Know When To See Your Doctor
While many conditions that cause knee pain can be helped by exercise, in some instances it may not be appropriate, says Dr. Lauren Elson, an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. You should stop exercising and see a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
Knee Cartilage Damage Causes
The most common cause of knee cartilage wear is osteoarthritis. Knee cartilage loss can be due to an injury to the knee such as a ligament tear, patellar dislocation, or meniscal tear. In addition, loss of cartilage can be triggered by lifestyle factors such as weight gain, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Also, inflammatory arthritis conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis can lead to further damage.
Couch To 5k Running Plan
New to running? Couch to 5K gets you off the sofa and running in just 9 weeks.
The One You Couch to 5K app gives you a choice of running coaches and helps you track your progress.
As well as Laura, who features on the NHS Couch to 5K podcasts, you can also be coached by celebrities Jo Whiley, Sarah Millican, Sanjeev Kohli or Michael Johnson.
How To Improve Your Knee Stability
1. Knee extension: The most basic exercise of allthat actually really helpsis a knee extension, which is Brannigan’s favorite knee-strengthening move. “All you need to do is sit on an elevated surface so when your knees are at the edge and your legs hang down, they don’t touch the floor,” he says. Then simply bring your knee from a bent to a straight position. Once that gets easy, he recommends adding weight or resistancebut start with a manageable weight so that you don’t overload the joint. “You want to isolate the vastus medialis in the lower quadricep,” he says. “If you extend the knee straight and hold the position, the muscle here should feel dense and hard.”
2. Single-leg balance: Start by standing on one leg and holding for 30 to 60 secondsif that’s easy, Brannigan says to stand on a cushion or a Bosu ball at the gym. “The instability under the foot will help to strengthen muscles throughout the foot, ankle, and lower leg which helps provide a better foundation for the knee,” he says, noting you can even challenge yourself further by holding a light weight out to your side.
There Are Many Ways To Strengthen The Muscles Of Your Knees
So it comes down to your preferences, as research suggests:
Pilates, aerobic and strengthening exercise programmes performed for 8-12 weeks, 3-5 sessions per week each session lasting 1 h appear to be effective. Both aquatic and land-based programmes show comparable and positive effects. Raposo, 2021
You May Like: Best Knee Walker 2016
How To Keep Your Knees Healthy
Your knees carry you through many journeys in life, but as we age or overuse these joints, they begin to show signs of wear and tear. Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis, affecting 80% of those 55 and older. This disease is caused by damage or breakdown of joint cartilage between bones over time. Some cases can result in reduced function and disability, limiting affected individuals’ ability to perform daily tasks. However, there are things you can do to keep your knees healthy and preserve your mobility throughout your life.
Exercises For Arthritis In The Knee
As you mature, arthritis may creep into your joints and make your knees ache. This may be exacerbated if you have played sport for a long time.
There are some exercises that will help to strengthen your muscles, so that your knee does not take as much strain and you will be able to manage the pain just a bit better.
Don’t Miss: My Knees Crack When I Squat
The Smartest Moves For Knee Stability
Dr. Coleman shares exercise advice with his patients regularly, and not unlike a personalized overall treatment plan, he considers your medical history, current health, age, and other factors when he shares this knowledge.
Your knees are the largest joints in your body, and the muscles around your knee should be well-balanced and strong so too much pressure isnt put on them. Your knee ligaments, cartilage, and the meniscus all bear the brunt of it. Since your knee is a joint that moves in just one direction, building stability is critical.
For maintaining knee stability, Dr. Coleman recommends a series of easy-to-do exercises that you can perform anywhere, anytime. Theyre good for establishing and maintaining knee stability or for building it up again if youve had knee surgery.
Ways To Care For Your Cartilage
Losing your joint cartilage ages you fast. It takes away your independence and leaves you in constant, awful pain. Here are 5 ways to make sure your joints stay supple and pain-free.
1. Elastin: Its a protein found in connective tissue that works alongside collagen. Like the name suggests, it allows your tissue to stretch. Not having enough causes wrinkles to form on your face. But itll also weaken the cartilage in your joints, robbing you of your mobility.1
To stay loose and pain-free, your best bet is to find foods that support the elastin in your body. Vitamin C is essential. Foods like red bell pepper, broccoli, kiwi, and kale are great sources. They have more vitamin C per serving than an orange.
2. Astaxanthin: The cartilage in your knee joints is just as prone to damage from free radicals as your eyes and skin.2 A powerful antioxidant will help keep it protected. And astaxanthin is 60 times stronger than vitamin C when it comes to fighting oxidative stress.
Astaxanthin can be found naturally in cold water fish like salmon. A six ounce serving will give you about four milligrams. You can find the same amount in supplement form too. And if youre already taking krill oil, youre getting some astaxanthin in each serving.
