If you exercise, that is. Knee injuries plague athletes at a rate equal to any other activity-induced ailment, but even casual exercisers experience pain and discomfort around the femur and tibia.
Whether it's from trail running or weight-room squatting, your friends and family are going to assume your knees are jacked up.
And maybe they're right. There are a lot of reasons for this, and just as many ways to get around it. Maybe your running form favors one side, putting excessive unilateral stress on a specific joint. Maybe you have a muscular imbalance causing pelvic tilt and shortening the muscles surrounding the knee. Maybe you simply lost the genetic jackpot. I don't know, but while you're sorting out your issues, let's talk about a more immediate fix: knee sleeves. There are three key benefits to knee sleeves - and they are three benefits that will get you back on your feet before your therapy fully kicks in:
It has been proven in multiple studies that compression surrounding an inflamed joint helps to increase circulation to muscles and tendons, thus reducing pain and increasing range of motion. If you knee hurts, try this test:
Lie on your back and bend your hip and knee both to a 90-degree angle. Extend your knee as far as you can and then relax it. Did that hurt? If so, your pain is movement-based rather than load-bearing.
What this means is that your knee hurts when the joint moves, not when weight is placed on it. In both cases, compression will help, but the compression benefit of knee sleeves tends to help movement-based pain the most.
Before you go to bed tonight, bend over and touch your toes. As soon as your feet hit the ground when you wake up tomorrow, touch your toes again. Which time was easier?
Assuming that your lifestyle is not entirely sedentary, it is much easier for you to bend over and touch your toes before bed. This is because the blood flow throughout your body during the day increases the warmth in your muscles, tendons, and joints, leading to more fluent movement. Knee sleeves work in the same manner.
In competitive power lifting, there are two categories in which a competitor can compete: raw without knee wraps, and raw with knee wraps. Knee wraps help lifters squat more weight by resisting flexion and aiding in extensions. In other words, as a lifter's knee bends, the wraps fight to keep the knee straight.
A http://easyfitnessdaily.com/best-knee-sleeves works in a similar fashion, but to a lesser degree. Wearing a knee sleeve will not forcibly straighten your leg, but it will aid in extension from a fully flexed position - when the knee is the most vulnerable. The knee sleeve most appropriate for you is going to depend on your type of activity. For general activity and light exercise, a thinner and more pliable sleeve will work in your favor. For heavier activity, such as weightlifting, a thicker and more rebounding sleeve will be best.
It is important to account for your activity and injury needs in determining your optimal rehabilitation program. Nothing can replace a medical diagnosis if you become injured, but a mindful athlete with the proper tools can easily stay pain-free.