Waking Up with Knee Pain? Here’s What Your Body’s Trying to Tell You

Once you’ve ruled out something like bruising from bumping into furniture on a late-night trip to the bathroom, you might start running through the list of other possible causes of knee pain to help determine your treatment options — and whether or not you’ll still be able to tackle the workout you had planned for today.

Image Credit: Anut21ng/iStock/GettyImages

Here, Joshua Goldman, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and associate clinical professor at UCLA, explains why you might wake up with knee pain and what to do when it happens.

1. You Have Runner’s Knee

An ache in the front of the knee and around your kneecap in the morning can be a sign of runner’s knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). It happens when the kneecap gets misaligned and no longer sits in the trochlear groove — the notch at the end of the femur bone.

This type of injury can result from overuse of the knee or under-conditioning of the hip and inner quadricep muscles. While PFPS is quite common in runners, it can also occur from many other sports and activities.

Fix It

Icing your knee before bed can reduce swelling and minimize overnight symptoms. You can treat persistent discomfort with the standard RICE method — which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation — by staying off the affected leg, applying ice at 20-minute intervals, wrapping it lightly with a bandage and elevating your knee above your heart whenever possible, according to the AAOS.

In the long term, physical therapy can correct any hip weakness or quadricep imbalance to help with recovery and prevent future injury.

2. You Have Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome, or ITBS for short, is similar in origin to runner’s knee. While this pain is more common ‌during‌ activity, it can also manifest as aching overnight.

The IT band is a thick, fibrous band of tissue that starts in the front of the hip, runs along the side of the thigh and anchors on the outside of the tibia (shin bone) below the knee, Dr. Goldman explains. If you have weak hip muscles, the IT band will overcompensate to try to stabilize the leg. As it does so, it can create friction over the front of the knee, which manifests as a sharp, stabbing pain.

Fix It

Knee pain from ITBS is treated with ice at the site of pain, stretching of the IT band and physical therapy to correct the hip weakness. Use a foam roller on the outer thigh before bed to help relax the IT band and prevent pain when you wake up.

3. You Have Osteoarthritis

As we reach middle age, we often see signs of cartilage degeneration in the knee from old injuries or genetic predispositions. This is called osteoarthritis, per the Cleveland Clinic.

It’s fairly normal to wake up with creaky joints, especially as we age. If your discomfort eases as you go about your morning routine, there’s no cause for further investigation. But, if your morning knee pain aches around the kneecap, along the joint line in the middle of the knee and on either side of the knee, it could be caused by osteoarthritis.

This pain is classically worse in the morning upon waking and improves over the course of the day as the joint “loosens up,” Dr. Goldman explains.

Fix It

Knee osteoarthritis can be diagnosed with an X-ray. While there is no “cure” for degenerative changes in the knee, there are several treatments that can help minimize symptoms including anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, hyaluronic acid injections, platelet-rich plasma injections and knee replacement surgery, Dr. Goldman says.

Lifestyle changes can help ease morning knee pain and keep you more comfortable throughout the day as well. Try these steps, from Rhode Island Hospitals and Health Services, to get the creaks out of your joints:

  • Circle your ankles
  • Extend your legs in bed
  • Bend at the knee and hip before getting out of bed
  • Follow up with a hot shower to ease your muscles
  • Add in periods of gentle activity throughout the day

Pay attention to what you eat, too: Certain foods can worsen inflammation or affect how easy it is to fall asleep if eaten too close to bedtime. Being mindful of your diet may help ease stiffness upon waking.

Tip

Dr. Goldman points out that hip osteoarthritis can masquerade as knee pain. If you are an older adult with normal knee X-rays, talk to your doctor about getting a hip X-ray as well.

4. You Tore Your Meniscus

If you wake up with a swollen knee that delivers a sharp pain when you step on it or twist it, you might be dealing with a torn meniscus — i.e., torn cartilage in the knee, Dr. Goldman says.

The meniscus — cartilage that serves as a shock absorber and cushion between the bones of your knee — is a commonly injured part of the knee. A tear can happen to anyone, regardless of fitness level, ability or age, from contact sports, a fall or even an awkward twist as you stand up from a chair.

Most often, you’ll hear a popping sound when it tears. But sometimes, you won’t notice the injury for two to three days, when it begins to swell or cause pain upon waking in the morning, according to the AAOS.

Fix It

If you suspect you might have a meniscal tear, apply ice and stay off the affected leg. If your mobility is limited or the pain and swelling increase, you’ll need to see an orthopedist.

An orthopedic visit will likely begin with a McMurray test, a series of manipulations of the leg to determine the areas of pain and discomfort, according to the Cleveland Clinic. This will likely be followed by an MRI or other imaging test.

A doctor might prescribe the RICE method along with anti-inflammatory medication or possibly arthroscopic surgery, depending on the type and location of the injury.

