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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How Does Body Weight Affect Your Knee Health
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Data shows that every pound you lose is about 4to 5 pounds of stress off the joint. A modest weight loss 10 pounds is 50 pounds of stress off the joint. Multiply that by 5 or 10 years and that makes a sizable difference.
As an example, pick up luggage before you go to the airport and walk around the house for a while and see how your knees feel. You can feel the difference in your knees, and if you multiply that over years, it can erode the cartilage quite a bit faster.
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Whether You’re Active Or Not Stretching Is Good For The Knees
Stretches that focus on the calf, hamstring and quadriceps muscles take pressure off of the knees and kneecaps. “Many people often say there is no aerobic value in stretching, so they see it as a waste of time,” says Bush-Joseph. “But a well-conditioned, flexible body is less likely to develop overuse problems in the knees.”
Some good stretches to protect the knees include step-ups, hamstring curls and straight-leg lifts. Additionally, stretches that focus on building flexibility in the hips, including a butterfly stretch and a standing hip flexor with a resistance band, can help alleviate knee pain.
People who do not like to stretch before a workout can still protect their knees by slowly ramping up to top speed rather than jumping full speed into their workout.
Investing In Your Bodys Health
I loved my old high heels, but they werent the best shoes for my feet, knees, or posture. Most of us have turned in our 6-inch heel for a flatter flattering look. Still, finding a good shoe is an investment. This is where posture comes in too.
Wearing a cheap of low-cost shoe may cause you to stand bent over. This overtime puts your knees into a position that wears on the joints as much as hard labor. Try to stand tall. Push your shoulders back and down. Then walk. If the shoe doesnt feel comfortable, its the wrong one for you. To keep your knees healthy invest in great shoes.
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Things You Can Do To Extend The Life Of These Essential Joints
by Stacey Colino, AARP, Updated December 3, 2019| 0
En español | If you’ve walked, jogged and hiked this far without any major knee trouble, there’s more you can do than thank your lucky stars. A few basic steps can help you protect your knees as you age.
Besides being the largest joint in the human body, the knees are unique in that the motion involved is very complex, says Sanjeev Bhatia, an orthopedic sports medicine surgeon and codirector of the Northwestern Medicine Hip and Knee Joint Preservation Center at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Illinois. The knee has three compartments, any of which can cause pain with wear and tear.
With the passage of time, a certain amount of wear and tear on your joints is inevitable. But it doesn’t have to affect the way your knees feel, function or move. If you experience a clicking or popping sensation in the joint when you walk, bend or lunge, but there’s no pain or swelling, you don’t need to worry about it, says Dennis Cardone, D.O., an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and sports medicine at NYU Langone Health in New York City. On the other hand, if you have pain or swelling with that clicking or popping, it’s best to schedule a visit to your doctor.
Otherwise, to minimize your risk of experiencing pain, stiffness and inflammation in your knees, take these steps to protect these essential joints.
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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.
Tips To Keep Your Knees Healthy
Knee problems are common, especially in older adults. It can become harder to walk, climb the stairs, or get into and out of a chair. The joints may swell and cause pain.
Your knees are the largest joint of the body. As such, they sustain a lot of wear and tear over the years. Aging, excess weight, injury, osteoarthritis, and lack of muscle strength contribute to knee issues.
One of the best treatments is prevention. Preventing injuries and taking care of your knee joints can help keep you mobile and pain free.
Read on for a list of the best ways to keep your knees healthy as you age.
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Where The Meniscus Is And What It Does
The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that serves as a cushion between your thigh bone and your shinbone. You have a meniscus on the inner side of each knee, called the medial meniscus, and one on the outer side of each knee called the lateral meniscus.
Usually, a meniscus tear happens when you twist your knee, for example, when you change directions suddenly while running. In many cases, a meniscus tear happens at the same time as another injury, such as an anterior cruciate ligament tear. You may not be immediately aware that youve been injured, but the knee joint will soon become swollen and sore.
Sometimes, depending on the severity and location of the tear, bits of the cartilage can get caught in the knee joint, causing it to lock. Treatment depends on how bad the tear is, and can range from rest to surgery.
Don’t Train Through The Pain
“Walking it off” is just not a good idea. You’re not cooler or tougher if you train until you fall apart and can never train again. Trust me. I know. I looked a lot cooler in tournament than I do on the couch.
Joint pain is your body’s way of telling you you’re doing something wrong. Martial arts are not supposed to be pain-inducing in any way except for getting hit or getting muscle-soreness. Chinese monks did Kung-Fu and Tai Ji until the day they went to the big monastery in the sky, and their joints did not fall apart from it.
Follow RICE-N protocol for joint pain: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs . In other words, take it easy, ice the injury, wear a knee wrap, keep your leg up, and take Ibuprofen, Aspirin, or Naproxen .
Here’s to many more years of martial arts training for you!
Joint pain is your body’s way of telling you you’re doing something wrong.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the authorâs knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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Slowing The Aging Process
Keeping knee joints healthy and free from injury can prevent knee pain. Of course, natural aging can also lead to knee joint deterioration. Slowing the aging process in knee joints can prevent osteoarthritis, a wear-and-tear condition, from developing or can significantly slow the deterioration process down.
To age in the best way possible, eat a healthy diet, get plenty of exercises, maintain a healthy weight, sleep seven to eight hours each night and enjoy time with friends and family. There is no shortcut to keeping your knees and the rest of your body healthy.
