Stretching should be part of a program to beat knee pain! Stretching is useless! Take glucosamine for proven relief! Glucosamine is a placebo! Ice your knees to subdue inflammation! Inflammation is good; it’s a necessary part of the healing process! Strengthen your quads! Don’t worry about strengthening your quads!
Then you have the many unorthodox methods for overcoming knee pain, from acupuncture to squeezing an inflatable ball between your knees while sitting. And, even when a piece of advice seems to be consistent across practically all web sites (you need to move!), there’s much disagreement on how to interpret this in practice (what kind of movement? how much?)
So, considering the welter of conflicting, confusing signals about how to treat your bad knees, when there’s a bit of simple advice that’s easy to interpret that everyone agrees upon, shouldn’t we sit up and take special notice?
I would certainly think so.
At this point, I hope I’ve piqued your curiosity. The idea behind the buildup of suspense is to engage you the reader in really thinking about, “What can this be? And why doesn’t everyone do it?”
Because, once I draw back the curtain, you’ll probably react with a deflated, “Oh, he means that.”
So here goes.
100 percent of everyone out there agrees, for relief from knee pain ...
Okay. I’m imagining the hue and cry already. Some of you are probably protesting: But I’m not overweight! Doesn’t apply to me!
My guess, however, is that it does. As I’ve said before, I think more than 90 percent of knee pain sufferers (and maybe more than 99 percent) could benefit from losing at least a little weight. I was skinny when I battled knee pain. Still, I forced myself to shed about three pounds. And I think it helped.
Knees are extraordinary in many ways, but one of the most remarkable has to be how knee cartilage has evolved so many mechanisms for surviving and thriving based on mechanical feedback, i.e., based on forces and pressures exerted on it. And that’s going to be influenced by how much you weigh. That’s not a conjecture on my part. That’s simple physics.
Here’s a quote I recently came across from orthopedic surgeon Ronan Banim that starkly (and effectively) summarizes the problem:
In clinics we are seeing knees that are literally being crushed by excess weight.How's that for graphic imagery?
Next week, it’s time for the evidence. I’ll provide a roundup that further illustrates why losing weight = a smart way to start addressing that knee pain that’s been bothering you for so long.