Category Archives: Pain Prevention/Rehabilittion
I run into a lot of people nursing injuries, or limited by joint issues. Unfortunately, as soon as someone is injured they often quit exercising altogether – but there is hope! It’s called a stationary bike.
If you have ever been to a rehabilitation center, you know physical therapist rely heavily on Stationary Bikes. It gets the patient’s joints moving without extra weight on the joint, it’s safe (less chance of falling off a bike than a treadmill) and it exercises the heart and lunges.
If you are unable to do weight bearing exercise (like walking, running or doing the elliptical), using a stationary bike is a great alternative – IF you use it right.
Here are 4 ways to peddle your way to fitness success.
1. Learn proper set-up. Have you ever seen a big person on a little bike. It looks ridiculous doesn’t it? Well, it’s not just silly looking, it’s dangerous. Before you begin your workout, adjust the seat where your legs comfortably stretch out to reach the peddles. When your leg is stretched out all the way, your leg should only have a slight bend without locking the knee out at full extension. If you are bike shopping, don’t cut corners just to save money. Cheap bikes often are tipsy and not as comfortable. Your health is worth the investment. Look for a wide base, comfortable seat, heart rate monitor, built-in workout programs and sturdy framing to make your workout more enjoyable.
2. No coasting. Many people get on a bike like they are going out for some kind of joy ride instead of actually working out. They peddle slowly, as if that is going to do something miraculous. Maybe it’s because they are comfortable. With recumbent bikes these days, bikes have nice cushy backs on the seat and even arm rests, so no wonder you may start yawning! You can’t coast your way to success. Ride like you are going somewhere.
3. Peddle with purpose. I see some people hop on the bike and mentally leave the planet into some far off land. If you want your bike exercise to change your body, and your health, you need to have a gang plan. Many bikes, like the NordicTrac GX 3.4, have built in workout programs. The GX 3 actually has 23 programs to choose from, so you could practically have a fresh new workout every time you ride throughout each month! If your bike has programs, USE THEM! Don’t just peddle at your own pace, use the programs to train and challenge you.
4. Track your heart rate. Your heart rate is the most accurate way to determine how hard you are working. First, find out your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age). Then, multiple that number by your desired target heart rate. 60-70% for beginners, 70-80% for intermediate training and 80-90% for advanced training. Interval workouts are even more effective for fat burning and conditioning. Interval workouts are when you exercise at a high peak of 80-90% of your maximum heart rate, followed by a recovery period at a lower heart rate. For example, 1 minute at 80-90%, followed by 2 minutes at 70-80% for a high intensity workout, or 2 minutes at 70-80% of your maximum heart rate followed by 3 minutes at 60-70% for a moderate intensity workout.
Earlier this year I developed tendonitis in my left ankle. It was so bad, I not only had to stop running, I couldn’t even walk. I went to Total Health Vero Beach for therapy, and slowly but surely it started improving. Well, after something like that gets you down, needless to say, you are a little scared to jump back in your running shoes.
with both feet.
In the last month I have a done a few short “test runs”. So far, so good, although I still had a little twinge in the ankle following the runs so I continue to be cautious – knowing that I could irritate it if I wasn’t careful and be right back where I started.
So you can understand how hard it was to hear that a bunch of peeps from our gym were going to run, what we Veroites call, “the loop” – a 5.6 mile run that goes over both our two bridges (our only real hills in our town) over the waterway to the beach. It’s a great run! It’s scenic, it’s fun, and I didn’t want to miss it! So, I decided I’d just do what I could, and if my ankle started acting up, I’d just turn around, slow down or walk if I needed to.
To my surprise, I had literally no pain. I was running in my Reebok DMX Sky running shoes which have a ton of cushion and support. I honestly think that helped a lot. I typically wear a minimalist “barely there” shoe that’s pretty flat but, since my injury, I’ve felt I needed more of a lift in my heel, as well as more cushion for a softer impact. So far, I’ve only tested my runs in this shoe and I’ve experienced no pain while running. (below i’ll talk about post-run injury prevention)
As we reached our halfway mark, overlooking the pretty water, enjoying the view, I was not just on top of the bridge, but I was on top of the world! I had no pain, I felt great and, I was ready for the next half of the run.