How To Prevent Knee Injury And Avoid Knee Surgery
The knees are subject to injuries that include fractures of the bones around the knee, dislocation, tears of soft tissue and sprains. Knees are also injured when people do things like kneeling on hard surfaces and damaging the bursae that cushion the tendons and ligaments. Bursitis can be very painful.
Taking precautions to prevent knee injury and protecting knees during activities that have the potential to damage a knee joint, like running or jogging, can prevent some of the knee injuries people commonly experience. Precautions can also help people avoid knee surgery.
Following the suggestions for keeping joints healthy also contributes to preventing knee injury. Additional recommendations for knee injury prevention include:
- Avoid pounding and twisting the knee joints
Some activities are hard on the knees because they pound the knee joints. They include jogging or running and aerobics. It is better to use an elliptical machine, walk or swim.
However, people who enjoy these activities are not likely to stop. If participating in them, be sure to learn how to protect knees while running by maintaining a good posture or how to do aerobics by avoiding rotation of the knees and hips. When doing sports requiring jumping, learn to keep joints aligned when landing after a jump, meaning the hips remain over the knees and the knees are over the ankles. Also, wear cushioned shoes during any knee-pounding exercise routines.
- Keep muscles strong
- Warm up and stretch
- Wear knee supports
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Strengthen Your Leg Muscles
Your knee is supported and protected by many leg muscles. Keeping these supportive and protective muscles strong stabilizes the knee joint. It also improves balance, alignment, and overall functioning. Strong supportive muscles take pressure off of the knee joint itself. When this happens, pain is minimized. Applicable leg muscles include your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, psoas, and hip flexors.
Harvard Health emphasizes the importance of exercising all muscle groups equally. Failure to do so will result in imbalanced strength and additional strain on both the joint and body. The largest muscle in your leg is the quadricep or thigh muscle. This muscle loses strength quicker than smaller-sized muscles. According to the Mens Journal, squats and lunges are the perfect strengthening exercise. Be sure to start out with minimal repetitions and gradually increase the number involved.
Hamstrings run along the backside of your knee. Strengthen them by doing some hamstring curls. According to ACE Fitness, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your right leg and bend your knee towards your back. Hold for 10 seconds. Return to the starting position. Perform this exercise 10 times. Repeat the process with your left leg. You can increase resistance by using a band or cable, if needed.
Jump Landing With Control
The last in this sequence helps to improve knee control in movement, with the added layer of impact.
- Start with a basic broad jump, but focus on landing softly with bent knees, and control your landing.
- Once youre comfortable with that, play around with jumping on a diagonal, or with one leg at a time.
- The key with any of the variations shown is to focus on control. Jumping is perfectly safe for the kneesif done with safe technique.
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Hamstring Curls On A Weight Bench
Muscles involved: Hamstrings and gluteal muscles.
This exercise is a variation of the standing hamstring curl. A person can try this version if they have access to a weight bench that is purpose-built for this exercise. It may be more challenging than the standing hamstring curl, depending on how much weight a person uses.
Why Is It A Good Idea To Strengthen My Other Leg Muscles And Which Ones Should I Concentrate On To Help My Knees
There is substantial data showing that if you keep your muscles strong around the knee joint, those muscles support the joint and take stress off the joint. The opposite of that is if those muscles get weaker, your knee joint is going to bear more of the burden. Trying to strengthen all the muscles is helpful, but especially your quadriceps, which is the large muscle at the front of your thigh.
You also want to keep your muscles loose. If you have a lot of tightness, particularly in your hamstrings, that can put a little extra stress on the joint.
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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.
Work All The Muscles Around The Knee
A joint is only as strong as the surrounding muscles. For your knee, that means you need powerful quadriceps and hamstrings . Strong glutes and calves also help make your legs powerful, so you dont have to depend on the knee joint bone and connective tissue to do the work during exercise.
Strength-training exercises, such as squats and lunges, strengthen these knee-supporting muscles. Consult a personal trainer or talk to the staff at Next Step Orthopedics for more details on exercises that you should include to build up your leg muscles and support your knees.
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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.
Whats Causing Your Knee Crunching And Pain
For now, lets leave specific, traumatic knee injuries asideafter all, when those happen, for the most part, you know what went wrong. And youve probably got a recovery plan in place with your physician and physical therapist.
Also more commonly, both serious and relatively minor knee injuries are non-contact knee injuries. Ligaments and muscles can be sprained and strained without being tackled or anything hitting your knee. These injuries occur from excessive forces at the knee due to misalignments in landing from jumps or running, and can have a lot to do with improper habitual movement patterns.
To explain this further, lets do a quick rundown of how the knee works
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Tips To Keep Knees Healthy
Taking care of knee pain or discomfort shouldnt interrupt your life. Proactively working to keep your knees healthy can play a huge role in postponing or preventing knee problems entirely. With every step you take, pressure plus added wear and tear on your knees can certainly take a toll on your joints. As you age, it is vital to maintain a good regimen for keeping your knees healthy especially for those with an active lifestyle.
Often, these treatments can also be used to mitigate cartilage deterioration caused by osteoarthritis. These five steps are some simple ways to help prevent further injury or relieve some stress from joints that might have suffered a strain. Following a strategy for care can be simple and effective for addressing all types of joint pain swelling or discomfort.