Physical work is no joke, and it takes a toll on your body. Climbing up and down ladders. Lifting heavy items when loading or unloading the truck. Scrambling through a crawlspace. Crouching and bending for hours on end as you hook up pipes, cables and wires. Depending on your occupation, these are all things you may do daily.
That type of work can lead to a lot of joint pain, especially in your knees. A knee joint is one of the most overworked and fragile parts of your body, and it's also essential to almost every movement you make.
With that in mind, here are six ways you may be making everything worse:
- You weigh too much. If your doctor tells you to lose weight, it's not just so that you feel more confident by the pool in the summer. It's because a single pound of extra weight adds a full five pounds of force that you feel in your knees. If you're just 10 pounds overweight, you're adding 50 pounds of force and doing real damage.
- You hope the pain goes away on its own and you ignore it. You write it off as getting older or a slight injury that will heal. The reality is that ignoring the injury can often make it worse or prevent healing. You need to see a doctor.
- You don't let it rest and do the rehab that your doctor tells you to do. Maybe he or she told you to stretch every morning. You did it for a week but now you never do it. You're putting yourself at serious risk.
- You work too hard. A lot of injuries happen because people are rushing or working extra hard to get more done. Maybe you carry something that is too heavy because you don't want to make two trips, for instance. Overworking your knee can put you out of work.
- You don't do proper strength training. Making your legs and joints stronger with consistent training helps lower the risk of a serious injury, like an ACL tear.
- You do not stretch. Maybe you have never thought of yourself as a flexible person, and you've given up. In reality, you should be more dedicated to stretching if you're not naturally flexible. You need to work on your knees so that they can do more without reaching a breaking point.
Keeping these points in mind can help you avoid injuries and lower risks, but nothing guarantees you will not get hurt. Work does take a toll and you work hard for your living. If you get injured on the job, be sure you know how to supplement that living with workers' compensation.