(This was the view at the top of the bridge. The water was like glass – just pure beauty!)
So off we went! I was SO excited! I ran the whole 5.6 mile loop without stopping (except to take these pictures! ha!) WOOOO HOOOO!
As finished up our last few steps and approached our cars, I looked at my running app to check my pace, distance and all that jazz, only to find my app quit tracking my run at 2.9 miles! Ughhhhh!! DARN IT!! Since my running app and Jawbone UP app syncs with my LoseIt app, I get super bummed when I miss out on a posting calorie burned or increased activity of any type. It almost gives you that feeling as if you didn’t do it unless you can see it, sync it and share it. lol
It reminds me of this silly facebook cartoon I’ve seen floating around facebook. I know I’m not the only runner in the world that has these silly technical error moments. However, I’m so thankful for all the fitness toys, and social media, made available today because it holds us accountable, gives us clear goals and makes fitness more fun.
For those of you runners who have had this happen to you, I made this graphic for you! ha :)
Post Workout Injury Prevention Tips
Sometimes we feel great DURING our workout, but pay for it LATER. Here are a few tips to prevent pain and problems that can slow a runner down.
6 Tips to Fight Injury
2. Manage swelling. If you feel you are the least bit swollen, ice the area religiously. If you can control the swelling, you can control the pain. The problem is, people HATE to ice. No one likes to be cold – and ice can be downright painful. I use these Hot Socks to keep me cozy. They really helped me endure the ice and make it a lot more comfortable.
3. Stretch. Now that it’s 2 days after my run, I can begin to feel my ankle tightening up due to tight calves and achilles. If I want to prevent issues, I need to keep those muscles and loosey-goosey. This is going to be key for me if I want to run on a regular basis again. Most injuries are due to tight or weak muscles. I am SUPER tight, so this is something I really have to work on. Here is a good video on how stretching can prevent (or help heel) common foot issues. These are the stretches I do that also help my ankle.
4. Listen to your body. Allow your body to recover before you beat it up again. Don’t rush things. It will be tempting to want to jump right back to your old routine, but going slow at first can prevent you from having to stop completely.
5. Don’t stop rehab. Most people quit rehabbing their injury when they quit hurting. The same way we shouldn’t wait until we have a bad injury to stretch or ice, we should continue the steps that helped us to heal as preventive measures too.
6. Consider your footwear. If you started having problems suddenly, think of what changed. Was it new shoes? Is it old shoes, and time for new shoes? For me, I believe it was going from a shoe with a greater drop to a flatter shoe (which I loved, but I don’t think they loved me). Most running shoes raise the heel 22-24mm off the ground while lifting the front of the shoe only 10-15mm off the ground. They call this ratio the “drop”. This tiny difference was enough to add more stretch in my Achilles, calves and surrounding ankle muscles/tendons with each repetitive step. This doesn’t mean I can’t go back to them, but not until I stretch more and get that area more flexible. Personally, I believe this also has a lot to do with wearing heels all these years – and then going to running practically flat-footed. So, this reinforces my need to stretch.
NOTE: Often times I say that running injuries can be due to shoe choice – but I don’t just mean poor shoes, I mean not the right shoes for YOU. Just because I love a shoe, doesn’t mean you will too. Reebok recommends rotating between 2-3 pair of shoes to avoid damage due to repetitive action.
CLICK HERE to Learn More About Choosing the Right Show for You
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Aches and pains happen – even for those who workout. If you want to continue reaching your goal, you want to have solutions for pain prevention so these minor aches don’t slow you down. That’s when ice and products like Thera-Gesic are great. When I first heard of Thera-Gesic, I honestly didn’t know what to think – or what to expect. I had never tried a pain relieving cream before. When I got my first tube, it took me a while to even break it open because I didn’t think I had any real “pain” to treat. I don’t know what kind of “pain” I thought I needed to have to warrant slathering on a pain-relieving cream, but I eventually changed my thinking.
When I started thinking about it, I realized I had been struggling with tight traps and back muscles for a while. I guess I had just been living with that for so long, I had gotten used to it. So, one night I decided to give my new cream a try. I coated 2 layers (for a stronger affect, as directed on the label) across my traps (tops of my shoulders) and on some meaty parts of my back that were all knotted up. I threw on a night shirt and hit the sack.
