Be Kind to Your Knees

In Bone & Joint Health by Dr. Kimball0 Comments

Be kind to all of your joints— but be especially kind your knees. Our knees are one of the most vulnerable joints in our bodies. When you consider that every step we take puts the equivalent of 1½ times our entire body weight on each of our knee joints then protecting them becomes even more important. Here are five ways to do just that.

Resolve to shed a few pounds.

Your knees will have a smaller load to bear. Every extra pound you gain puts four times the stress on your knees1. But the flip side is that even a small amount of weight loss will give your knees relief. Research has shown that losing as little as 11 pounds may improve your joint health and cut your risk of osteoarthritis of the knee by 50 percent1.

Build up your bones.

Boost your bone health by giving them all the nutrients and minerals they need. Think along the lines of calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and phosphorus. A diet that is rich in these minerals will help keep your bones strong, healthy, mobile. It can also lower your risk of osteoporosis. These nutrients can be found in foods like

  • milk,
  • cheese,
  • yogurt,
  • green leafy vegetables,
  • figs, and
  • salmon.

For those that aren’t able to get their daily recommended intake of these nutrients then consider adding joint supplements to your diet.

If you are taking supplements then be supplement smart.

Supplementing your diet is the best way to get the vitamins and minerals you may lack on a daily basis. But not all supplements are created equal. Some are targeted towards healthy bones and joints while others are more general in nature. Think about joint specific supplements like glucosamine, a supplement made from the shells of crab [4] or other great supplements like quercetin, chondroitin, or MSM.

Figure out your fitness.

Think about exercises that are great for building (and maintaining) your knee strength, flexibility, and mobility. The knee is a delicate joint that requires ongoing strengthening to maintain its bone density, especially as we get older. Swimming, aerobic classes, yoga, and tai chi are exercises that can help with knee mobility.

If none of these activities are for you then keep doing the exercise that you love—but make sure you protect your knees by always using good footwear and following strict post-exercise aftercare habits. This can help you avoid things like shin splints and tendonitis.

Don’t forget to stretch.

Although you can’t stretch your knees you can definitely stretch the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the knee that support the joint. Exercise on its own is great but combined with stretching it’s even better. One of the best times to stretch is after your work out, as part of your cool-down. This is when your muscles are most warm and pliable, which makes it much easier to stretch and reach new levels of flexibility.

 

 

1- Arthritis Foundation. 51 Ways to Be Good to Your Joints. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/pain-management/joint-protection/joint-health.php

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