How To Manage Knee Pain While You Walk
We’ve established that walking reduces knee pain. But now the important question is, how can you reduce knee pain while walking?
Here are some of the most crucial tips to help you.
#1. The right shoes
Ease into walking by first investing in a pair of super-comfortable, sturdy shoes – shoes that “cushion” and absorb the impact on your knees as you walk and support your knees. That means a low heel-to-toe drop and a good heel.
Your shoes should basically be flat, flexible, and preferably light. Also, go for shoes that offer wider toe room – such shoes are the most comfortable.
Your heel should ideally be 0.75 inches or less. Sensitive or painful knees can be easily triggered with a slightly higher heel. Even if your heel is 1.5 inches higher, it can raise pressure on two of the most commonly painful parts damaged by knee osteoarthritis.
Never ever go for a walk in pointy toes, high heels, or heavy shoes.
#2. Use Inserts
Arch supports are not recommended when you have sensitive knees. In fact, you should avoid wearing shoes that offer high arch support. When going for a walk, it is best that your shoes allow your feet to flex and move as naturally as possible.
If you’re used to using arch supports and find them helpful, then simply use those available over the counter.
#3. Warming up
Whenever you go for a workout, even if it’s just a walk, always begin with a warm-up. And when you have knee issues, that means you start by applying heat to your knees or just go for a walk after taking a warm bath or shower.
All doctors and wellness coaches recommend taking baby steps when you want to reach your exercise goals. That means going on a comfortable, easy pace especially when you have sensitive or stiff knees. Get your joint fluid moving with slow steps for a few minutes. You can gradually pick up pace after that.
#4. Try to walk 6000 steps a day
It’s best to begin a walking program with a goal and the goal should be to reach 6000 steps a day. You can use a phone app to keep count of your steps.
Begin by walking only as much as you easily can, without pushing yourself too much. Now the reason why you are aiming for this particular number of steps is based on a study conducted on people suffering from osteoarthritis knee pain. The researchers found that their patients experienced an improvement in knee functions and pain issues when they walked at least 6000 steps a day.
This amount of walking gently massages your knees with internal joint fluid and may also help lose some excess weight.
Try to reach a step count of 6000 a day, then eventually increase it further if you want to. But be careful not to strain your knees.
#5. Increase your walking time slowly
If you find step count challenging, you can choose to walk for a certain amount of time. And you don’t have to walk for that time at a stretch. Just break your walk into segments of 10 minutes each, then take a break and do another 10 minutes. The idea is to start walking at a pace you can keep up with so that you can make it part of your daily routine.
As you gradually build your pace, you can incorporate 10 minutes of brisk walking in between. Or walk briskly for the amount of time you find challenging.
#6. Walk when your knees are at their best
When you’re just getting started at building a walking routine, it is best to walk at the time of the day your knees hurt the least.
That means you should avoid the morning time or right after you wake up if that’s when your knees are most painful. Instead, push yourself to get up and walk about in the house for a minute or two, every half hour. This will prepare your knees for longer walks and make it easier for you to commit to them.
#7. Keep moving throughout the day
This tip is the most useful in keeping your joints lubricated, especially as you age and if you have a sedentary lifestyle. Just get up and stretch or move about your room every 15 -20 minutes.
If you get active for even just a minute, you can vastly lower the health risks associated with sitting for long periods of time and you will be nourishing your knees with joint fluid.
#8. Use a walking aid if needed
If you are suffering from too much knee pain or experience stiffness to the point of having difficulty maintaining stability, you may want to use a suitable walking aid. Some people find canes or trekking poles help lower joint pain while walking.