If you’re like many people, you probably don’t give your knees much thought. That is until you begin to experience pain or weakness in the knees. Our knees are the largest joints in our bodies. They also take the weight of our entire bodies when we’re walking, jumping, squatting, running, or carrying out any other activities while on our feet. It is not surprising that the knees succumb to wear and tear over the years. Many people over the age of 50 require knee surgery or knee replacement surgery. However, there are things you can do to avoid this. Below we discuss some principles of orthopedic surgery & sports medicine that can help you avoid knee problems and knee surgery.
Tips to Help You Avoid Knee Injuries
The knees like any other joint in the body are subject to wear and tear as a result of years of use. While this wear and tear are natural it increases our risk of suffering an injury. There are luckily steps we can take to reduce our risk of injury. You can make choices that will reduce damage and speed up recovery from injuries by changing some of your lifestyle habits and engaging in certain exercises to increase muscle flexibility and length.
Below are some tips to help you avoid knee injuries.
· Keep your weight within recommended limits
As mentioned earlier, the knees support the weight of the entire body above them. When the knees have to support greater weight, they will be subject to more wear and tear. Every five pounds of weight on your body exerts a force of 25 pounds on your joints. Being overweight will therefore increase your risk of joint injury as well as developing conditions that affect your joints such as gout and osteoarthritis.
You can reduce the wear and tear on your knees by losing some of the extra weight and getting down to a healthy weight. A good place to start is by referring to a body mass index (BMI) chart to determine what a healthy weight range would be for your height. Use this as a guide to help you in maintaining a healthy weight and reduce the pressure on your knees.
· Engage in leg strengthening exercises
Being the largest joint in the body, the knee is surrounded and supported by large muscles. These muscles enable the knee to move. They also provide support to the knee. Studies in orthopedic surgery & sports medicine show that maintaining adequate strength in the leg muscles is important in improving support to the knee joint and preventing knee injuries. Strength training exercises have also been shown to improve bone density and slow the rate of muscle and bone loss associated with the process of aging.
You should focus on exercises that will strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. These large muscles play an important role in supporting the knees. Some exercises to try include squats, wall squats, lunges, and bridges.
· Engage in stretching and flexibility training
Regular stretching and flexibility training will help to lengthen the muscles that support the knees. This will increase the range of motion of your knees and therefore protect you from injuries associated with tightness in the muscles. Some stretches you should try include hip flexor stretches while lying down to place emphasis on the hip flexor, standing quad stretches, and calf stretches.
It is important to be careful while stretching. Many people end up injuring their knees as a result of poor stretching practices. You should stretch only the point where you feel the stretch. Do not try to advance too quickly. Stop stretching when you feel pain.
· Engage in low-impact cardio exercises
Many people avoid cardio exercises as they believe that this will result in knee injuries. They believe that engaging in activities will increase wear and tear on the joints. However, cardio exercises are actually beneficial for your knees. They will help to increase the circulation of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the cartilage and muscles around the knee. Exercise will also help to prevent atrophy of the cartilage.
It is important to be careful about the type of cardio activities you engage in. Choose low-impact activities such as swimming and cycling to avoid placing too much impact on your knees.
· Visit a specialist when injured
A knee injury doesn’t mean that you will automatically need knee orthopedic surgery. You should search for ‘knee and ankle orthopedics near me and schedule an appointment with a specialist to have your injury treated. They will provide you with even more information about how to avoid future injuries and ensure that your current injury does not get any worse.
If you’re searching for ‘knee and ankle orthopedics near me get in touch with Chris Boone, MD, and schedule an appointment for a consultation with an experienced Bellevue orthopedic surgeon.