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    Ease for Your Knees

    CinderErnstBy Cinder Ernst

    This is the forth article in the “Walking Is Wonderful” series. We began with helping you to get started. Then we addressed foot pain and how to choose good walking shoes. In the last edition, we talked about hip and back pain, and what to do so you can walk further with greater ease. Today, we’ll address knee pain when you walk.

    In all of the articles, I’ve given you Easy Fitness suggestions for how to prevent and/or interrupt pain that can show up when you are walking. The most important point when using the Easy Fitness pain interrupts is to use them early, at the first hint of pain. Maybe you know what I mean. When you are walking and something hurts, you might try to ignore it. When you ignore or push through the pain, it usually gets worse. Ignoring your body’s signals and needs is a habit. Instead, with just a bit of focus, you can partner with your body. A good partnership with your body helps to smooth your path, literally and figuratively.

    Pain or discomfort is always a signal to do something. Before you actually do that something, I suggest you acknowledge with kindness that you heard the signal. I have tricky knees, and when I’m out and about, and my knee “talks” to me, I say to myself, “I hear you, knee.” Then I try an Easy Fitness pain interrupt. My favorite is described at the end of this piece.

    Sometimes the pain interrupt works right away; sometimes I have to try another. I always feel good about listening to my body. This helps me to feel better in that moment. Often just that pause is enough, but here are some additional options for when you feel pain: rest, Easy Fitness, ice, medication, stretch, motion is lotion movement (more about that below) and drinking water, to name a few. Check back in the archives for foot, hip and back Easy Fitness pain interrupts.


    Ease for your knees in a walking moment might come from a motion is lotion technique. Your knee joint is a hinge that bends and straightens your leg. When you move this joint gently, without any weight on it, sometimes you will cause the joint to lubricate itself. That’s where we get the phrase motion is lotion. Doctors often recommend a stationary bike to help move the knee joint without having to stand on it.

    If you’re walking and your knee starts to hurt, I recommend an Easy Fitness fix called “Not Quite Kick Your Butt.” We call them NQs for short. I suggest you try this at home first. Here’s how to do it:

    Stand up and hold onto the back of your chair or countertop for balance. Shift your weight to your left leg, and bend your right knee as if you were aiming your right heel toward your butt. Your foot kind of arks up toward your rear end. We call this “Not Quite Kick Your Butt” because you are not expected to actually do it, just aim for it! That simple motion moves your knee joint without weight bearing, and can sometimes really feel good. Next, shift to the other side and move the left leg. Do that a few times and see how it feels. NQs are good to do before you start walking, too.

    NQs are easy to do anywhere and sometimes they really help to soothe the knee joint. Nothing works for all bodies, but it’s worth a try. You can find a video tutorial of this on YouTube; just search for Cinder Ernst. Your knees are affected by what’s below (calves and feet) and above (thighs, hips, pelvis and back), so be sure to look at the archived articles to get the complete picture for your Walking Is Wonderful experience.

    Cinder Ernst, Medical Exercise Specialist and Life Coach Extraordinaire, helps reluctant exercisers get moving with safe, effective and fun programs. Find out more at