You can do more than thank your lucky stars if you’ve ever hiked, jogged, or walked a very far distance. Protecting your knees as you age is essential. With these tips, you’ll learn ways to strengthen the knees and live a healthier life.
As the largest joint in the human body, the knees are interesting in that the motion involved is very complex. Three compartments within the joint are vulnerable to ache and pain, even with regular wear and tear on the body. But it doesn’t need to affect the way your knees make you feel, function or move.
If you have a popping sensation or clicking in the knee joint when you bend, lunge, or walk, but there’s no swelling or pain, you don’t need to stress over it. On the flip side, if you experience pain or swelling in addition to that clicking or popping, it’s time to schedule a visit to our office. Otherwise, to decrease the risk of experiencing stiffness, pain, and inflammation within your knees, take these steps to protect your joints:
#1: Maintain a healthy weight
Studies suggest for every pound of weight you put on, the knees will have up to four more pounds of force placed upon them and even more than when you are trotting up and downstairs. Maintain a healthy weight to prevent your knees from having to cope with additional pounds of extra force by exercising and eating healthy.
#2: Dance it out!
Regular exercise and physical activity will help maintain joint function, including strengthening and increasing motion in the knees. However, it’s essential to mix up your workout routines to keep pressure off of your knee joints frequently. Try bicycling, swimming, dancing, or the elliptical machine on the in-between days to better support knee function.
#3: Work out muscles that support the knees
It’s a good idea to strengthen the muscles that support your knees, especially the hamstrings, quadriceps, and abductors. Strong thigh muscles help protect knee cartilage, improve range of motion, and reduce the stress placed upon the knee. Adding squats and lunges a few times is a good idea, but make sure that your knees don’t extend over the top of your toes and don’t extend above your feet.
Individuals over age 50 should avoid squatting below a 90-degree angle (with hips dropping below the knees) because deeper squats may increase pressure on the knees.
#4: Perk up your posture
Slouching doesn’t do the body any good, especially the older you get. It’s a problem because poor posture affects your body’s center of gravity, placing additional stress on the hips and knees. Make it a point to stand tall, with head in light with the shoulders, your shoulders directly placed over the hips, your hips aligned with knees, and your knees aligned with the feet.
Additionally, include exercises that will help improve posture and prevent irritation to the knees like yoga, tai-chi, and pilates.
#5: Choose a good pair of shoes
When picking out the perfect pair of shoes, make sure they’re comfortable and support proper alignment of the joints and the lower extremities as you walk around. For exercise, choose shoes that suit your activity – say, hiking shoes for hiking and running shoes for running.
If you’re shopping for new shoes, we recommend allowing a professional at the shoe store to evaluate and fit your foot before making a purchase blindly. They’ll be able to determine what type of shoe works best for your foot type. Additionally, postural abnormalities of the feet can contribute to knee osteoarthritis, which is why it’s essential to purchase shoes that will prevent outward and inward rolling of the feet.
#6: Listen to your body
You know your body best. If you start to feel pain, swelling, or discomfort in your knee, take a break from high-impact exercise. Spend some time giving your knee the RICE treatment – rest, ice, compression, and elevation – and take an anti-inflammatory medication, like ibuprofen.
If it starts to get better on its own, you can go back to what you were doing before the pain began. If it doesn’t feel better in a week or two, we highly recommend reaching our office for an appointment by calling (214) 441-7322. If you’re worried about losing any of the fitness you’ve been working on, you can continue to work out by doing gentle activities like bicycling, swimming, or aqua aerobics.
Treating chronic knee pain and osteoarthritis knee pain is the sole passion of PIPPTX in Dallas. We’ll be able to evaluate your knee and recommend a treatment plan to get you back to doing the things you love most. Our experienced OA specialist and medical staff utilize the best and latest in knee pain and joint pain treatments in a state-of-the-art facility. Call us at (214) 441-7322 to learn more about your options and candidacy for non-surgical knee pain relief that lasts today.