5 Ways to Take Care of Your Knees

5 Ways to Take Care of Your Knees

Our feet are our tires but it’s our knees that keep us going. These joints are our wheels and keeping them healthy is essential to our mobility. With over half a million knee replacements done in 2011 the number is expected to rise into the millions over the next decade.

These 5 ways to take care of your knees may help keep you off the surgery list and motoring along on your own, natural wheels for the rest of your days. All it takes is some attention to health and muscle building so you could be leaping over your hobbling friends in no time.

Take it Down a Notch (or ten)

For every pound you carry it is about an extra five pounds on your knee joints. Therefore, if you are ten pounds overweight you are putting fifty extra pounds on your joints.

According to a study by Stephen P. Messier, PhD, of Wake Forest University,

“The accumulated reduction in knee load for a 1-pound loss in weight would be more than 4,800 pounds per mile walked,…For people losing 10 pounds, each knee would be subjected to 48,000 pounds less in compressive load per mile walked.”

Losing weight could be a major knee injury preventative. Talk to your doctor about a healthy weight loss program that works best for you.

Retread

If your footwear is not conducive to your individual anatomy it could mean a slow wear and tear on your knees that becomes irreversible.

Rush University Medical Center sports medicine surgeon, Dr. Charles Bush-Joseph comments on proper footwear for knee pain prevention,

“When high heels lift your heel up, your weight bearing line tips forward so your quadriceps have to work harder to hold your knee straight, which then leads to knee pain,…Whereas, if your heel is closer to the floor in low pumps or flats, your thigh muscles don’t have to work as hard to maintain stability, which is easier on the knees.”

It is also important to note that as we age our foot size can change. Sticking to the shoe size you grew into as an adult may need to be readjusted, namely by about half an inch. This can significantly improve knee support. Talk to your podiatrist about footwear options and possibly orthotics for sustaining knee health.

Build It

The musculature surrounding the knee is equivalent to a fortress around a castle. If these muscles are weak in any capacity the stress on the knee can be tenfold. The thigh muscles (called the vastus group) need to be worked in three quadrants: outside (lateral), middle (intermedius) and inside (medial). There’s also the calf which can be worked all at once.

Building these two groups can support and protect the knees. Talk to your doctor, a physical therapist or professional trainer for proper, safe technique.

Watch Your Wheels

As you age you just can’t do the things you used to. If you are using your knees irresponsibly you are basically setting yourself up for a big fall.

Watch your wheels keeping these tips in mind:

  • Lifting heavy weight needs to be done with your glutes (butt) and thighs.
  • Climbing stairs should be done carefully.
  • Jumping off ledges should be avoided.
  • Staying away from high impact or knee, weight bearing exercises is essential.
  • Squats could be too much for certain knees.

Food Medicine

That’s right, what you eat can actually have an impact on your knee health. Internal inflammation is a very real condition in much of the population that eat a Western diet.

Processed foods, white flour, sugar, and preservatives could make you susceptible to unseen inflammation. When this inflammation occurs it puts stress not only on your joints but many other parts of your body as well.

Stick to an anti-inflammatory diet which includes live produce (fresh fruits and vegetables), legumes, whole grains, fatty fish and plenty of filtered water.

Some anti-inflammatory players that also come in supplement form are turmeric, tart cherry juice, bromelain (from pineapples) and boswellia (from trees and shrubs found in Asia and Africa).

These 5 ways to take care of your knees should give you a good template on starting and maintaining strong joint practices. Keep your knees healthy so you can dance into old age without a care in the world.



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