Using a balance board as part of your treatment for knee pain offers a faster recovery and an efficient way to prevent further injury. After a knee injury, retraining the knee joint and the surrounding muscles is essential to not only decrease knee pain but to also make the knee joint more solid.
Knee rehab has three major objectives:
1. Regain proper range of motion
2. Regain full proprioception
Using a balance board (wobble board type) will work on the second and third objectives of the knee pain treatment protocol.
The knee joint is the largest joint of the body. It has a complex mechanism that allows the movements of flexion and extension, as well as a slight medial and lateral rotation. Our knees support most of our weight and they are therefore prone to injury and early degeneration if the joint is not functioning in a healthy way.
Strengthening the knee function through proper exercises is indicated for:
- People having had a knee injury
- People suffering from chronic knee pain
When to start?
When should you start your wobble board exercises? If you had a knee injury, it is after the acute phase (inflammation, swelling) is passed that you can start training with a balance board. At this point you should have regained most of the joint amplitude (normal knee movement) and you can stand up with little to no pain in your knees. If you are not sure of being ready, please consult your physical therapist, chiropractor or medical doctor who will advise you on that point.
The goal of the wobble board exercises is to challenge your knees in a gradual way allowing them to become stronger and more reactive. That in turn will improve function, decrease knee pain, slow down the joint aging, and help prevent future injuries.
The goal of training with a balance board is to improve your proprioception. Proprioception is the perception of our joints in space. If you close your eyes, you can still touch the tip of your nose with your index finger. Through nerve receptors within the joints of the body we have a sense of where our joints are and what they are doing. Another example of this body function is our ability to adapt to the ground as we walk. Our nerve receptors within the ankles joints inform our brain about the inclination of the ground, the little bumps and holes, allowing us to walk in a smooth way. Having an efficient proprioceptive system permits the body to adapt in refined way to its environment. Lack of physical activity or a joint injury can affect the quality of our proprioception. Thankfully, it can be retrained through proper exercises.
Getting on the balance board
The balance board has for purpose to challenge your sense of balance which will force you to train your sense of proprioception. Like standing on one foot will challenge your balance, getting on a wobble board will allow you to do it in more challenging way.
1. Stand with both feet, and rock the board left to right, and front to back and have the edge touch the floor. Do it for 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Roll the board in a circle touching the edge on the floor. Do it for 2 minutes.
3. Balance the board trying to keep the edges off the floor as long as you can.
4. From exercise 4, squat slightly (45 degrees). Repeat 10 times.
By doing these four sets on the wobble board you will help improve your knee pain and prevent future injuries.