As I was lying in the bed, I could begin to feel the heating action of the cream take affect. I literally felt my muscles slowly relax. This soothing warmth was so comforting, it helped me fall asleep.
A few weeks later, I started to develop tendonitis in my left ankle. One day I bumped in to “Dr. Tom” (Tom Harmony), one of our members at Max Fitness who is a Chiropractor Total Health of Vero Beach. I asked him about my ankle and he felt sure he could help so I went in right away. While he was adjusting my foot and applying cold laser therapy to reduce inflammation, I remembered my Thera-Gesic cream and started drilling him with questions.
I had tried it on my ankle, but it didn’t give me the same relief it did when I put it on my back. I wanted to learn more on how to use this cream properly and he really gave me some great information I wanted to pass along to you!
1. Ice inflammation caused by injury. Dr. Tom told me I needed to ice my ankle to reduce the inflammation in and around my tendon. Of course this is not near as fun as using heat, but it would get me up and running again much faster since heat could actually make the inflammation worse. Since Thera-Gesic has a heating element to it, he suggested I not use that cream for my ankle. However, he did want me to loosen up the muscles in my calves and areas around my injury. So in addition to stretching my calves, I could use the Thera-Gesic cream on my calves to help relax those tight muscles.
2. Use heat on chronic pain, not due to injury, like arthritis. When my muscles are tight or a joint is inflamed from a chronic illness, heat is comforting. This is when Thera-Gesic is helpful. I remember my grandmother, who suffered with severe arthritis in her back, was always sitting against a heating pad. Heat was extremely comforting for her. However, if your joint is inflamed from acute injury (like pulling your pack out of whack), heat should be avoided and ice should be used. He also explained that there is a lot of blood flow to big muscles, and that is why those areas warmed up so nicely in my back, which was great for my aching muscles. Knowing that made me want to put it on every single muscle in my entire body! ha :)
So, my regimen was to use cold laser therapy and ice for my joint injuries and use Thera-Gesic on my tight sore muscles – a winning combination!
Cool Tid-Bit: Don’t want to smell like mentol? Don’t worry, I discovered that after you let the cream penetrate completely, you can wash your skin without decreasing the effectiveness. After testing it out, it looks like I will be keeping a tube of Thera-Gesic around our house!
TIME TO WIN! WIN! WIN!
Win a grand prize of a $100 Visa Gift Card and a 6 month supply of Thera-Gesic. PLUS 2 runners ups will win a 6-month supply of Thera-Gesic!
All you have to do is:
- Leave a comment here on my blog with your favorite form of exercise
Winners will be selected at random, and prizes will be fulfilled by Thera-Gesic. This is a sponsored post brought to you by Thera-Gesic. The opinions expressed here are my own.
My mom recently shared something with me that I think many of us can learn from. She was nice enough to let me share her story with you in hopes it could help others – and I’m sure it will.
“Over the past couple of years, I had noticed that my legs seemed weak, and the range that my legs could bend, and still be strong, was diminishing. For example, getting out of a low car, standing up from the bath tub, and even getting up off the potty was becoming a challenge. I couldn’t even squat from a standing position! This was a girl that played softball for years and could once do a split to catch a ball and keep my foot on first base!!!
I realized that I was using my arms to help me push my body up (which I’ve been working out so I had the strength to do it) and not relying on my legs. I was working legs out too….but not from a complete squat. It dawned on me that I was ‘giving in’ to old age weakness – and I needed to do something about it.
The first thing I did was ‘confess’ to Tom (my husband and training partner) that I felt I was losing strength. I knew this would hold me accountable in doing something about it. The second thing I did was decrease my weight on my legs workout so I could go much deeper, even if I only pressed the bar or rack, and not weights. After implementing this in the gym, and after only 1 week, I noticed a HUGE difference! I began making myself use my legs more (getting out of the car, tub, etc), and after only doing this for about a month, I feel like I am 80% better!”
Strong and Weak
My mom was not weak. She was piling plates on the leg press, but she wasn’t working in a full range of motion. As a result, she was only using the strongest part of her legs, and avoiding movement where she was weakest, like a deep squat. Her strong muscles were getting stronger, but her weak muscles were getting weaker. Finally, it started affecting her daily living. Many people would just give in to the weakness and start catering their life around that weakness, like installing a handicap bar. But my mom was NOT going to go there! Instead, she decided to fix the problem, not mask it.
