Maintaining Healthy Knees
Nearly every single one of us will experience some kind of knee pain in our lifetime.
Our knees are essentially huge hinge joint that stabilises our body throughout each day. We like to refer to them as your ‘shock absorbers’.
Due to the fact that we rely on our knees so much, that takes a toll whether we like it or not. As you can imagine, our knees, the cartilage and surrounding ligaments can easily come under strain both in day to day life and on the sporting field. Our knees are also prone to long-term diseases such as osteoarthritis as we age.
According to researchers from Harvard university, our knees really do take a beating.
Recent studies found the following:
– The pressure forced on your knees when walking is about 1 and a half times your body weight
– A walk up and down stairs can force 2-3 times your body weight on your knees
– When you squat, this can force 3-4 times your body weight onto your knees
So it’s absolutely no surprise that knee pain becomes more of a reoccurring problem as we age. Maintaining healthy knees can be achieved through a combination of factors. We’ve collated some easy ways to keep your knees in tip top shape as you age:
Not only is walking an activity that is highly accessible for everyone and an easy way to get moving, it’s great for overall health and wellness. It’s effective for the cardiovascular system and puts little stress on your joints which makes it a go-to activity.
Walking each day is great for maintaining your weight. The less weight on your knees, the less strain on them. Lastly, we all know that the more sedentary life you lead, the stiffer and weaker your knees can become. Keep your knees active to keep them healthy & functioning well.
A great way to maintain healthy knees is to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee. Ultimately, when these muscles are strong and functioning well, this can reduce stress on the knee joint and can ward off knee pain.
Leg lifts are as simple as laying on the floor with one leg remaining on the floor while you lift the other a foot off the ground and back down again. Simple & great for strengthening your knees.
Wall sits are a great move for strengthening your quads and glutes as well as many smaller muscles surrounding the knee joint. So this movement is great for keeping your knees healthy. This exercise can also be adjusted (in difficulty) depending on how your knees are feeling.
All you need to do is stand against a wall and slide down to a sitting position (like a squat). The lower you go the harder this is. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds or until your leg muscles are feeling fatigued.
STRETCHING (KNEE TO THIGH STRETCH ESPECIALLY)
Most of you will already know that flexibility is key to warding off potential injury and allowing your body to perform at its best, every day without pain. Keeping your knee joint, surrounding muscles and ligaments nimble and flexible is a must.
Although, maintaining flexibility throughout the whole leg is important to ensure all major leg muscles work in conjunction with the knee. One of the best stretches for your knee and leg muscles is the knee to thigh stretch. It’s simple!
Sit on the floor with both legs in front of you. Pull one leg in towards you and rest that foot on the inner of your opposite thigh. Then gently bend your torso forward and reach down your straight leg aiming to touch your foot. Hold the stretch & then swap to the opposite leg.
As we enter the warmer months of the year, it’s a great time to join a summer sport or to make the most of your weekends outdoors in great weather. If you’re having trouble with your knees despite doing your best to take care of them, contact the team at Progressive Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy today on (02) 4721 7798 to book a consultation.
Knee pain is not something you should put off, ignore or put up with. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team.