You can get more of this vitamin simply by spending more time in the sun. You can also add more of it to your diet by eating eggs, mushrooms, and wild-caught salmon. If youre going to take a supplement, make sure it comes from a natural food source.
Don’t Miss: How Much Does Aflac Pay For Knee Surgery
Symptoms Of Cartilage Damage
Symptoms of cartilage damage in a joint include:
- joint pain this may continue even when resting and worsen when you put weight on the joint
- swelling this may not develop for a few hours or days
- a clicking or grinding sensation
- the joint locking, catching, or giving way
It can sometimes be difficult to tell a cartilage injury apart from other common joint injuries, such as sprains, as the symptoms are similar.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Obesity is a major risk factor for problems in the knee. The knee bears a lot of pressure from the body during activities like walking and running. A heavy weight increases the pressure placed on the knee jointparticularly as your level of activity increases. Even small weight losses can help. Maintaining a healthy body mass index is a good goal to set to protect your joints.
Also Check: What Is The Best Knee Walker
Symptoms Of Knee Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis in the knee often introduces itself to you in four basic ways, says Dr. Orlandi. Those symptoms are:
- Pain, which can vary in intensity from dull to sharp. Itll often spike with more rigorous activity and ease with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications.
- Stiffness in the joint, particularly after youve been sitting or lying down for longer periods.
- Loss of flexibility and range of motion.
- Swelling and a warm, burning sensation usually a sign of more advanced arthritis.
Dont Miss: Bioknee Cost
When To See A Doctor
Joint laxity decreases with age, and it can become difficult to tell which aches and pains are a normal part of a maturing body and which signal injury or chronic disease. Arthritis, meniscus and ligament tears, fractures, and other serious conditions usually require a proper diagnosis. You should see a doctor if your creaks and aches progress to any of the following symptoms:
- Inability to walk
Also Check: Ginger Poultice For Knee Pain
Should You Avoid Certain Exercises With Oa
Nothing is off-limits until your body says so, advises Dr. Orlandi: Dont approach your fitness routine with the idea that you just cant do something, she says. Instead, look at moderation and modification.
So if youve been a runner for years, osteoarthritis doesnt mean you have to toss away your running shoes. Instead, consider scaling back mileage or intensity to ease strain on your knees. Try other activities, too, to work different muscles.
Just listen to your body and adjust accordingly, says Dr. Orlandi. And the most important thing? Dont use osteoarthritis as an excuse to stop exercising and working your knees and surrounding muscles.
If you have pain that lasts a few days after a workout, its certainly OK to back off a little. But dont take it as a message to stop.
Giving up and throwing your hands in the air isnt the answer for osteoarthritis, says Dr. Orlandi. Build exercise and movement into your lifestyle. Youll be better off for it.
How To Strengthen Knee Joints: Stabilize And Strengthen Your Knee Muscles
This article was co-authored by Jonathan Frank, MD and by wikiHow staff writer, Amber Crain. Dr. Jonathan Frank is an Orthopedic Surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California, specializing in sports medicine and joint preservation. Dr. Frank’s practice focuses on minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, hip, and elbow. Dr. Frank holds an MD from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed an orthopedic residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a fellowship in Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Hip Preservation at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. He is a staff team physician for the US Ski and Snowboard Team. Dr. Frank is currently a scientific reviewer for top peer-reviewed scientific journals, and his research has been presented at regional, national, and international orthopedic conferences, winning several awards including the prestigious Mark Coventry and William A Grana awards.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
Recommended Reading: Dcf Knee Compression Sleeve
Do These 9 Exercises To Strengthen Weak Knees
There are certain situations where its okay to be weak in the knees.
Like, say, on Valentines Day. Or your wedding day.
But during your workouts? Thats never okay.
This is because having weak knees is an injury waiting to happen. It may not occur instantly, but know that if your knees arent supported correctly during your training, the excess strain youre putting on them will eventually cause you pain.
And since we dont like pain unless its some good old-fashioned muscle soreness from a great workout, Im here to help you avoid it with nine powerhouse knee-strengthening exercises.
Now, before we get into these exercises to strengthen knees, lets take a look at what actually causes weak knees in the first place, so we can understand how these exercises are working for us.
Meet Dr Britton Who Is Revolutionizing Healthcare And Pain Management
Dr. RKione Britton
Dr. Britton is currently a Board-Eligible Functional Neurologist. Studying functional neuro-kinesiologist through the Carrick Institute. He has already completed over 2000 post-doctoral hours in neuroscience and Kinesiology.
In addition to his Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Britton has undertaken additional postgraduate studies. Comprehensive coursework in Functional Neuro-Orthopedic Rehabilitation. He has over 100 hours of training in Professional Kinesiology and is certified in the advanced Myofascial Release soft-tissue technique of NMR. He also practices the Chiropractic BioPhysics® technique for addressing the unique cellular properties of bone that allow for utilizing the bioelectric properties of the skeleton and allow the reversal of degenerative damages to the spine and skeleton.
