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How To Improve Knee Health

Want Healthy Knees Focus On Ankle And Hip Mobility

How to Keep Knees Healthy (Improve Ankle Plantar Flexion)

It may sound counterintuitive, but when we have knee issues, where do we focus most of our attention? The knees, right? You know what else? That’s a big part of the problem!

The fact of the matter is that knee issues are typically due to issues at other areas of the body, not the knees themselves. Lack of hip mobility in all planes can not only lead to knee pain, but back pain as well. Eric Cressey and I covered about a zillion hip mobility exercises in our Magnificent Mobility DVD, so I’d highly suggest checking it out.

However, one area we didn’t cover as in-depth was ankle mobility, and this area is often poorly addressed, or worse yet, not addressed at all! After reviewing Mike Boyle’s Functional Strength Coach DVD series, I realized how poor sagittal plane ankle mobility is in many athletes. Here are some drills to help out:

In the first exercise, all you’re going to do is set up next to a wall with your feet a few inches away from it . Rest your hands on the wall, place all your weight on your heels, and then stay tall and try to “shoot” your knees over your toes.

In this second exercise, you’re going to place a small board underneath your toes to put you into a dorsiflexed position. I find it easiest to place this board in front of the wall so you can balance yourself with your hands.

While staying tall, you’re again going to try and “shoot” your knees over your toes. Don’t worry if there isn’t a ton of range of motion at first it’ll improve as you practice it.

How Effective Are Turmeric Supplements For Knee Pain

A study involving 367 people with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis found that taking turmeric curcumin extracts for 4 weeks was as effective in reducing knee pain, knee stiffness and improving knee joint function as ibuprofen but with fewer gastrointestinal side effects.

Turmeric can be combined with glucosamine and chondroitin to produce a faster onset of action and improved results.

I recommend selecting a turmeric supplement that provides solubilised turmeric, as this is 185 times better absorbed than normal turmeric powder, for a more rapid onset of action.

How Krill Oil Reduces Knee Pain

While plainomega-3 fish oils and cod liver oil are popular for preventing and treating knee pain, krill oil has the advantage of supplying long-chain, omega-3 fatty acids plus antioxidant pigments for an enhanced anti-inflammatory effect.

The long-chain omega-3s, EPA and DHA, are processed in the body to reduce formation of inflammatory substances known as leukotrienes. These omega-3s reduce inflammation, stiffness, swelling and, in people with different types of arthritis can reduce the number of painful joints, and the long-term need for pain killers.

Both the omega 3s and the antioxidants found in krill oil have an anti-inflammatory action which help to reduce joint pain, stiffness and swelling in people with rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. In a trial involving 90 people with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, levels of inflammation were reduced by 19% within 7 days, in those taking 300mg krill oil a day, and by 30% within 2 weeks. In those taking placebo, levels of inflammation increased.

As well as helping your knee pain, krill oil is beneficial for the heart and circulation, too.

Read Also: How To Whiten Knees And Elbows

Is Squatting Bad For Your Knees

The short answer: No, especially with proper conditioning of the knees.

Understanding how the knee works and what can go wrong is different from knowing what will or wont aggravate issues going on in your body.

We see comments every day from people, saying things like squatting is bad for your knees, or, if you move like that, youre going to wreck your knees, or, my doctor said to only do X, and youre showing Y, so thats clearly going to hurt people.

99% of these comments are coming from a good place. If someone has had a particular experience thats hurt their knees, they want to share that experience with others, to help them avoid injuries.

The problem with taking those comments at face value is that they dont account for the very wide range of responses that can occur in different peoples bodies. Just because squatting a certain way aggravated John Smiths knee injury doesnt mean it will do the same for you.

Plus, certain motions may technically be wrong for the knees, but if done with proper mechanics and with some nuances, and if you are adequately prepared, they are not dangerous by any means.

In this video, I demonstrate twisting and rotational movements, distinguishing between safe and unsafe approaches:

Strengthen The Muscles Surrounding Your Knee

How to Improve Joint Health (2020)

While you may be focused on avoiding knee pain, directing your attention to building the muscles that surround your knee may be an even better way to stay pain-free.

“The best way for 60-plus adults to keep their knees healthy is to train all the muscles that support the knee,” says WITS certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist Joy Fletcher, co-founder of Agile 4 Life Fitness. “That means train all the muscles in the quadriceps, but also the hamstring muscles, as well as the abductor and adductor muscles . Any muscle imbalances will cause further knee wear and tear.”

For more ways to improve your knee health, avoid these Walking Mistakes That Are Killing Your Knees, Experts Say.

Eat This, Not That!

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Exercises To Help Improve Bad Knees And What To Avoid

Many people with knee pain or knee problems have difficulty working out and finding ways to get physical activity. Sometimes it is hard to find workouts that dont cause pain and that are sustainable. Many people think that just because they have knee pain that they cant workout or that they shouldnt workout but that is not true. It is important for all people to get physical activity and the health benefits of working out are important for many health conditions.

