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Jonathan_hodgkins's avatar

Strengthening my knees?

Asked by Jonathan_hodgkins (678points) July 10th, 2015

I have been experiencing slight irritation whenever I descend a mountain or hill recently. Any suggestions on how to determine what is happening in my knee and suggestions for ways to strengthen the knees for the road ahead?

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10 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Walking or bicycling? Different muscles.

It could be the muscles and it could be the cartilage (the buffer between the moving parts of the knee). Cartilage eventually wears out.

To deal with the pain, take ibuprofen or another NSAID.

To really learn what’s going on, go to an orthopedist and ask them to do an MRI. But that will cost you a bundle.

Pachy's avatar

As a longtime knee sufferer soon to have replacement surgery, I can second @elbanditoroso‘s advice, every word of it.

bossob's avatar

Pain on decent is a common complaint. Is the pain in front, and feels like it’s under the kneecap? Or is it on the outside of the leg, running along the joint area?

I recently had tests for knee pain. MRI and diagnosis, X-rays, and 2 orthopedist office visits ran $2500.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@bossob – mine, one knee, MRI, $1500

forestGeek's avatar

I used to get severe pain on the sides of my knees only on the downhill parts of my hikes. I did a lot of reading up on causes and cures and tried several different stretches before and during the hike, neither of which worked. A friend helped me realize that I likely wasn’t drinking enough water. I tried keeping myself hydrated throughout my hikes and that has done the trick. I now dink at least a whole Liter before I start my hike, and drink a lot the whole way. It’s very possible you have something more wrong with your knees, but maybe hydration is a solution like it was for me.

janbb's avatar

Another idea is to strengthen the knees – or rather the muscles surrounding the knees – by using machines at a gym. If you strengthen your quadriceps and calves, it should help with minimizing pain on the descents.

jerv's avatar

As one who has hyperextended a knee in the past, I find that strengthening the muscles around the knee helps a lot. In fact, given the way I injured myself, the fact that I had strong legs from all those years of mountain biking is probably why I still even have any ligaments left there at all.

Coloma's avatar

I’d use wraps/ braces for extra support, while working towards strengthening the muscles.
Be careful though as now they are adding new warnings for NSAIDs for increased risk of heart attack and stroke. I have been taking Advil like candy lately for a bad foot and hoping I don’t keel over. haha

This site seems informative

2davidc8's avatar

I second what has been said above about hydration and strengthening the muscles.
Also, I’ve not tried this myself, but a guy I know at the gym swears by Glucosamine/Chondroitin tablets. You can find these wherever vitamins/minerals/supplements are sold.
Finally, if you are talking about hiking, why not use hiking poles? Find a video that shows the proper way to use them (surprisingly, it’s not the way most people think). That should lighten the weight on your knees. Along this same vein, it helps to lose some weight. I lost 15 pounds and that helped a lot.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Try some different shoes before anything else. I had a knee scope several years back for ACL issues and if I don’t use it my left knee starts to “go bad.” Honestly, taking up backpacking got it back to 100%. I also bicycle frequently. If I slack it starts to revert back to being a bum knee. Conclusion: I have to keep it strong or it does not work right.

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