Knee pain is one most common ailments that people of all ages suffer from. Be it a high-school athlete or a senior adult, anyone can be affected by different degrees of knee pain. If not taken care of in the early stages, knee pain can significantly increase to hamper simple daily activities like going up and down the stairs and affect your quality of life. There are a lot of factors, including bad habits that you may not even know are adversely affecting your joints. Be it the wrong shoes or the wrong diet, little things can contribute to knee pain. Here are some of common habits and factors that you may be ignoring but that are making your knee pain worse. Sitting for long periods of time – It is natural to be at rest when you are experiencing knee pain. However, resting or keeping your knee joint inactive for long periods can in fact increase pain. This is because, too much inactivity can make joints stiffer and muscles weaker and therefore leave your knee under-supported. Therefore, to keep strengthen and improve flexibility of your knees, it is good to try low-impact exercises like walking and yoga which make use of slow movements and don’t pressurize your joints. Exercising too much – While it is important to be active to reduce knee pain and stiffness, doing high-impact exercises or activities are a sure way of worsening your pain. Exercises like running, kickboxing, lunges, etc put extra pressure on your knee joints and increase pain. Hence, if you are already experiencing knee pain, low-impact exercises like swimming, yoga or tai-chi are the way to go. Not warming up or cooling down properly during exercise – Warm up exercises reduce stiffness and prepare your joints for activity ahead. Jumping into exercise without warming up can significantly damage joints or cause joint injuries. Ideally, a warm-up routine should last for 6 to 10 minutes before exercise. Similarly, a cool-down routine which again makes use of slower movements as your workout is about to end, aids in recovery thus preparing your body for future workouts. It is also helps remove lactic acid – a by-product of exercise, from your muscles to reduce soreness. Following an unhealthy diet and lifestyle – Making poor dietary choices like indulging in red meat or sugary foods can cause inflammation and increase knee pain. Also, a risk of following this diet is putting on weight which significantly increases pressure on your joints to worsen pain. Apart from this, having an unhealthy lifestyle – smoking may also increase knee pain. Smoking is known to dehydrate the muscles, cause cartilage loss, and other soft-tissues in your knee. Wearing the wrong shoes – While we give little attention to our footwear with regards to joint pain, it is one of the major contributors to knee pain and pain flare-ups. Wearing high heels or flip-flops are known to aggravate knee pain as they work your muscles more and can change the angle of the knee putting you at risk of injury. It is imperative to invest in shoes with good cushioning and good arch support to manage flare-up episodes as absorb the pressure your knees take on while walking or jogging. If you’re suffering from knee pain, it is crucial you keep the above-mentioned risk factors in mind. Speak to your physician about the severity of your symptoms. Also, massage your joints with an Ayurvedic oil like Zandu Ortho Vedic Oil before and after you exercise to ensure effective and long-lasting relief from your symptoms. If you are experiencing prolonged pain, swelling and stiffness in your joints, take the Zandu Osteoarthritis Online Self Test here. If your pain level is above 6, book a free consultation with a Zandu Physiotherapist here.