So, what can you do to help improve bad knees ?

First of all, whether you have knee problems or not, all of us should be mindful during any workout that knees stay in line with toes, not wavering in or out of alignment during an exercise. This includes when doing step exercises and when performing squats. The worst exercises for knee joints for people with bad knees include full-arc knee extension including using the machine at the gym, full-deep lunges, deep squats, and Hurdlers stretches, because these exercises place excessive strain on the knee joints and can increase pain and cause injury. These exercises are especially harmful when not performed properly, which can also increase risk of injury.

Calf Raises can be performed near a wall or a chair for balance. You will stand with your feet about hip width apart and toes straight ahead. You will slowly lift your heels off of the floor, rising up on your toes, hold for 1-2 seconds and then slowly lower back down.

Lateral Hip And Thigh Stretch

  • Stand upright with feet flat on the floor.
  • Cross the left leg in front of the right foot.
  • Keeping both feet flat on the floor, lean to the left by bending at the waist and pushing out the right hip.
  • People should be able to feel a gentle stretch in the outer right hip.
  • Hold for 1520 seconds, and repeat the whole exercise 35 times.
  • Repeat with the opposite leg.
  • The Arthritis Foundation recommend the following exercises and stretches for managing osteoarthritis knee pain. These exercises might help strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, and buttocks to support the knee joint.

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    Stretch Your Hip Flexors

    Your hip flexors help with your overall stability and are important for explosive movements like jumping and sprinting. Hip flexors also help take stress off of your quads, which is important since excess stress on your quads means more stress on your knee.

    How to stretch your hip flexors:

  • Kneel on one knee, with your other leg bent for support
  • Lift the arm on the same side as your bent knee upwards, reaching for the ceiling
  • Tilt your pelvis forward
  • Hold for about 30 seconds
  • Body On Knee Flexion Exercise After Knee Surgery Prom

    • HOW: Sitting on a bed or couch, remove your knee immobilizer. Put your heel on the ground with your knee unsupported. Using your arms and non-surgical leg, scoot your bottom forward with your surgical knee moving forward over your foot, moving into knee flexion. Use your arms and your non-surgical leg to return to starting position.
    • FEEL: You should feel a stretching sensation both around the front of your knee and even behind your knee. This should only be a mild discomfort, and not too much pain! As you continue to relax into a new, available range of motion, you can continue to move your body forward.
    • COMPENSATION: Avoid leaning your hip away towards the opposite leg. Keep your hips square and even without shifting your weight away.

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    Simple Fixes For Chronic Knee Pain

    The focus of this article isnt to analyze all the different types of knee conditions and give you recommendations based on your specific clinical diagnosis. If its a diagnosis youre seeking, consult with a qualified licensed medical professional in your local area to help diagnose, plan and treat these more serious presentations.

    This article will focus on how to help you figure out the origins of your chronic knee pain and the role that your activities and training may be playing in your inability to get back to being pain-free. Figuring out preventative ways to reduce the likelihood of injury should always be best practice. Unfortunately, we live in a highly reactive society when it comes to our health. Its commonplace to wait until we have a glaring red flag issue before finally addressing it. We simply try and put out the fire when discomfort occurs instead of preventing it from ever becoming an issue, as being proactive is hardly ever an initial thought.

    It would be extremely short sighted to say that all knee discomfort is created equal. However, how you manage knee discomfort is a whole different story. Have you gone the traditional route of rest, medications, and conservative treatment with minimal to no results? Are you at the point where you are considering surgery because all those traditional methods of managing knee discomfort didnt work?

    How Vitamin C Reduces Knee Pain

    People who obtain at least the recommended dietary intake of vitamin C, or higher, for example, are half as likely to develop osteoarthritis as those with lower intakes.

    Vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis and for the metabolism of joint cartilage. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant, especially in joint fluid.

    Poor intakes of vitamin C can lead to reduced collagen formation and slow joint healing. In contrast, good intakes of vitamin C can reduce cartilage loss and disease progression in osteoarthritis, while its antioxidant action reduces joint inflammation.

    Vitamin C stimulates bone-building cells to improve bone mineral density and support the overlying joint cartilage. Vitamin C may even help to prevent damage, cartilage loss and the development of osteoarthritis.

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    Get Your Body In Proper Alignment

    Ever see a car that’s out of alignment? Notice how it wears down those tires quickly? And the gas mileage you get is downright atrocious to boot. So what if your body is out of alignment?

    Well, just walking around could be a chore, and I can virtually guarantee one part of your knee joint is taking the brunt of the load. To make it worse, you’re probably squatting, deadlifting, and lunging heavily as well, which is kind of like speeding with that same faulty alignment. It’s going to catch up to you one of these days when the tires blow!

