to improve the joint mobility of your knees.

Another simple exercise that can help strengthen the muscles that support your knees is the wall sit. Stand with your back against a wall, then lower your body as if you were sitting in a chair. Hold yourself there for as long as you can.

The lower you go, the more difficult the exercise, which means you can modify it on days your knees are especially painful or make it more difficult as you get stronger.

There are many additional strengthening exercises that can improve your knee pain. Dr. Nelson suggests those that are best for you based on your specific situation.

Increase your flexibility

Along with being strong, the structures that support your knees need to be flexible. When your muscles and ligaments are stretchy, like rubber bands, they are less likely to tear.

Add simple stretches to your daily routine, and protect your knees.

Get screened for arthritis

The most common cause for knee pain among older adults is osteoarthritis. Affecting more than 30 million American adults, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are effective strategies to control your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.

If you’d like to learn more about your knee pain, book an appointment at Root Medical Center. Our online scheduling tool is easy to use, or you’re welcome to give us a call. Our staff wants to help you live an active life with as little pain as possible.

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