Women of all ages can experience the long-term health benefits of exercise. However, as we age, a woman’s risk for certain types of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries increase. Most commonly, these include overuse injuries and arthritic conditions, but can also include more acute conditions such as tendon and meniscus tears.
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Overuse conditions can occur when women try to either start an exercise program or increase the intensity of their current exercise routine without appropriate conditioning. Decreased flexibility and muscle imbalances lead to altered biomechanics, which in turn, can cause overuse conditions such as patellofemoral knee pain (pain in front of the knee around the kneecap), hamstring tendinitis, hip abductor tendinitis and Achilles tendinitis.
Conditions such as hip and knee arthritis can cause pain as we age. Lower impact activities such as swimming, biking and walking will allow you to continue to enjoy exercise while being easier on the joints.
If you are concerned about an injury, seek treatment if the pain has not improved with rest, ice and compression, or if joint swelling is present with decreased range of motion and you are having difficulty bearing weight on it.