14 Tips to Keep Knees Healthy
Become an expert in protecting your own knees by following these simple ideas and tips.
The knees are very important for walking and standing. Knees help your body to move and bend. They help you to sit comfortably, walk up and down hills and stairs and also to climb ladders and trees. The knees also help with shock absorption when walking, running and jumping. When the knees are healthy and working correctly you do not think about them during daily activities. How do you keep your knees healthy and injury free?
Below are a number of tips and suggestions that will aid in keeping our knees healthy.
Don’t wait for knee pain to start before thinking about knee health. This is actually the most important tip. Far too many people only become interested in taking care of their joints and skeleton after a part of the body becomes painful or damaged. This is like waiting for your car to break down before doing routine maintenance. It is much better to prevent knee irritation and inflammation than to treat it after it happens.
The knee is a hinge joint, so do not twist the knees often. The human knee is designed to bend like a hinge joint on a door. It can bend and straighten, but not rotate and twist. Attempting to move the knee joint in a direction or angle that it was not designed for, can damage the knee. Twisting the knee suddenly or forcefully can damage the meniscus (padding) between the bones of the knee joint.
Work at a table instead of sitting on the floor. For example, when wrapping Christmas presents, working on a jigsaw puzzle, assembling LEGOS, or working on other projects, it’s much healthier to clear a space at the table, than trying to sit on the floor. Sitting at the table will protect your back, neck, hips, and knees.
Wear knee pads when working on the floor. For some tasks, working on the floor is unavoidable. When working on your automobile, in the garden, landscaping, laying carpet, or painting floor boards, your best course of action is to wear a pair of protective knee pads. Make sure that the knee pads fit comfortably and protect the soft tissue of the knee.
Maintain a healthy weight. Most people are unaware of how just a few pounds gained in weight can contribute toward knee problems. Any time someone can remove the burden of unnecessary pounds, the knees are free to bend and function better without the added stress of the extra weight.
Do not over work the knees when trying to develop other joints such as the lower back and hips. Be mindful of your knees when running or jogging. While at the gym, care should be taken to watch the amount of stress upon the knee joints when adding excess lifting weight / increasing weight on an exercise machine. There may be times when a person’s quadriceps may be able to lift a certain weight, but the person’s knee joint is unable to sustain the same weight. Sometimes the leg muscles will strengthen faster than the knees are able to withstand.
The knees are closely aligned with the feet so supportive footwear is a must. When running, jogging, or walking on hard surfaces, a person’s footwear acts as a sort of shock absorber. When the impact of repetitive foot pronation (slapping the bottom of your feet against the ground) causes too many vibrations to travel towards the knee, the knee joint can become inflamed and damaged. Proper footwear can cushion the foot and reduce the impact of your feet contacting the ground.
When standing try not to lock the knees as this can over extend the knee joint. When the knees are locked, it puts the knee joint into slight hyperextension. This puts stress on the knee ligaments. Over time, this can cause swelling and soreness.
Don’t sit in unusual positions. Do not sit with one leg resting on the other (making a sign-of-four) so that the ankle of one leg is resting on the knee of the opposite leg. Also crossing the legs in the “criss-cross applesauce” position, or sitting on your foot is not good for the knees. Unusual sitting positions that people enjoyed as a child are probably not the healthiest ways to sit as an adult. This is because children and teenagers have much more cartilage and greater flexibility than do most adults.
Have a Chiropractor check your knees. Schedule an appointment with a local chiropractor to see if your knee joints are properly aligned and bending smoothly. Because not all chiropractors work on the knees, find one that has experience with manipulating the bones of the knee. Getting chiropractic treatment is especially important if someone has a family history of knee problems or low back pain.
Exercise and strengthen the muscles that support the knees. There are two groups of muscles in the upper leg that provide power and stability to the knees: the quadriceps and the hamstrings. These muscles can be strengthened through walking, yoga, and strengthening exercises that don’t put too much pressure on the knees. (Remember to always do warm-up stretches prior to exercising the legs.)
Diet and nutrition is very important for synovial health. Become aware of what foods provide nutritional support for healthy joints such as foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, seeds, nuts, avocados, and carrots. Try to incorporate these foods into your weekly diet.
Stretching and warming up the knees will help lubricate the synovial capsule with fluid. As previously mentioned, it is important to do warm-up stretches prior to physical activity. Many people are excellent at remembering to stretch before jogging or going to the gym. However, it is just as important to do warm-up stretches before: cleaning the garage, participating in yard work, vacuuming the entire house, doing car repairs, cleaning the baseboards, painting the house, and walking a large dog.
Know your family health history. If grandpa had bad knees, you may have a greater chance of developing arthritic knees and other types of knee problems. If knee problems run in your family, you need to start taking care of your knees when you are young.
With this information, you now know how to protect your knees. Following these tips will help you to enjoy having healthy knees, and be able to participate in a lifetime of activities.