4 Ways to Reduce and Prevent Common Technician Knee Problems
Knee pain is one of those problems that is nearly on the epidemic scale for individuals in the technical trades. Air Conditioning and Heating Technicians and Plumbers are some of the most common to have chronic and near career-ending injuries… usually in the knees. Too bad you don’t get paid like Derek Jeter or Kobe Bryant (who just signed 2 years $40-million-dollar contract) because in your case these injuries and pains effect the ability to provide for your family. The source of this and the path to recovery takes a few steps. The culprits for this kind of problem are sourced and exacerbated by extended periods of sitting (in-service vehicle) followed by short efforts and often poor posture and position during those bursts of effort (ie. climbing in and out of attics and crouching down to work on condensers for those ac repairmen etc.). Here are a few tips that you should take to heart.
1. Lose Weight & Get in Shape
Ok, maybe your offended by this. If you are offended it probably means that you are in good shape. I’m not talking about you. This is not just about losing 10 lbs. You should think about eating cleaner(will reduces inflammation), and working out to get stronger muscles. Strength training improves bone density and reinforces good position (do some research on how to properly perform positions and lifts. Or get a qualified trainer.) This is simple stuff but stronger muscles and lost weight can reduce injury significantly and increase your longevity. You’ll feel better and not be a sack of potatoes at the end of the day.
2. Use better posture and positions
#2 and #3 are interrelated. A better position sometimes cannot be achieved without increased mobility. Additionally, some scenarios are inevitable impossible to create an ‘ideal position’. However, the vast majority of a Technician’s movements can be improved.
The biggest issue I see is that when most techs approach a setting where they need to get low they crouch down by driving their knees forward to inspect a component. This is NOT ideal when it comes to keeping your knees healthy. Keeping a fairly vertical shin(where knees stay above the toes) is crucial when crouching OR at least when making your initial movement toward the ground. Squatting down with feet flat first before going to your knees.
On both #2 & #3 I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend you research Kelly Starrett’s Materials. He just came out with a book called Supple Leopard… I know it’s a strange title but just go with it bc it is a best seller. I can personally attest to feeling better after using his methods. He is far more equipped to talk about some of these proper movement mechanics etc than I am so go find his materials. Most of what he discusses revolves around working out (particularly Crossfit) but there is a HUGE crossover here.
3. Increase Mobility
Find your issue then search for some common self remedies before seeing a doctor. Click Here for Dr. Starrett’s website. Then filter out and target the knee section. Also, check out his Youtube channel! There are a number of amazing videos to help work out some of those spots that are inhibiting you and causing pain. Usually, all you need is a lacrosse ball to help increase and improve your range of motion.
This should be your last step. Fish Oil & Glucosamine are the primary supplements on the market for better lubricating your knees to reduce joint pain. Check into the pros and cons of each. There have been some recent studies coming out on the downsides of Fish Oil.