Don’t Skip The Exercise Even If You Have A Structural Problem
The key is to know your limits. Strength training that focuses heavily on building up muscles in the quadriceps and hamstrings can decrease pain and help people better tolerate arthritis and other structural knee problems. Staying active helps control weight and build muscle, both of which can help protect your knees from further damage.
The best exercises for people with structural knee problems include nonimpact aerobic exercises, such as walking on level ground, training on an elliptical machine, using a stationary bike, swimming and doing water aerobics. Its also wise to avoid activities that put extra stress on the knees such as kneeling, deep knee bends and downhill running.
How Can I Keep My Knees Strong And Stay Mobile
Your knee is the largest joint in your body. It is also one of the most complex, with a mix of bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons, all working together.
Keeping your knees healthy and strong can help stave off potential injuries and knee deterioration as you age, helping you remain mobile. Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are common knee problems that seniors face, but there are steps you can take to help your chances of avoiding those painful conditions.
Dr. Zachary Sandbulte of answered questions about exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and developing range of motion to improve your knees.
Foods To Help Build Cartilage
Now that we have taken a good look at how we can ultimately heal knee pain with a better and more balanced diet, lets see how our diet can help us build cartilage and which foods help to accomplish that.
- Legumes. Since inflammation is one of the key causes of cartilage breakdown, it only makes sense to avoid it whenever possible. Legumes are a good food option for this because of their high protein content. They help replenish collagen that is necessary to rebuild cartilage.
- Oranges. Collagen is a protein that is also needed to make Vitamin C, another primary component of cartilage. Oranges have a good amount of Vitamin C, which goes a long way in promoting the building up of collagen to promote cellular healing.
- Pomegranates. This fruit is an antioxidant and also contains anti-inflammatory properties. Research from the Case Western Reserve University has shown that they can help your body produce substances that can ultimately protect cartilage.
- Brown Rice. This is a food that contains hyaluronic acid, which is used in a lot of joint treatments. It helps to lubricate the joints and absorbs shock to the joints.
- Nuts. To maximize the amount of hyaluronic acid in your diet, your body also needs magnesium so that it can absorb as much as possible from the foods you are eating. Almonds, Brazil nuts, and sesame seeds are all excellent sources of magnesium.
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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.
Star Pattern Step Knee Bends
Heres a good exercise for working on controlling your knee positioning while in motion.
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart. Stretch one leg out in front of you on the ground, as you bend your other knee to help your foot slide forward.
- Stand back up then repeat in a similar way, but this time bringing your foot out at a 45-degree angle in front of you. Repeat three or four more times, each time moving your foot further to the side/back.
- Repeat on the other side.
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Tips For Protecting Your Knees During Exercise
Knees that creak, ache, or outright hurt limit your daily activity and ability to do all the fun things you enjoy. Dont let a bum knee hold you back. Stay active, but protect your knees during exercise to keep this joint healthy.
Follow these five precautions to keep your knees healthy even during rigorous workouts.
Five Steps To Improve Strength And Flexibility
Although collateral ligament injuries often occur during sports and are difficult to avoid, there are several steps you can take to improve the overall strength and flexibility of your knees:
- Manage your weight Every pound in excess of your normal weight puts three or four additional pounds of pressure on your knee every time you take a step.
- Keep your legs strong The hamstrings, in the back of the thigh, and the quadriceps, the muscles in the front of the thigh, are crucial shock and impact absorbers. These muscles must be kept strong and flexible to protect the joint surfaces in your knee.
- Stretch your muscles Stretching before exercising should be a regular part of your warm-up however, it is important not to over-stretch. Never push or pull on your leg with your hands while you are stretching, and avoid squatting during your warm-up, which can put stress on your knee joint.
- Wear proper shoes Well-cushioned, well-fitting athletic shoes can reduce the impact of the load exerted on the knees.
- Ease into shape If your activities require twisting and turning such as racket sports, skiing, soccer and basketball, don’t assume you can play yourself into shape. Make sure you are in good physical shape before you play.
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Dont Seek Salvation In A Bottle
Theres no high-quality evidence that supplements, including glucosamine and chondroitin, make any difference, according to both Dr. Roos and Dr. Whittaker though they dont appear to be harmful either.
If youre OK paying for it, and you want to take it because you think its doing something to preserve your joint, not a problem, Dr. Whittaker said. But in addition, can you please also be doing some cyclical weight-bearing activity and so on?
There is one intriguing possible exception. A small 2011 study by researchers at Tufts Medical Center found that cartilage quality in the knee improved after six months of taking 10 grams of collagen daily. More recently, Dr. Baars research on lab-grown ligaments, which, like cartilage, are primarily made of collagen, also supports the idea that consuming collagen before exercise can trigger new collagen synthesis in the body. But for now, the real-world benefits of this approach remain unproven.
To Dr. Whittaker, the most important priority remains debunking the notion that you should stop being active as soon as you notice knee pain. Staying active, strengthening the muscles around the joint and developing good movement patterns can alter, and in some cases reverse, the trajectory, she said. A lot of people think that osteoarthritis is just a normal consequence of aging, right? Its not inevitable. Theres a lot you can control.
