By Health 1+1 | Guest Post
Many people have experienced knee pain, especially older people whose knee joints are getting increasingly degenerated, which often leads to difficulties in walking. And in the worst cases, they may require artificial knee joint replacement. Some people will put on medicated patches to temporarily relieve the pain, but this may only treat the symptoms and not the root cause.
Dr. Gwo-Bin Wu, director of the Xinyitang Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic in Taiwan, has unique experience in treating joint pain. He shared with us four self-rehabilitation methods for knee joints. Dr. Wu pointed out that by doing these exercises diligently, our joints can last two decades longer. Below are the highlights of our interview with Dr. Wu.
Common Causes of Knee Pain
The most common cause of knee pain, other than accidental injury, is degenerative knee arthritis.
According to Dr. Wu’s clinical observation, if the knee pain occurs in both legs at the same time, the cause is usually attributed to a medical condition; if the pain starts in one leg and slowly extends to the other, it may be caused by a pelvic obliqueness or a femoral head dislocation.
Poor posture can cause the pelvis and femoral head to become oblique, making the knee joint on one leg to be slowly squeezed, thus resulting in pain over time. In order to reduce the pain, the other leg will unconsciously exert more force, and gradually the knee joint on the second leg will become injured.
The Key to Improving Knee Joint Pain
In fact, the treatment of knee joint pain should not be limited to the knee joint itself, but it has to take the overall structure into consideration. Thus, localized medication, acupuncture, and other treatments cannot achieve the desired effect.
Imagine someone has discomfort in one ankle, which then results in a slight limp as they walk, in order to avoid putting uncomfortable pressure on that joint. In the long run, the knee joint then becomes compressed, resulting in pain, due to force pulling on that muscle incorrectly. In this case, the ankle problem caused the knee pain, and the ankle problem needs to be addressed first, in order to resolve the root cause of the pain.
In addition, all joints like to be warm, not cold, so ice compresses are harmful to our joints. In traditional Chinese medicine the principle is that “if there is pain, it means the blood is not circulating,” so it is better to treat joint pain by improving blood circulation.
Method 1: Massaging Capsules
Press and rub the clustered nodules in the popliteal fossa.
Some people suffering from painful knees cannot even squat. And in severe cases, their joint capsules may even have water accumulation, inflammation, and swelling.
Usually in the centre of such patients’ popliteal fossa (a diamond-shaped space behind the knee), which is called Weizhong point (BL-40) in traditional Chinese medicine, there are adhesion points of tendons. When pressed, these clustered nodules will be particularly painful.
Therefore, people with knee joint pain should start self-rehabilitation from the popliteal fossa.
The method is very simple: just rub the clustered nodules at the Weizhong point to loosen them, and the degree of knee joint pressure will be reduced, and the knee joint will become more flexible. In this way, the degeneration of the knee joint can be slowed down.
Method 2: Clasp the Knee Joint
Between the femur and tibia, there is a cartilage tissue called meniscus. And in front of the medial meniscus, there is a translucent synovial membrane structure called medial plica.
If the knee joint is severely compressed, the medial plica may become inflamed, causing localized pain.
In this case, you can rub the knee medial gently. You can also use your hand to slightly clasp the knee joint and shift it gently in a massaging fashion to relax the medial plica.
Method 3: Try These 3 Simple Leg Movements
Strengthening the muscles and ligaments around the knee joint is also beneficial for healing it. The following three simple exercises can achieve the desired results:
- Foot hooking: strengthens the quadriceps
① Straighten your leg, lift it up, and hook the foot back for about 10 seconds, then put the leg down.
② Massage the knee slightly.
③ Repeat step 1 for 10 to 20 times.
- Leg pressing: loosens the clustered nodules in the popliteal fossa
① Straighten your leg, and place it on another chair with your knee in the air (no chair below your knee).
② Press the knee with both hands for 30 seconds and then release.
③ Massage the knee cap slightly and repeat step 1.
- Leg tucking: relaxes tight knee joints
When the knee joints are very tight, we can do the following to relax them:
① Tuck your leg in, press the ankle inward with your hands, and hold for 30 seconds.
② Massage the knee cap slightly and repeat step 1.
Method 4: Try These Stretches
People with knee joint pain must invigorate their tendons and bones, and stretching is an excellent way to do so. However, there are many stretching methods, which ones should we use to achieve the desired effect?
A conventional way to stretch is to straighten one leg and bend down to press the leg. However, for people with spine problems, this is actually quite uncomfortable, so Dr. Wu doesn’t recommend it.
In Dr. Wu’s opinion, the best stretching method is the “muscle stretching bench” developed by Dr. Tseng Cheung Chu, a renowned physician in Hong Kong. When using this method, the spine doesn’t bend, so it won’t get injured.
- The muscle stretching bench method:
① Lie on a bed with columns, raise one leg to put it on one column, while the other leg hangs down naturally and slightly bends inward.
② Stretch both arms backwards. (You will feel the tendons on the inside of your legs being stretched.)
③ Hold the stretching position for 10 minutes.
When finished, switch to the other leg and repeat steps 1 to 3.
If you don’t have a bed with columns, you can place two or three chairs by the door and lie flat on them. By putting one leg up on the door frame and the other leg out of the door, you can achieve the same effect.
Dr. Wu has a couple in their 70s as his patients. They often experienced soreness and pain in their lower back and had sciatica symptoms, with the pain coming down their legs. Both of them had a bit of a hunchback and very tight back muscles. After Dr. Wu taught them the muscle stretching bench method, they bought a stretching bench online and started doing it at home every day.
Gradually, not only did they feel relaxed and energized, but they also walked faster. Surprisingly, their hunchback problem also improved dramatically.
They used to come to visit Dr. Wu three times a week, but since they started stretching, the frequency of their visits gradually decreased to just once or twice weekly. Nowadays, they only need to come to the clinic once a month for a routine check-up.
Collective Spark articles are for informational purposes and are not a substitute for individualized medical advice. Please consult a trusted professional for personal medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment.
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