5. You Tore a Ligament

If your knee locks or buckles and you have trouble supporting your weight when you stand, especially when you first get up out of bed in the morning but also throughout the day, it might be a sign of a significant tear in the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, per the Mayo Clinic.

If you suspect you have a torn knee ligament, immediately apply the RICE method and consult a doctor.

Fix It

A torn knee ligament can’t heal on its own and requires immediate medical attention. Follow-up treatments may include physical therapy or surgery.

Article by Cara Stevens for livestrong.com©

Perserverance: The No. 1 soft skill that predicts kids’ success 

Through her research as a child psychologist, Michele Borba, EdD has found that perseverance is the No. 1 soft skill that sets kids who are highly motivated apart from those who give up easily. In fact, studies have supported that it is a stronger predictor of success than IQ.

Tara Moore | Getty

Kids who have perseverance don’t give up in the face of setbacks. They believe their efforts will pay off, so they stay motivated to work hard and finish what they start, despite any barriers that arise.

Here are nine ways parents can help kids build perseverance:

1. Fight the factors that discourage kids.

The first step is to fight the four factors that derail perseverance. I like to use the acronym “FAIL” as a helpful reminder:

  1. Fatigue: Safeguard your child’s concentration abilities by sticking to regular sleep routines. Turn devices off one hour before bedtime and keep screens outside of the bedroom at night.
  2. Anxiety: The pressure to succeed can cause overwhelming feelings. Express to your child that your love is not contingent on their success.
  3. Identity solely based on fast achievements: Instill a growth mindset so your child understands that success is not fixed. Praise them for their efforts, not their results.
  4. Learning expectations that don’t match abilities: Set expectations just slightly above your child’s skill level. Expectations that are too high can cause anxiety, while ones that are too low can lead to boredom.

2. Teach that mistakes are growth opportunities.

Remind your kids that mistakes can be a positive thing, even if a situation doesn’t turn out they way they expected. Accept their errors and tell them: “It’s okay to mess up. What matters is that you tried.”

Admit to your own missteps, too. This will help them recognize that everyone makes mistakes, and that success happens when you don’t let setbacks define you.

3. “Chunk” tasks.

Teaching your kids to divide big tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks will help them feel more confident about completing things over time.

If they’re feeling frustrated with a math worksheet, for example, have them take a separate sheet of paper and cover all the math problems except the top row. Then continue lowering the paper down to the next row as they finish each one.

Or, if they are feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of homework they have, they can write down each assignment on a sticky note, stack them by difficulty, and do one task at a time.

To view all 9 strategies, click the link below.

Source: Parenting expert: The No. 1 soft skill that predicts kids’ success more than IQ—and how to teach it (cnbc.com)

How to Choose and Plant Bulbs

There’s more to fall gardening than just raking leaves. It’s also the perfect time to prepare for a gorgeous spring by planting bulbs. For the most part growing bulbs is super simple. But if you’ve ever been disappointed in your bulbs’ performance or haven’t planted them because you weren’t sure where to start, help is here.

The word “bulb” is often used to describe a plant, even when it technically grows from a corm or a tuber. To keep things simple, I’ll call them all bulbs as I share a few tips for planting bulbs this fall that will ensure success next spring. Let’s get started!

How to choose a healthy flower bulb

There are lots of bulbs at the garden center in fall but you have to be careful about which ones you bring home. A good bulb grows into a strong, healthy plant while a poor-quality one produces a spindly plant, if it grows at all. Here’s how to choose the best:

First choice bulb

  • Big — it’ll give you more and bigger flowers
  • Heavy — it has more stored energy
  • Unblemished — it’s healthiest

Second choice bulb

  • No damage, but the papery tunic may be missing
  • Just a few small blemishes
  • A little bit of fuzzy mold that wipes off easily

Don’t Buy!

  • A dry, shriveled or lightweight bulb — it’s lost moisture and won’t recover
  • Soft spots — these mean rot

Bulb planting basics

Jo-Anne van den Berg-Ohms grew up around the mail-order bulb business her dad started in the 1950s; now she’s the CEO of both John Scheepers and Van Engelen mail-order bulb companies and has plenty of experience and advice to share:

Best place to plant bulbs

A spot with full sun that doesn’t get a lot of additional water in summer is best for most spring-blooming bulbs if you want them to return year after year. Tulips are probably the most finicky and don’t do well planted in annual beds or with thirsty perennials. Choosing the right varieties helps, though.

Soil

The best soil for bulbs is well-drained with a neutral pH — sandy loam is ideal. It allows for strong root growth and water drainage, so the bulbs don’t rot. By the way, don’t bother adding bone meal to the hole at planting time. It isn’t very nutritious, can burn or kill newly emerging roots and may even attract animals that might dig up the bulbs. Instead, apply a granular organic plant food with a 5-10-5 formula to the soil’s surface after refilling the planting hole.

