Avoiding Knee Problems
Knee pain can come from different sources and is often detected in different parts of the joint. A common knee problem is patellar tendonitis, or inflammation of the tendon that connects to the kneecap (patella). Patellar tendonitis is felt as pain in the front of the joint, just below the kneecap. It can occur because of overtraining and usually is confined to one knee.
You can tell if you have tendonitis if you have less pain in the affected area once you warm up and get into your exercise. Treatment for tendonitis is usually relatively simple: rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medicine.
Bad biomechanics can also contribute to knee pain. A person with flat feet, for example, is more likely to have knee pain without some measure to correct the gait. The foot has a natural cushioning action, an inward roll called pronation. People with flat feet overpronate, so when they run, each step wrenches the knee. Orthotics can quickly and easily correct this problem and eliminate knee pain that results from it. Orthotics can also correct problems with arches that are too high.
For cyclists, knee pain can result from improper seat adjustment. Usually the seat is too low or too far forward.
A good strategy in preventing knee pain is to be sure you have strong quadriceps and hamstrings, the muscles that help support the knee.
Many athletes have found that taking supplements of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are helpful in alleviating knee pain. Both substances are found naturally in the body. Some experts believe glucosamine plays a role in cartilage formation and that chondroitin sulfate helps give cartilage elasticity. Some knee pain results from a degradation of the cartilage in the knee, and there is anecdotal evidence that glucosamine-chondroitin supplements help in this area.