I was recently fortunate to take part in and successfully complete the National Three Peaks Challenge. If you've not heard of it, the challenge is to climb the UK's three highest peaks (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) in under 24 hours. It's a tough physical challenge on the legs and especially the knees.
As an Osteopath I see a lot of patients with low back pain and a whole range of other spine and joint complaints. Having spent 15 years working in the fitness industry and with an interest in fitness, I am always keen to see patients with sports or training related injuries. The Three Peaks Challenge really takes it out of your knees and in preparation for this I embarked on a series of strength and conditioning exercises. For those of us with painful creaky knees it is important to know that thigh (Quadriceps) strength is important for knee health.
Whether walking or running, strong quadriceps help stabilise the knees while strong hips, gluteals and core muscle strength help support and stabilise your hips from dropping and causing your knees to cave inwards. My patients with knee pain receive a directed set of exercises to help recover strength and improve function. All the exercises can be done at home without expensive equipment.
With sore knees it's often natural to 'take to your chair' for pain avoidance. The risk with this strategy is that the supportive chain of muscle eventually becomes weaker and inevitably leads to further knee instability and pain. Recovering from knee pain may feel like you have a mountain to climb, but with exercise and determination you can soon be back in your stride.