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:

WALKING

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.

LEG LIFTS

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

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.

 

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.