Cause and Effect
When we squat, or leg press, people may only go to where their knees are at a 90 degree angel. Of course, when we squat down to pick up something, or get up off the ground, we aren’t always starting at a perfect 90 degree angle – but are often starting off well below 90 degrees. Unless you are purposefully strengthening those muscles, they will get weaker as you age.
In my mom’s case, I believe she started avoiding a deeper squats and deep lunges after injuring her knee a few years ago. Instead of reducing weight and increasing range of motion to rehabilitate the knee, she continued lifting the same weight, but just decreased range of motion. However, the best plan of action is to focus on strengthening your body for full range of motion. It really doesn’t matter if you can squat 500lbs if you can’t get up off the toilet. Our quality of life greatly depends on how we move daily, not how we move in a controlled area in the gym.
Daily Living Activities – Then & Now
When we were young, we would sit in a squatted position for long periods of time (and look at the great form on this baby! Nice posture kid!). However, as we age, we tend to play on the floor less, and don’t utilize those muscles as much. And, weight gain can make squatting even more challenging. So, as a result, we shift from bending with our legs less, to bending with our back more. If the gentleman in the above photo was younger, he’d likely squat down to pick something up. But, instead, he chose to bend with his back. It’s this type of repetitive behavior that trains the body to work around weaknesses.
Luckily, my mom is a fighter and recognized the warning signs. I’m sure, at first, it didn’t compute why she would be so weak, when she seemed so strong at the gym. But, after we talked through it, it all made perfect sense.
This is why functional training is so important. We need to perform exercises that closely mirror our normal daily activities, and we need to be sure to move safely in a full range of motion as long as our body will allow it. Although my mom does have some knee issues, she was able to successfully improve her range of motion by simply reducing her weight significantly.
Morale of the story. Mom says, “Don’t give in to weakness. It isn’t ok to compensate on the muscle maintenance that we need to have to live a quality life. Listen to your body—it WILL tell you what you need.”
Today’s Motivation Monday Radio Show on The Sideline Radio is all about dealing with injuries. Unfortunately, we all have had, or will have, some sort of injury. As my grandmother always said “it’s not what happens to you, but how you respond to it that really matters” – and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to being injured.
An injury can surely set you back, but how far back is up to you. It can slow you down, it can stop you – OR it can motivate you to prove everyone wrong and show people a whole new level of determination. Most of the time, it’s just a matter of the mind. I’ve seen people let a small injury ruin a perfectly healthy life, and I’ve seen people with some of the most severe disabilities return to the gym day after day, doing far more than their doctor ever dreamed possible.
So, if you think you have a pretty good excuse to stop being active and fit, then think again. Here are some inspiring athletes who spit on the face of fear and chased their dreams despite their limitations. Be Inspired – and then quit feeling sorry for yourself and get your fitness on!
10 Inspiring Athletes Who Didn’t Let Their Limitations Limit Their Dreams
Barbie Guerra, is a fitness competitor who has one big heart and no arms – but that doesn’t stop her from being a competitive fitness athlete where acrobatics, strength, flexibility and physique all count.
Bob Siudak lost his leg was bone cancer but it doesn’t stop him from competitive bodybuilding – he even does squats with 1 leg!
Aimee Mullins probably never thought she’d capture the attention of the fashion media after her success in competitive sports despite her disability. After being featured in Life Magazine, she has graced the covers of various magazines including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Glamour, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, Elle, Jane, Wired and Forbes.
Undefeated XFC Lightweight Pro MMA Fighter from Milford, CT, Nick Newell fights and WINS with only one fully functioning arm and hand. This is NOT one guy you want to meet in a dark alley – I don’t care how many arms you have!
After losing her leg in a motorcycle accident, South African swimmer, Natalie du Toit, was determined to compete at the Manchester Games both as an able bodied and disabled competitor just to prove it could be done.
Hugh Herr continued rock climbing even after both of his legs were amputated after a disastrous climbing expedition. Talk about getting back on the horse after falling off! That’s a man who boldly stares fear right in the face and says “you aren’t going to stop me!”