West LA Neuro-Kinesiology: Nerve, Disc, & Neuropathy
Two terms as President of the Student American Chiropractic Association .
Orange County physician coordinator for Arthritis Introspective, a support group for those with arthritis, inflammatory diseases and autoimmune disorders.
Read Also: Best Knee Brace For Basketball Meniscus
Read Also: Inversion Table Knees
Optimize Your Movement Patterns
For athletes, the benefits of such preventive programs are clear. For the average person with for now no knee pain, its more debatable. Its also a philosophical question, Dr. Roos said: theres a risk of over-medicalizing life by spending all your energy trying to prevent problems that havent yet happened.
But there are some relatively unobtrusive ways of tilting the odds in your favor, even if youre currently healthy. Dr. Roos suggested focusing on high-quality movement patterns during day-to-day activities like getting up from a chair: use both feet and no hands, and keep the knee and hip aligned over the foot. Apply similar focus to climbing stairs and sitting down on the toilet if you cant keep the joints aligned, thats a sign you need to strengthen your leg and hip muscles.
Go Short And Frequent
Still, theres a limit to how quickly the joint can adapt to unfamiliar stresses. Jean-François Esculier, head of research for The Running Clinic and Ms. Kahns co-author, suggested that knee pain that persists for more than an hour after exercise, or that shows up the morning after a workout, is a sign that the joint was overloaded. That doesnt mean you need to stop exercising, he said, but that you should adjust what youre doing.
Consider shorter and more frequent workouts. According to Keith Baar, a physiologist at the University of California, Davis, who studies the molecular properties of cartilage and other connective tissues, the cells in cartilage respond positively to exercise for about 10 minutes. After that, youre just accumulating more stress and damage in the tissue with no further adaptive benefits. So, if a weekly two-hour tennis marathon leaves you with aching knees, you might try swapping it out for one-hour sessions twice a week.
Don’t Miss: Bioknee Cost
Exercise And Knee Pain
If your knee pain is due to an injury, surgery, or arthritis, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises may help ease the pain while also improving your flexibility and range of motion.
Exercising a knee thats injured or arthritic may seem counterintuitive, but in fact, exercise is better for your knee than keeping it still. Not moving your knee can cause it to stiffen, and this may worsen the pain and make it harder to go about your daily activities.
Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises can strengthen the muscles that support your knee joint. Having stronger muscles can reduce the impact and stress on your knee, and help your knee joint move more easily.
Before you start an exercise program for knee pain, be sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist to make sure the exercises are safe for you. Depending on your situation, they may recommend some modifications.
Knee Cartilage Repair: How One Patient Proved His Doctors Wrong
In my mid-40s, I damaged my knees climbing a lot of steep hills on my bicycle. I wasnt alarmed at first. But when they failed to improve after many months of physical therapy, I began to wonder if Id ever heal.
I went to see an orthopedic doctor who, during an exam, had me do a squat as if I were sitting down on an invisible chair. The cartilage in my knee joints made an ugly noise, like someone rolling over a bag full of damp potato chips.
A few minutes later, he delivered his verdict: Your knees will never get better. My condition could worsen into osteoarthritis in as few as several years, he said.
This prognosis depressed me. But I refused to give up without a fight. Though I lacked medical training, I was an Ivy League graduate and veteran journalist. I was trained to sift, analyze and synthesize data.
Thus began a research odyssey. I read medical textbooks and highly specialized journals and discovered some amazing things. This knowledge empowered me to set out on a self-directed recovery program, an experience described in my book, Saving My Knees.
One discovery above all gave me the courage to persevere: Bad cartilage can heal and get stronger. That claim may seem remarkable. Yet it has been validated by medical studies. I wrote Saving My Knees partly because to my astonishment no knee book I knew of cited these studies and explored their implications.
Read Also: Getting Rid Of Fat Around Knees
Recommended Reading: Inversion Table Benefits For Knees
To Get Better Results
If you have healthy knees, aim for 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps of each exercise. If you havent worked out in a while, start with one set and build up from there.
If you have osteoarthritis, try to do these exercises 3-5 times per week for 8-12 weeks. Studies suggest this can help you manage the knee pain and improve your knee function.
- Stop doing these exercises if theyre painful or you feel a sharp pain in your knees.
- Dont push through the pain or you risk getting injured.
- Mild swelling is common, mostly if you havent exercised in a while. Too much swelling is a sign that you might be doing too much or theres an injury.
- Reduce the number of sets or repetitions if you have too much muscle soreness afterward.
- Combine these exercises with good sleep and nutrition habits for best results.
If you arent sure whether you can do these exercises or not, consult with a physical therapist first.