Knee Pain and Yoga; Walkers Rejoice!

A study e-published in April by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine suggests hatha yoga is superior to therapeutic exercises in reducing osteoarthritis-related walking pain.
Investigators from Ebnezar Orthopedic Center in Bangalore, India, randomized 250 outpatients with radiographic knee OA to two weeks of daily 20-minute physiotherapy sessions (transcutaneous electrical stimulation and ultrasound) plus 40 minutes of either hatha yoga or therapeutic exercises. Patients, who were recruited from an Indian orthopedic center, were aged 35 to 80 years and reported moderate to severe pain with walking before the interventions.
Both groups practiced yoga or the exercises, which involved stretching and strengthening movements for all upper and lower limb joints, in supervised daily sessions for two weeks, followed by 12 weeks of daily home practice. Investigators assessed patients’ walking pain, knee disability, range of motion, and other measures at baseline and 15 and 90 days.
Improvements in walking pain and time; range of knee flexion; joint tenderness, swelling, and crepitus (knee crunching and popping); and knee disability were significantly greater in the yoga group than the exercise group at both 15 and 90 days.   Lower Extremity Review; Emily Delzell
​As I visited with my physician, Dr. Dana Morrel, the other day while inquiring about my knee pain, she said that the latest studies show that there is not much difference between the success of meniscus surgery and physical therapy.  Her recommendation for me to was to continue with my yoga to rehabilitate the pain in my knee.  (Unfortunately, she did say, "Stop running!  Walk!")  
My torn medial meniscus does create pain, but I have used the following poses again and again to work on keeping my knees in better health.  Going to my chiropractor, Dr. Ben Swacha, for hip adjustments and having Sheri Dossett as my massage therapist have helped immensely.  

In yoga, I use poses that build my inner thigh strength, open my hips with abduction, and track the knee over the toes all create better physical activity with less soreness and swelling.  I prefer this method over surgery.

Here is my recommendation for the p
oses that are good for knee issues includ
 the following:

  • Garudasana - Eagle Pose

  • Virasana - Hero's Pose with a Block

  • Baddha Konasana - Cobbler's Pose

  • Gomukhasana - Cow Face Pose

  • Prasarita Padottanasana - Wide Legged Forward Fold Pose or any Hip Opening Postures

  • Ardha Bhekasana - Half Frog Pose

  • Gentle Pressure - No Pain, No Pain!  Be friendly with your easily injured joints and drink lots of water!
Remember these tips!  It's all about using props; by being prop friendly using blankets in Child's Pose, a soft block to support the knee in Janu Sirsasana, Head of the Knee Pose, when forward folding, the wall and laying on your back for hip opening, sit on a thin bolster or two blankets in Lord of the Fish Twist, and not locking out the knee in any Trikonasana Triangle or Parsvottanasana Straight Leg Pose.  

Take good care of your feet because when the feet are in the wrong place the knee takes the hit as the weakest joint nearby.  Toes are always straight forward unless the knee turns, and then the knees follow the toes.  A good place to aim the knee is between the second and third toe.
So, if you have pain in your knee joints!  May yoga be with you.  Thank you, Wanda, for inspiring us all with your marathon walking and practicing yoga, too!
Alyssa is starting a new class at 4:00 p.m. this coming Monday, May 5, Cinco de Mayo, for those people who enjoy a practice right after work and before dinner time.  Please come and support Alyssa as she tries out a new time!  Beginners and Intermediates are welcome.

Happy Sunday!  Come practice with us at 2:30 for Sun Salutes and More or 4:00 p.m. for Family Yoga - Easy Style.


Jeanne K


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