Knee pain is a difficult thing to handle, especially for aged people. In Western countries, about 1 in every 3 persons above the age of 45 suffers from some kind of knee ailments, either caused due to accidents or diseases. Longevity Live Paid Content.
If either of your parents has recently injured their knee somehow, you need to take as much care of them as possible.
This article will help you to understand the different ways in which you can aid your parents in coping with their knee pain.
Tell them to take things easy
Before going into any difficult exercises or fancy equipment, your parents must understand that their knees require rest.
If they start walking briskly right after their knee injury, it will only worsen things.
As their child, you should ask your parents to take things easy and to warm up. As with anything else, a good warm-up session will help your mom or dad prepare for other exercise forms.
If they have been on a long rest after the injury and still haven’t started walking or are not used to walking, then there are many different light exercises that they can perform to get accustomed.
For example, you can ask them to walk for shorter durations or at a slower pace inside the house. Guide them throughout the process and ensure you’re always standing or walking next to them.
However, some parents might assume they are fine and try to push themselves harder to prove their strength.
It’s your responsibility to communicate clearly and make them understand the gravity of their situation.
Take them to the doctor
Another important thing to remember is to take your parents to the doctor immediately when they complain about their knee injury.
Even if the injury seems mild to you, many underlying ailments might occur. And a licensed orthopaedic doctor will be able to diagnose the injury carefully and let you know what steps will be required to relieve the pain.
Moreover, knee pain can also be caused due to arthritis, so remember to take your parents to the doctor so that they can eliminate all other symptoms and understand the exact reason behind the knee pain.
Buy them special footwear
Elderly people who suffer from knee pain require special footwear to be able to walk on a variety of surfaces.
Never choose heavy shoes with high heels or pointed toes, as they’ll cause pressure on your parent’s knees. Instead, go for soft flats or special orthopaedic footwear with foam soles and a wide-toe opening.
Orthopaedic footwear is designed to help people with foot and knee problems.
Even if your parents have severe gait problems due to their knee injury, these shoes will correct their knee and foot alignment to help them walk properly.
You can find these shoes in almost any shoe store, and they’re pretty affordable, so ensure that you buy a doctor-approved pair.
Get them knee braces
Knee braces are another piece of equipment that can greatly help in pain relief. They are made of metal, foam, plastic, and elastic straps.
Functional knee braces can support the knees for healing after a prior injury. On the other hand, rehabilitative braces are meant to be worn right after a knee injury.
Depending on the condition of your parent’s knees, your doctor will prescribe a specific type of brace.
You can find some of the best knee braces for your parents on Medi Brace, where there are different types for each kind of condition.
You’ll find braces for patellofemoral pain syndrome, patellar tendonitis, osteoarthritis, and a host of other ailments.
Choose the surface where they’ll walk
While you can’t actually stop your parents from walking on the road or any other hard surface, you can minimize it by asking them to walk on softer surfaces.
For example, if your house has a concrete area, it’s time to put a carpet on it or change the surface to something more elderly-friendly.
Materials like sand, dirt, or grass are much better for people suffering from knee injuries.
Even if you can’t change the surface they’re walking on, such as the road outside, you can always try to help them feel more at ease by focusing on surfaces that have a lesser impact on the knees.
Walking in the pool is also a good idea since the deeper the pool, the less pressure there will be on the knees.
If you cannot assist them, make sure someone else is there to look after their gait.
Improve their meals
Another extremely crucial step is paying attention to your parent’s diet. While a proper diet can make your parents feel physically and mentally stronger, an unhealthy one can cause a lot of problems.
As your parents age, their dietary requirements will also keep changing, especially if they’ve somehow injured their knees.
For example, when they’re elderly, their bone mass reduces, which is why a diet rich in proteins and vitamins is essential.
Food items that are rich in vitamin D and calcium, such as milk, tuna fish, salmon, cod liver oil, and bread, must be a part of their diet.
Unfortunately, most parents like to stick to their diet even after growing old, which can worsen knee pain. Encourage them to consume green leafy vegetables, grapes, and berries.
Use the RICE technique
The RICE technique stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. For minor knee injuries in elderly people, this technique can be useful.
Give your parents the rest they need and ensure they’re comfortable while resting. After that, apply an ice pack or a cooling gel on the injured area to prevent further inflammation and pain.
For the compression part, you can wrap an elastic bandage around the sore area so that your parents don’t accidentally bump it or encounter any more pain.
Finally, the elevation technique is to keep the leg, especially the knee, propped up on a comfortable surface to stimulate blood flow.
You can even massage the area around their knees to provide even more relief.
Experiment with temperatures
Using a mixture of hot and cold temperatures can help to ease the knees. After the injury, you should apply a cold compress on your parent’s knees for the first 2 or 3 days. Following that, keep pressing the pack lightly to numb the pain.
After that, give them a warm water bath or apply a heating pad on the injured area to keep the knees working. Do this about 3 or 4 times a day.
You can also speak to your doctor to discuss this one about how frequently you can do it. Unless your parents get a word from an expert, they might give up on this as it gets repetitive and boring.
Over to you…
While mild knee injuries can be easily treated at home, severe ones require the supervision of a doctor. So, consult your healthcare physician for more details before trying out anything new.