There are simple things you can do every day to make sure your knees stay healthy as long as possible. Although this isn’t an exhaustive list we’ve outlined seven steps that can help keep your knees in good shape.
1) Lighten Your Load
Excess body weight puts a strain on your joints, but most dramatically on your knees which increases the risk of cartilage breakdown, potentially leading to osteoarthritis. For every pound you lose, the pressure on your knees is reduced by four. Now that’s an investment in yourself we know you would make!
2) Get a Move On
The more you move the more flexible your joints will be. So get up and go for a walk, swim, bike ride or do some other low impact activity. This added exercise will also help burn more calories, most likely lessening the pressure on your knees.
3) Build Your Strength
Research has shown that having strong thigh muscles can reduce the risk of osteoarthritis in your knees. When you don’t have enough muscle strength, the knees, which support the entire weight of your body, take a pounding. Strength training builds strong muscles, and ligaments, thereby easing the stress placed on your joints. So get on those squats and lunges! [yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mh5r1rJ7Yk0′]
4) Protect Your Knees
Activities like skiing or kneeling to pull weeds can be rough on your knees. Use a knee brace or a kneeling pad to protect against injury. If your job requires repetitive kneeling or squatting be aware of your form, or try to find another way to do the work required that reduces strain on your knees and other joints.
5) Avoid injuries
Major injuries, the kind that require surgery, increase a person’s risk for osteoarthritis. Weekend warriors, those who sit all week for their job, and run or play sports on the weekend for hours at a time, have a greater risk for injury and osteoarthritis. Keeping active through the week helps keeps your body strong and your joints pliable.
6) Ice is Nice
Icing helps to reduce joint swelling and pain without drugs. To ice sore knees, wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel and apply to affected area for no more than 20 minutes. If you don’t have an ice pack, try using a bag of frozen vegetables (corn works great) wrapped in a thin towel. Don’t put ice directly on your skin as it may cause tissue damage through frostbite. Use ice for the first 24 – 48 hours after an injury.
7) Nourish Your Joints
Omega-3s promote joint health and reduce swelling in joints with arthritis. We highly recommend a fish oil supplement as an easy way to get the nutrition your body needs. Salmon is also great for your joints; it’s a good source of calcium and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Speaking of calcium…
- Calcium and vitamin D help to keep your bones strong. Having strong bones can help you prevent falls that cause damage to joints.
- Green, leafy vegetables like kale and broccoli are great sources of calcium.
- Dairy products are also rich in calcium.
We realize that life is rather hectic, but we hate to hear about knee pain keeping you from your favorite activities. By weaving our seven knee health recommendations into your life, you’ll be taking the right steps to long loving relationship with your knees.