Which side of the bulb is up?

Planting a bulb with the growing tip up and the flat basal plate down helps conserve energy since it doesn’t have to correct course. But sometimes it’s hard to tell which end to put where. If you’re not sure, just plant the bulb on its side and it will grow the right direction.

Best time to plant bulbs

Buy your bulbs as early as you find them in stores. But that may be too soon to plant, so keep the bulbs in a cool spot, such as a basement that stays at 55 to 65 degrees. Get bulbs in the ground in fall once soil temperatures are 55 degrees F — Jo-Anne knows the time is right when nighttime temperatures have been in the 40s for a couple of weeks. These cooler temperatures trigger a biochemical response, called “vernalization,” in the bulb that tells them to stop growing roots and settle in for the winter.

See more bulb information by clicking on the link below.

Source: How to Plant Bulbs | Garden Gate (gardengatemagazine.com)

What Are the 16 Punctuation Marks in English Grammar?

You know your periods from your parentheses and your commas from your colons, but do you know the difference between braces and brackets? Do you really know how to use a semicolon, or do you just close your eyes and hope it works? In English, there are 16 punctuation marks — the period, question mark, exclamation point, comma, semicolon, colon, em dash, en dash, hyphen, parentheses, brackets, braces, apostrophe, double quotation marks, single quotation marks, and ellipsis — and they’re not as scary as they look.

TeePublic

Here is a handy chart that keeps all 16 punctuation marks at your fingertips.

Thanks to: http://www.yourdictionary.com

Prepare your trees for severe weather

Spring showers, summer thunderstorms, a winter dusting of snow; these are familiar weather events for Midwesterners, but as climate changes so do weather events. Extreme weather is increasing.

Over the past 120 years, significant changes have occurred that are causing more extreme weather events, according to a recently published report from The Nature Conservancy in Illinois “An Assessment of the Impacts of Climate Change in Illinois.” Heat waves have increased, and as a result, summer storm intensity has increased. The number of extremely cold days, with temperatures less than 32°F, will decrease and the freeze-free season will be extended. Warmer winter temperatures result in heavy rain and snow events.

Photo by Sarah Hughson. Storms in any season can damage trees. Preventing damage starts before a tree is planted by selecting the right species for the site.

The impact of climate change is not limited to humans. Plants, especially long-lived plants such as trees, are affected by these changes too.

So many of us love the trees in our lives and it can be devastating to see one fail because of a weather event. Taking actions before and after a storm can help promote tree resilience and longevity.

Regardless of the type of storm, healthy trees are better able to withstand severe weather. Healthy trees are well balanced in form, free from disease and injury, and have adequate root systems.

Proper, regular care of young trees contributes to the development of healthy mature trees. Planting the right tree in the right place is the first step to having resilient trees.

Tree species vary in site condition preferences and tolerances so matching tree requirements to site conditions will promote its establishment and overall health. Assessing a tree’s form and making proper pruning cuts when necessary, can create a canopy that is well balanced, encourages a single leader, and has strong branch attachment angles. Providing supplemental water to young trees during times of drought encourages root system development. Strong root systems support healthy canopies by providing adequate amounts of water and nutrients and help anchor the tree.

During a severe weather event, extra stress is put on the tree. Snow and ice storms add extra weight to the branches and cause breaking or failure. High winds can ‘push’ trees over in an event known as wind throw when root systems are not capable of resisting the extra force put on the canopy. Winds may also cause tree trunks to fail at weak points or trunks may sustain damage due to twisting of the canopy.

Drought stress can cause short- and long-term damage to trees. Extreme heat can contribute to canopy dieback and health decline. Extreme cold can cause twig and branch die back or destroy flower and leaf buds.

After a storm or weather-related event, your safety is the priority. Stay away from any fallen powerline or tree interacting with a powerline.

Utility lines should always be considered live and dangerous. Call the utility provider before damage assessment and site clean-up.

After a weather-related event, many factors contribute to determining which trees require maintenance to restore health or have sustained fatal injuries. A certified arborist is a trained professional who can assist with assessment and tree removal if necessary. It is recommended that routine inspections be conducted on trees remaining on a site to monitor for decline or disease.

Finally, trees provide a wide variety of services in our communities – from cooling homes to creating habitat for wildlife. If trees are lost, after clean-up has occurred, replanting is the final step in recovery. Planting and caring for trees ensures that the landscape will continue to have these life supporting species for years to come.

By Horticulture Educator Emily Swihart for Gardeners Corner Fall 2022: University of Illinois Extension

ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill Dead at the Age Of 72

imdb.com

Joe Michael “Dusty” Hill was an American musician who was the bassist of the rock band ZZ Top for more than 50 years. He also sang lead and backing vocals and played keyboards.