    Check out the Neanderthal No More series if you’re in need of a tune-up. Optimal alignment may not be easy, but the benefits far outweigh the time and energy it takes to get you there.

    What Else Can Help With Knee Pain

    10 Exercises to Improve Outcomes After Knee Replacement ...

    Finding relief from knee pain depends on the cause or issue thats making it difficult for you to go about your daily activities. Carrying excess weight puts extra stress on your knees, which may lead to osteoarthritis.

    In this case, the most effective treatment, according to the Cleveland Clinic, is weight loss. Your doctor may recommend a combination of diet and exercise to help you lose weight and strengthen the muscles in your lower body, especially around your knees.

    A 2013 study found that adults with overweight and knee osteoarthritis experienced a reduction in weight and knee pain after 18 months of a diet and exercise program.

    But if overuse is the culprit, your doctor will likely suggest RICE which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation and physical therapy. A physical therapist can work with you to develop a program that includes range of motion exercises, stretches, and muscle strengthening movements.

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    Extra Support Helps To Stabilize The Knee Joint

    In 2012, Kerr met Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute researcher, Dr. Michael Hunt. Seven years later, she became a participant in a research study Hunt is leading into the use of shoe-worn insoles as one strategy to treat knee OA.

    Kerr was fitted for six different types of shoe-worn insoles with different densities of padding and materials, which she was able to keep after participating in the study.

    Wearing her new insoles, Kerr underwent a 3D walking assessment in the Motion Analysis and Biofeedback Laboratory at UBC Hospital to track her lower limb and foot position. She also filled out a questionnaire and had measurements taken of her feet and lower leg. The last step in the study was to stand in a specialized open MRI machine while wearing the different insoles one at a time.

    The study is examining how the weight of the body is distributed across the joints. The manner in which bones stack on top of one another influences joint position, and research has shown that shoe-worn insoles can redistribute the load born by the knees by six to 10 per cent.

    Even a small redistribution of weight can make a big difference in terms of pain management, notes Hunt. However, the most effective type of orthotic varies by individual.

    There is no one-size-fits-all approach for osteoarthritis, says Hunt. We hope this research will aid in the development of patient-centred orthotics based on biomechanics, such as foot placement.

    Physical Therapy Evaluation For Knee And Hip Pain

    If your doctor refers you to a physical therapist for knee or hip pain, your initial appointment is essential for ensuring you receive the proper diagnosis and management. During your visit, the physical therapist will sit down with you and collect information about:

    • Your past medical history that could be contributing to your overall issue.
    • Your history of the issue youre experiencing.
    • The irritating and relieving factors.

    Once the physical therapist has gathered this pertinent information and history, an exam will likely follow, which could involve:

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    Use Targeted Exercises To Build Muscle

    Moderate exercise is an excellent way to help protect your knee joints. Building up the muscles around your knees helps reduce the stress on your joints. Your outer, middle, and inner thigh muscles and calf muscles help support your knees.

    Your local gym may offer senior exercise classes with instructors who have been specially trained to work with men and women over 50. Water aerobics is also a great way to get non-weight bearing exercise. If youd rather work out by yourself, check in with a trainer whos knowledgeable about senior exercise needs.

    At your next physical, ask your doctor to check your leg strength. If youre weak, physical therapy can help strengthen your muscles, and the therapist can show you beneficial exercises for your knees.

    Front Scale Quarter Circle

    Knee C.A.R. (Improve Mobility)

    The front scale is an exercise with many benefits, but this variation is especially good for improving balance and coordination with straight leg positioning. Those are important attributes for the health of your knees because theyll help you control your movements in precarious positions.

    • Stand with feet together, and raise one leg up in the air. Keep both knees locked out as you do so, and maintain an upright posture.
    • Once your front leg is at the top position , keep your torso stable as you rotate your leg out to the side, opening up the hip.
    • Dont be concerned about how much you are able to lift your leg, or how far you can rotate it outward. Just work within the ranges that you can.

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    Fix Your Knee Pain: A Routine For Healthy Knees

    Heres where things get fun

    If you have existing knee pain , there are 3 main things youll want to focus on:

    For the first two, see our leg strength routine and our hip mobility routine. For the third focus, though, the following routine will be an important key to getting your knees feeling better.

    One note before we get into the routine: The idea with these exercises is not to work through your painplease do not do that! Go slowly, and only work within ranges that do not exacerbate your knee pain. Over time, those ranges may increase, but for now, just work at your own level.

    As you can see, the purpose of these movements is not to get a workout or to try to get as many reps as you can. The purpose is to introduce your body, and specifically your knees, to movements in different planes.

    Giving your knees this kind of regular motion will help them start to feel more at ease with movement. Plus, by getting comfortable with these types of movements in a controlled and gentle manner, youll increase your ability to avoid re-injuring your knee if you wind up moving in those ways, even if inadvertently.


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