For many people, knee pain can be a way of life, limiting their ability to climb stairs, squat down to get something off the floor, enjoy long walks, shopping and a host of other daily activities. The knee joint is one of the most complicated joints in the body and has to bear up to 6 times your body weight with running or jumping. This incredible joint has to move over a million times each year and over 80 million times over a lifetime. This is also the reason why things can go wrong, causing injury and pain.
Just like taking care of your heart, your joints need attention to maintain a healthy state. Here are easy ways for you to take care of your knees, avoiding arthritis and other joint problems:
Stretch, Stretch, Stretch
Stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, and adductor muscles each day. By keeping these muscles flexible, the forces on your knee joints can be balanced, allowing your joint to bend, rotate and for your patella (kneecap) to track properly.
Strengthen Certain Muscle Groups
Keep the muscles around your hips and knees strong. Especially the gluteals and quadriceps muscles. Studies show that those adults, especially over 55 who have stronger gluteals and quadriceps, tend to have less back pain and more ability to do daily activities.
While this is good for the whole body, the knees especially need exercise to keep their cartilage healthy. The cartilage does not have much blood supply and requires its nutrition from joint fluid. Most of the joint fluid absorbs into the cartilage only through movement and compression of the knee. Therefore, it is important to do weight bearing exercise such as walking, running, and other sports. However, if you have arthritis, it is advised to do less impact activities such as biking, elliptical machines, aquatic exercises, etc. The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill is a great way to get in a high-intensity workout without putting much stress on the knees.
Having a regular Physical Therapy checkup ensures that your joints are working at their peak performance. In addition, any problems will be discovered early, preventing the onset of arthritis and joint injury. If you do have arthritis or have had surgery, then a regular Physical Therapy checkup is especially important.
Dr. James Pumarada is a licensed Physical Therapist with over 18+ years of experience. He is a Sports Therapy Certified therapist, focusing on treating and training runners of all levels, and is a certified Vestibular therapist, specializing in the treatment of all dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance issues.