It is common knowledge what we need to do to prevent common chronic diseases such as high cholesterol or diabetes..but who knows how to take care of your knees?
In younger knees it is often sports injuries that are the culprit but as middle age approaches it is then the inactivity and weight gain that is associated with the middle age spread that puts the extra stress on our knees. Given that the number of knee replacements occurring in Australia have doubled in recent years it’s time we did something about it.
Because knees are not a vital organ they can be easily dismissed, but once they adversely affect our mobility they can have a greater impact on our health. When walking gets harder, we pile the weight on, making not only the knee joint worse but now also increasing the risk of other more serious chronic diseases.
So how can we make a difference?
To keep the knee pain away we should be doing two main things.
1. Avoid unnecessary weight gain or get some kilos off
2. Keep your leg muscles strong. The knee joint relies heavily on having strong muscles to support it.
You can normally address both of these issues with exercise. Regular cardio exercise such as walking, swimming or cycling when combined with a balanced diet should keep your weight in check. To strengthen the muscles around the knee, climbing stairs, cycling and specific strengthening exercise such as half squats, practising getting out of a chair without using your hands and straight leg raises should all do the job.
If you already have knee pain then you also need to focus on the leg muscles and keeping the weight off. Particularly women. Osteoarthritis is more common in women and it is mostly increased weight that is to blame.
What about running? Can it cause damage? It’s unlikely if your knees are healthy. But if your knees are poorly aligned, you’re overweight or you have had a previous injury that’s damaged knee ligaments or cartilage then there is a risk that further damage could be done by running.
If you would like further information about what is causing your knee pain or what needs to be done to fix it then please call us on 9968 3424 to book an appointment with one of our knowledgeable Physiotherapists.