South Africa’s national track and field athlete, Oscar Pistorius, made Olympics history as the first athlete to compete with a prosthetic limb.
Anthony Robles never let his so-called “handicap” stop him reaching for his goals, winning the 2010-2011 NCAA individual wrestling championship in the 125-pound weight class.
Jeremy Campbell 3-time Paralympic Gold Medalist Discus thrower for the USA.
USA’s paralympic swimmer Jessica Long. She says “Who would have ever imagined that a girl with a “disability” from an orphanage in Siberia would be where I am today? I’m living proof that you can accomplish your dreams, no matter how great or small.”
Before they were Conquerers
You maybe looking at each of these fully functioning athletes, with or without prosthetic limbs, as if they are just like you and me now. But don’t forget there were many painful times. The rehab, the muscle weakness, the physical therapy, the practices, and the failures along the way. Then their are the people who try to “help” and attempt to talk them out of chasing their dreams, saying things like “you have nothing to prove” and “you don’t have to do this”. Think about all of the really good reasons they could have used to quit and feel okay about it. Think of the tears they cried when they first attempted something they couldn’t do. Picture their disappointment and their frustration – all before they ever tasted victory. NOW, use that mental picture to help you pull through your own struggles, no matter how big or small. None of these people have extra special physical powers – they just never gave up.
Get helpful tips on how to prevent, or bounce back, after an injury from today’s Motivation Monday Radio Show on The Sideline Radio on WTTB 1490, also available online at http://www.thesidelineradioshow.com.
Do your knees ache? Do they hurt when you run? Do your knees get in the way of a good leg routine? Before you go off running for the operating room, your knee pain could be something a lot more simple than you think.
One popular reasons people (especially runners and fitness newbies) struggle with knee pain is because our leg muscles are out of balance. As tight muscles play tug-a-war with your knee cap knee cap, and your apposing weak muscles are losing. This cause the knee cap to float out of place – resulting in poor knee tracking and a lot of discomfort.
Steve explains how to correct the problem with a couple of simple exercises:
3. Ice & Rest:
Rest is crucial to allow for healing
Ice is essential to reduce inflammation (15 minutes at a time, as often as you can)
More Injury Prevention Blogs
OK, before you get too excited, I can’t help you with your husband or kid, if they are what you consider to be a pain your butt. I’m talking about a literal pain in your backside.
If you’ve ever suffered from a throbbing aching pain in your derriere, that possibly even radiates down your leg, you have experienced Sciatica. Sciatica, literally is a pain in the butt – and it can be fixed pretty easily.
Steve explains what Sciatica is often caused by and how to eliminate the pain. If you’ve been in pain due to Sciatica, you won’t BELIEVE how these simple exercises can change your life!
4 Tips to More Pain Prevention:
1. Maintain good posture
2. Take your wallet out when driving or sitting for long periods of time
3. Do the above stretches often through out the day, holding each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. (no bouncing)
4. Take anti-imflammatories when needed
5. Avoid heat – Icing an injury reduces inflammation, where heat induces an inflammatory response
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If you’ve ever stepped out of bed in the morning, only to find you barely could walk across the floor without this crazy sudden heel pain, then you may have Plantar Fasciitis. Typically, as you continue to walk, the pain will let up – but don’t be fooled. This problem will only get worse if unattended – and could potentially turn into a bone spur.
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Pain or injury may not be an option, but recovery is.
I was talking with a member of our gym who was having some health issues last week. She was extremely discouraged about what she believed to be the inability to workout due to her latest ailment. I could see despair in her eyes. In this particular case, the only exercise she knew to do was the bicycle. This was extremely difficult for her to accept after many years of exercising and taking aerobics classes. She was basically ready to give up.
So many people allow an injury to set them back for life. Instead of slowing down, or changing up their exercise plan to work around their issue, they just quit. Quitting isn’t an option.
The thought of my member’s discouragement rocked me. I wondered how many other people have had the same thoughts and problems but didn’t ask for help. It is easy to use an injury or health problem as a good excuse to quit exercising. In my experience, most people really honestly believe they have no other choice but to give up.
If only the general public knew there are ways to work around health issues – and even improve them. Many times there are specific exercises which can help someone recover, or at least better cope, with their condition – ultimately improving the quality of their life. If this wasn’t the case, physical therapist wouldn’t exist.