The music world lost another legend. This time a bassist from ZZ Top, the band’s legendary bassist Dusty Hill passed away at the age of 72. According to Hill’s bandmates, he passed away at his home, in Houston Texas. They’ve posted a statement from social media accounts to share Dusty Hill’s loss.

“We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX,” the surviving ZZ Top members write. “We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ‘Top’. We will forever be connected to that “Blues Shuffle in C. You will be missed greatly, amigo.”

Metal Shout.

Source: ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill Dead at the Age Of 72 (msn.com)

Ghost Spots: A Weather Folklore

Are “cold spots” in rooms caused by paranormal activity?

Dark-Forest-Woods-AdobeStock

Long before modern science began to understand the processes that create our weather, people made up their own explanations. Many of these accounts were fantastic in nature, with evil or benevolent gods, monsters, and spirits controlling the elements. In this series, we’ll explore some of these ancient myths and share the science behind them. Weather + mythology = weather-ology!

One of the most common beliefs about ghosts is that you can detect their presence by temperature. “Cold spots” – areas where the temperature is much lower than the surrounding air – are said to accompany paranormal visitors. This belief can be found everywhere from the most ancient ghost stories to contemporary ghost hunters who come equipped with sophisticated modern instruments.

A common theory among believers is that ghosts leach thermal energy from the air in order to manifest themselves in our world.

Skeptics posit alternate explanations for purported ghostly cold spots. For one thing, they say, the body’s response to fear superficially resembles its response to cold. A person exhibiting goosebumps, hairs standing on end, tight muscles, clammy hands, or other common signs of fear may mistake these responses for coldness.

In addition, temperatures are not uniform across even relatively small areas. Many factors can influence the temperature of a given spot, including drafts and proximity to a source of heat or sunlight.

Furthermore, according to the second law of thermodynamics, heat can neither be created nor destroyed. If ghosts were responsible for a cold spot, say skeptics, there should be an accompanying hot spot somewhere nearby.

Of course, ghost hunters and other believers have their own answers to each of those explanations. Because modern ghost hunters use thermometers and thermal imaging equipment, they say the subjective experience of a person’s fear response doesn’t factor in.

In addition, they say, science has yet to understand – or even acknowledge – paranormal entities, so the laws of thermodynamics could be flawed, or at least incomplete, when it comes to the effect ghosts have on the physical world.

So what do you think? Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever felt a cold spot you couldn’t explain?

by Jaime McLeod for Farmers almanac

Treasury I bond rates poised to slide in November

The Treasury Department’s popular inflation-protected I bonds won’t return as much when the rate adjusts on November 1, so buying them now is a better bet.

The rate will be at least 6.48%, according to estimates from Ken Tumin, a senior industry analyst at Lending Tree and founder of DepositAccounts.com, down from the current 9.62% the I bonds are offering until the end of October. The rate applies for the first six months you hold the bond.

(Photo Credit: Getty Creative_© Provided by Yahoo Finance US)

That’s the second-best rate since November 2005 when the composite rate was 6.73% and the seventh-highest since the bond’s introduction in 1998, according to Treasury data. But if inflation cools quickly over the next six months, the bond won’t be worth as much.

“For November I bond purchases, we only can know the first six months I bond inflation rate. We won’t be able to estimate exactly the May I bond inflation rate until mid-April 2023,” Tumin said. “It’s possible that the inflation rate could be much less. Then, the I bond will look much less appealing — like it has been before 2021.”

Time to buy is now

And there’s still time to pick up your I bonds with a 9.62% rate before the end of the month.

If you purchase one between now and the end of October, you’ll earn the current lofty composite interest rate of 9.62% for the first six months. And then the expected lower rate of 6.48% will kick in for the next six months. The combo will land you a respectable annual rate of more than 8%.

But even if you look at it as a one-year investment, it’s a good deal.

“You can determine the return for I bonds purchased in October and redeemed in October to December 2023 by taking into account the three-month early withdrawal penalty, when redeemed from one to five years after purchase, and that still comes out to close to 7%,” Tumin said, “which is way above today’s top one-year CD rate [of] 4.00% APY.”

You can buy I bonds with no fee from the Treasury’s website, TreasuryDirect. In general, you can only purchase up to $10,000 in I bonds each calendar year. But there are ways to bump up that amount, such as using your federal tax refund to directly buy an additional $5,000 in I bonds.

You should “complete the purchase of this bond in TreasuryDirect by October 28, 2022 to ensure issuance by October 31, 2022,” according to the site.

One niggle: I bonds must be held for a minimum of a year and, as Tumin noted, bonds redeemed before five years lose the last quarter’s interest.

Writer: Kerry Hannon for Yahoo Finance

Follow her on Twitter @kerryhannon