Let Us Help You Pick Your Next Workout
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Muscles That Interact With The Knee
Theres a whole system of muscles that interact with the knee in some form or fashion, but the following are the most important:
- Pes anserine
- Gastrocnemius and soleus
If any of these muscles is tight, weak, or otherwise not functioning the way it should, it can get in the way of how your knee is able to move, and that can leave you open to injuries.
What Else Can Help With Knee Pain
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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Exercising To Strengthen Your Knees
Strengthen The Muscles Around Your Knees
While it is often tempting to avoid exercise and movement when your knees hurt, sometimes that isnt the best solution. Certain strengthening exercises can actually alleviate your current pain and prevent future problems by giving the knee extra support.
The Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons notes that strong, flexible muscles help keep the knees strong and healthy.
Consult your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen, especially if you are in pain. Once you are cleared, consider doing leg lifts, hamstring curls, step exercises, chair dips, or wall squats to strengthen the muscles throughout your legs.
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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.
How We Abuse Our Knees
Its true our knee joints can succumb to wear and tear over the years, and other factors can make the deterioration even worse. An injury, being overweight, or lack of muscle strength all contribute to pain and loss of mobility as we get older.
Osteoporosis is a major cause of knee pain, and it happens to be the most common type of arthritis. The cartilage that helps to cushion your knee joint degenerates leading to aches, stiffness, swelling, and immobility.
Repetitive stress like from running or kneeling can be a major cause of osteoporosis. Our body requires muscle strength and flexibility to support our range of motion or we can end up becoming injured.
What can we do to keep our knees healthy no matter our age?
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Exercises To Keep Your Knees Healthy
If youre experiencing knee pain, you might feel like sitting on the couch and resting will help the most. But getting moving and exercising helps your knees with support, stability, flexibility and shock absorption. When the muscles surrounding the knee are strong, your joints experience less stress. When you have strong legs, the muscles above the knee help to absorb shock.
Try these five simple exercises for healthier, pain-free knees.
Exercises That Keep Your Knees Healthy
A strength plan to keep your vulnerable joints healthy.
Dr. Jordan Metzls plan for pain-free knees: strength training. Your feet, lower legs, knees, thighs, hips, lower back, core, and arms are all part of your running kinetic chain, and when one link isnt working, the repercussions can be felt all the way up or down the chain.
Strong quads will help stabilize your knee, and strong hips, glutes, and core muscles prevent your hip from dropping and your knee from caving in. Doing these exercises twice a week will keep your kneesand the rest of your bodyin proper working order.
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Jump SquatExtend your arms in front of you. Squat down, pushing your butt back. Explode up as high as you can and land softly. Maintain good anatomical position and keep the motion controlled, landing softly. Do 4 sets of 15.
Walking LungeStep forward and lunge down. Then bring your back foot forward and swing it in front, lunging with that leg. Continue lunging forward, alternating legs. Do 3 sets of 15 reps, counting right and left together as 1 rep.
Low Side-To-Side LungeClasp your hands and shift your weight to your left leg and lower your body, bending your left knee and pushing your butt back. Without raising yourself all the way to standing, shift to the right. Alternate back and forth for 15 reps on each side. Do 3 sets.
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Squats For Strong Knees
Most people know that this is a great exercise to strenghten the legs. However, it can be of great use to have strong knees, in addition to toning the glutes.
- While standing, spread your legs shoulder-width apart while keeping your back straight.
- Slowly bend your legs to lower your torso. The ideal thing is to lower as much as possible and hold the position for two to three seconds.
- You can do three or four sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
- Its important to control your breathing .
Will Fish Oil Help Knee Pain
Fish oil is a supplement that is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids as well and comes with its own set of benefits. Along with providing benefits to your cognitive function, it has also been found to provide benefits for your knee joints. However, to avoid the side effects that come along with it, you want to consume no more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day.
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How Does It Work
While were not exactly sure, researchers believe that fiber helps protect your knees in a couple of ways.
First, it reduces the levels of C-reactive protein, a protein that has been repeatedly correlated with inflammation. Second, fiber increases satiety, which makes you feel fuller and therefore prevents you from overeating.
Computer-generated image of C reactive protein
So, you should focus on getting more fiber in your diet, as the best foods for your knees include loads of them. This can be achieved through fibrous vegetables , as well as minimally processed cereals and whole-grain products.
How To Save Your Knees Without Giving Up Your Workout
Theres no magic bullet to knee health, but staying active and building muscles around the joint are crucial.
In the annals of unsolicited advice, few nuggets have been dispensed as widely and with less supporting evidence than this: If you keep doing all that running, youre going to ruin your knees.
The latest salvo in the debate over knees and running a systematic review of 43 previous MRI studies that finds no evidence that running causes either short-term or long-term damage to knee cartilage is unlikely to convince the opinionated ex-football star at your Thanksgiving table who swears his bum knee was caused by wind sprints. But given that nearly half of Americans are expected to develop painful knee osteoarthritis at some point during their lives, the findings do raise a nagging question: If abstaining from running wont magically protect your knees, what will?
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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.