Know Limits = No Limits
In this member’s situation, there were still plenty of exercises she could have done. Often times, even someone bound to a wheelchair can still do some type of exercise, working around their limitations. We have a member who comes in regularly, in her wheelchair, to train with one of our trainers. He has her doing laps down our sidewalk, and numerous other exercises, to keep her heart and lungs strong and her active body as fit as possible.
Unfortunately, when our body begins to break down, we mentally break down. We quit believing in our own ability to perform – or even survive. We allow our own doubts and lack of knowledge to dictate what we think we can and cannot do. When we experience pain, we are afraid to try anything in fear of making things worse. Ironically, the reality is there is even more risk in giving up and staying sedentary.
I am here to tell you fitness believes in you. I believe in you. Let me encourage you. Even if your body gives up on you, never, never, never give up on your body.
6 Stretches to Relieve Common Aches & Pains
1. Quadriceps Stretch – Helps relieve knee pain
2. Hamstring Stretch – Helps improve posture while sitting and low back pain
3. Buttocks Stretch – Helps relieve sciatica and leg pain
4. Calves Stretch – Helps relieve pain from plantar fasciitis (heel pain)
5. Chest Stretch High – Helps reduce back and shoulder pain due to forward posture
6. Side Neck Stretch – Helps improve neck pain and tightness
They Never Gave Up – When there’s a will, there’s a way
Most of us will find our ailments are small compared to these success stories:
Aaron ‘Wheelz’ Fotheringham (has spina bifida and has been in a wheelchair since he was 8 years old)
Jillanna “Mel” Curry, 49, who has won both gold and silver medals in United States Tennis Association Wheelchair Tennis Championships (lost her leg after discovering blood clots
Nadya Vessey had a mermaid tail crafted for her so she could swim after having both her legs amputated.
Bob Siudak lost leg to cancer.
Catherine “Cat” Hammes, 45yr old woman lost her leg in a motorycycle accident
Amy Purdy had less than a 2 percent chance of being diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis. After losing both legs, getting a kidney transplant, and battling other life-threatening health issues, Amy pledged to move on and attain goals even people with 2 legs struggle to achieve.
Now what’s your excuse?
Reserve your spot in our Free Pain Prevention Educational and Interactive Workshop: Tuesday, February 28th at 11:00am with Steve Pfiester at Max Fitness Club, 970 14th Lane, Vero Beach, Florida 32960. Call 772-778-7867 to make your free reservation and walk away with more hope and knowledge.
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When I started jogging a few years ago, it was a shock to my system. I quickly discovered my body much preferred a brisk walk over running. I had never felt that out of shape before. Although I was lifting weights and occasionally doing the stepper or elliptical, my body wasn’t used to jogging and it let me know it quick! My hip ached, my knees throbbed, and my muscles were incredibly sore.
Even though most of my body adapted to the new routine eventually, my knees took a little longer to improve. Believe it or not, it was a simple fix – all I needed to do was stretch.
I am sure this may sound odd to some people. I mean, what in the world could stretching a muscle do for a joint? Well, plenty! You see, my leg muscles were really tight, especially my quadriceps (thigh muscles). Since these tight muscles attach to the patella (the knee cap), tight muscles were most likely the cause of my discomfort.
If you gently stretch the leg muscles, you relieve the tension on the kneecap, allowing for proper knee tracking. The only drawback is you have to be patient and consistent with your stretching routine. You can’t expect your muscles to loosen up after just a few stretches. With increased activity comes increase tightness, so it’s something you have to do often.
I had to stretch several times a day. I would even stop and stretch in the middle of my run to help get me through my routine. Eventually, my knee pain completely went away. My two miles of limping turned into a four and half mile pain-free jog thanks to a few simple stretches.
While there are many reasons for knee pain, tight leg muscles are often the culprit, especially if you just started noticing it after increasing activity. Unfortunately, many people quit an exercise program due these new aches and pains, thinking their body just can’t handle it. My knee pain could have easily, and literally, stopped me in my tracks. Instead, I didn’t give up and I’ve been running pain free for 9 years.
When it comes to knee pain, the solution maybe easier than you think.
(photo from http://www.mediahelp.org)