How to Heal Knee Pain Holistically

Hey friend, welcome to The Fit Flamingo Podcast! In today’s episode, I share the #1 thing you can do to heal knee pain holistically (without pain medication or surgery!). Plus, I share tips to increase ankle mobility and prevent injury. The best part? You can do this right from home! And I’m not just talking help the pain… We’re going to heal the pain!

Look, here’s the thing. We spend a lot of time in pain. Little aches can add up over time and constantly bother us, making it uncomfortable to walk, move, and workout. Whether it’s your knee, back, or a headache you get everyday, it’s easy to normalize being in pain. And when we get fed up with the pain, our first thought it often to take pain medication, schedule an appointment with our doctor, or opt in for surgery.

But I want to offer you something that will help you heal the root cause of your pain. Because we know when we heal the root, the symptoms heal too!

In this episode, I’m going to help you connect dots, feel supported, and create a daily routine that will help you improve the knee pain you’re experiencing. We’re going to heal! Now, let’s dive in.

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How to Heal the Root Cause of Your Knee Pain

Now before we dive into the episode, I do want to give a disclaimer because every body is unique. As a personal trainer, I take a very individualized approach to help my clients. No one body is exactly the same but there is a lot of commonality. And that’s what I’m speaking to in this episode. We could totally have a much larger conversation around this topic and there are so many little things we could dive into. But for now, think of this as a conversation starter.

I want to provide information that will empower you. I want you to have access to this information because I believe it is life changing and it can help you feel better starting today. And I don’t think you should be in pain anymore!!

Here’s the cool thing about our body. Everything is connected. And usually the place where we experience pain is not the origin of our pain. Here’s what I mean by that: If you have knee pain, your knee is not the problem. Most solutions to get you out of pain will target just the knee. These solutions can offer instant release but might not provide the long-term healing you’re looking for. When it comes to the work I do with my clients and in my own body, I find the most success targeting the mobility ankle and the foot first.

If one of my clients is struggling with knee pain, the first place I look is the ankle. It’s possible that the knee pain could be stemming from the hip. But I like to start with the ankle first because it will also benefit the knee, hip, back, neck, and shoulders.

I look to see how well the ankle is moving and how well the foot is tracking. And I do this with myself, too! If I tweak my knee during a workout or wake up and it’s just feeling off, ankle mobility is the first place I go.

Now, no one knows your body like you do. If you feel like you don’t know your body very well, it’s time to rebuild that relationship. It’s time to come home.

Think about everything we put our bodies through. We’re constantly asking more and more of our body, pushing it to the max, getting less and less sleep, neglecting our nourishment, and tuning out the little pain signals that our body is sending us. Then we wonder why we don’t feel good!

Pain signals will only get louder if we don’t listen to them. Often these pain signals will turn into a full blown injury so its good to get into the habit of tuning in our bodies, before we push it too far. When we seek to understand where our pain is stemming from, we can learn how to heal the root cause.

With that in mind, let’s dive into some solutions. Here’s the #1 thing I recommend for healing knee pain:

The #1 Thing to Do to Heal Knee Pain

One of the best things you can do to heal knee pain is incorporate ankle mobility into your daily routine.

I love mobility flows. They are approachable, easy to do from home, fun, stress relieving, and energizing. Mobility flows don’t take a lot of time to do. And the best part is that mobility helps tremendously with pain.

A daily mobility flow is not only going to help heal knee pain, but it’s also going to help your entire body feel its best. I turn to mobility for everything — from shoulder pain to headaches, tight hips, period cramps, and lower back aches, too.

It’s really important for the ankle joint to be mobile because your feet are your foundation. When your foundation is sound, the rest of your body will be able to move better and function more optimally. It’s very similar to a home. Sometimes you may notice cracks in the ceiling. But it’s not necessarily because the ceiling is messed up. Often, it’s because of an issue in the foundation. If the foundation is sliding or cracking, you’ll see the result of that trickling up into the walls and ceiling of a home.

Your Feet Impact Your Whole Body!

In the same way, when it comes to your body, everything works “up the chain” meaning, your feet are the first thing to come into contact with the ground when you do things like run, go for a walk, squat, weight lift, or ride a bike. As you move, your feet absorb the ground’s forces. Then, those forces move up your body through your knees, hips, lower back, mid-back, shoulders, and neck.

If the feet aren’t structurally sound or we’re lacking in ankle mobility, often what you’ll find is that knees end up absorbing more of the load. The ankle is a very mobile joint, designed to handle significant force load while the knee, on the other hand, requires more stability.

Mobility allows us to increase the range of motion around a joint while providing stability and strength to that joint. Mobility is different than flexibility in the way that it’s not just about lengthening or stretching the muscle. Sure, it’s cool to be able to do the splits. But we also want to have the strength and muscle control to be able to come out of the splits without pain.

Lack of Mobility Can Lead to Injury

When we’re not mobile, we feel tight and can be more susceptible to injury. 

