As we age, it becomes harder to climb the stairs, get into or out of bed or even run because of knee problems.
This shouldn’t be surprising as our knees are the largest joint in the body and support a lot of weight. Therefore, they become weaker over time. And if you have an old knee injury, your knees are more likely to deteriorate faster.
But do you know that you can prevent knee issues by taking good care of your knees? Read on to find the best ways to keep your knees healthy.
If you’re over 40 years old, there’s a high chance you’ve started having knee issues. Therefore, you should take supplements like glucosamine.
Glucosamine is a natural compound in our body that keeps the knee cartilage healthy. It also treats knee issues like rheumatoid arthritis, sports injuries, and osteoarthritis. There are no natural food sources of glucosamine. However, you can easily find glucosamine supplements on the market.
A good way to keep your knees healthy is by exercising your legs. According to the Arthritis Foundation, exercising is the best treatment for osteoarthritis.
To strengthen your knees, focus on exercises that enhance the function of the hip muscles, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Knee exercises that build muscle strength are half squats, step-ups, straight leg raises, leg extensions, wall squats, etc.
However, if you experience severe pain during exercises, consult your doctor. Physical therapy can strengthen your muscles if you are not physically fit for regular exercise.
Consider incorporating yoga poses into your knee stretching routine. Research has shown that people will get relief from knee problems by practising yoga poses a few times a week.
Some yoga poses to help you keep a healthy knee include the chair pose, bridge pose, camel pose, etc.
Remember that these yoga poses wouldn’t make your knees healthy overnight; you have to be consistent. Also, if a pose hurts, consider modifying or changing to another pose.
Excess weight puts more stress on the knee joints and cartilage. Also, too much body fat releases inflammatory chemicals into the bloodstream, causing joint inflammation, thus leading to osteoarthritis. Dropping a few pounds can help keep your knee healthier and significantly reduce pain.
A study shows that if an obese osteoarthritis patient loses one pound, about four extra pounds of pressure will be taken off the knee. This shows that you don’t have to experience drastic weight loss before you can reduce pressure off your knees.
Low-impact exercises like cycling and swimming are great for the knees.
When cycling, the knee joints are continuously stretched and bent, thereby improving the joint’s mobility. Riding a bike also improves the muscles around the joint, thereby protecting it from injuries. Research has shown that slow cycling helps lessen pain and boost function in people with knee osteoarthritis.
Regular swimming helps reduce joint stiffness, increase mobility, and improve knee muscle functions. The water supports most of your body weight, relieving your knee from stress. It also helps you burn calories, and lose weight, thereby reducing the extra stress on your knees.
Avoid high-impact activities such as running or basketball.
Knee effusion or water on the knee occurs when fluid builds up in or around the knee joint, causing swelling. This condition can be severe if the knee is exposed to chronic stress from sports and hectic activities.
There are also underlying medical conditions that can lead to knee swelling; they include; gout, cysts, tumours, rheumatoid arthritis, and bursitis.
Avoid spending the whole day on a couch. Physical activities are very crucial for improving the health of the knee. Exercise increases strength, reduces joint pain, improves flexibility, and helps fight fatigue.
If you already have knee pain, exercising can seem a daunting task, but it’s still better than keeping your knees still. Keeping your knees in one place will stiffen the muscles and joints, worsening the pain and making it hard for you to carry out your daily activities.
It’s important to change your workout plan from time to time. Repetitious activities that stress your knees can lead to knee problems over time.
Switching up your exercise routine gives overused knee muscles and joints a chance to rest before you work them out again. Overusing your knee muscles puts you at risk of overuse injuries, which can be very hard to treat. Therefore the best thing is to prevent it by giving your knee muscles time to heal and strengthen.
Apart from overuse injuries, doing the same workout can lead to boredom and a decline in your performance.
As you walk, your body absorbs thrice as much weight. The tendons and ligaments that support your foot arch wear out with time. As your arch slowly collapses, your foot gets longer or wider.
Therefore, your shoe size increases as you age. Check your shoes before buying to ensure they’re not pinching your toes or that the width isn’t too tight.
After spending their youthful days wearing high heels, most women experience severe knee pain. With the heels high up instead of down, the quadriceps muscle becomes stressed and finds it hard to keep the knees in line. Wear low heels whenever possible and go barefoot at home.