We all know how it feels to sit (or slouch, let’s be real!) at a desk for hours, only to get up and realize how achy and tight we feel. Mobility will help your body feel its best.

And really, our bodies were designed to move.

In my own day to day movement, I do a 10-minute mobility flow every morning. It helps me tune into my breath, check in with my body, and release any pain or tightness that I feel in my joints. Since I do a lot of computer work too, I find it helpful to add little mobility snacks throughout the day. Every 30 minutes to an hour, I’ll get up and take a few minutes to do 3-5 mobility exercises and it really re-energizes me and helps me get out of pain!

How to Incorporate Mobility into Your Daily Routine

Mobility can be used all on its own, within your workouts, or as a warmup to your next workout. It’s a tool I come back to over and over again and I love creating flows that feel almost like a yoga session in the way that you flow from one move to the next as you check in with your breath and let your mind and body calm.

And right now if you go to my Instagram page, you’ll see an Instagram reel with my favorite mobility moves to heal knee pain.

Those moves are a perfect place to start. You can add them to your morning routine or do them as a warm up to a walk, run, or any workout you do. Roll out a mat and move with me for 5 to 10 minutes!

And if you need or want more 1 on 1 support, I am here and would love to help you on a personalized basis. I create custom movement + nutrition plans for my clients and can help you build a mobility flow for your body, your goals, and your lifestyle. I want to help you get out of pain and feel your best because everything changes when you feel good in your body. To request 1 on 1 coaching, film out this form here!

Now that we know how important ankle mobility is, I want to drop in 3 tips to increase ankle mobility.

3 Tips to Increase Ankle Mobility

01. Spend time barefoot! 

We spend a lot of time in shoes that are often too small for our feet. In fact, I recently heard a statistic that said women typically wear shoes two sizes too small for their feet! This can cause bunions, decreased balance, increased knee pain and low back pain, and more.

For our feet to feel best, we want our toes to be able to expand and feel the ground below us. We also want a good range of motion in our big toes. Your feet are incredible because they feel the impact of so much force and momentum, like we talked about before. Conventional sneakers, high heals, boots, and other shoes can rob us of that feet-to-ground connection which results in us striking the ground harder than we would if we were barefoot. That means more force traveling “up the chain” throughout our body.

And while shoes aren’t something to fear, it is important to know how your quality and make of your shoes impacts your feet, and therefore your whole body.

Since I work from home, it’s easier to not wear shoes throughout the day verse if I was in an office space. When you’re able to, spend as much time as possible barefoot. Get outside to ground in the grass or workout from home without shoes on!

When I workout from home or out in the backyard, I’ll workout completely barefoot and intentionally incorporate ankle mobility and single leg balance exercises into my routine so that I can build strength and stability through my ankle & knee.

I even invested in a new pair of shoes from Vivo Barefoot that I wear on our daily walks! They help me feel grounded and rooted to the floor and I notice a huge difference in how I feel after an hour long walk. My knees and lower back are no longer achy!! I’m amazed and so grateful to have found a solution that has worked so quickly.

As you spend more time barefoot, and maybe even invest in a pair of your own barefoot shoes, you’ll notice that it takes some time to build up the strength in your foot. This is normal and part of the process as you re-learn how to interact with the ground without cushioned soles or forced aches.

02. Make mobility apart of your daily routine.

We’re just gonna commit to it! Mobility is preventative, meaning we don’t have to wait for something to go terribly wrong before we start incorporating mobility into our daily routine. Mobility will help you release any aches and pains that you feel. It can also help you lift heavier weights, improve your range of motion within exercise movements, run faster, heal injuries, and prevent injuries.

03. Sit less, move more!

Instead of sitting at your desk in the same position for hours, look for creative ways to add movement snacks into your day.

Movement doesn’t have to just included intense HIIT workouts or heart-pumping cardio sessions. Movement can also included light stretches, mobility flows, gentle walks, restorative yoga, pilates, deep breathing, playing your favorite sport, playing outside with your kids, dancing, and so much more.

It’s time to lean into the forms of movement that feel fun and joyful to you!

Every time you find yourself feeling achy in your knees, look for a creative opportunity to move your body. Stand up, stretch it out, and move! A mobility flow is the perfect place to start.

Little by little, you’ll start to notice a huge shift in how you feel in your body as your mobility increases and your knee pain subsides.

Hi, I’m Madison Deaton. As a personal trainer, nutrition and self-love coach, I focus on the inside first, helping you get to the root of why you think and feel the way you do. Then I use things like functional fitness, holistic nutrition, mindset and self-love tools to help you connect with yourself on a deeper level, see things from a new perspective, and unlearn habits that no longer serve you so you can take up space, step into your power, and become the woman of your dreams (friendly reminder: she has been YOU all along). Welcome to The Fit Flamingo! I’m so glad you’re here.

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