Aching Knees? Soothe and Protect Them!
The best way to care for your knees is to use them correctly. Don't overuse your knees, but do use them for the purpose they were intended. According to Andrew Thomas, MCSP, Charter Physiologist at the East Midlands Physiotherapy Clinic, "Exercise is only effective if done correctly. The most common types of injury occur for very obvious reasons - over exertion, wearing the wrong footwear and not warming up properly."
For this reason, couch potatoes or sedentary individuals tend to have more aches and pains in their knee joints than active individuals. This can happen because of inadequate nutrition, weight gain, incorrect posture, and lack of exercise.When the knee joint is not strong, the individual can become knock-kneed. Unfortunately, a knock-kneed posture puts too much weight on the inside of the leg, and that sets off a painful chain reaction. Before long, the individual will also be suffering from over-pronation, or flat feet. Sometimes this is reversed, and flat feet cause the knees to sag inward.
Keeping the Knees Healthy
If knock-kneed posture is not corrected, the thigh muscles, hip joint and eventually lower back will also be compromised. A good way to exercise the leg, knee, and foot, and to keep the knee in good standing, is simple. Stand barefooted before a full-length mirror and roll the feet slightly to the outside. When done properly, the leg muscles will do the work to gently lift the knee back into place; the knees will not be touching and the cartilage cannot rub together and cause a degenerative disease such as osteoarthritis. This exercise can be performed several times a day, until your body will be able to do the work automatically. Because this continued action will usually make the arch of the foot and the knee joints move back into place correctly, corrective inserts would not be necessary. If corrective inserts are needed, a trained physical trainer can make a thin cast of each foot and create the necessary footgear, which is then worn inside shoes to keep the feet in the correct posture. This, in turn, will keep the rest of the skeleton in proper balance.
Knees and the Active Lifestyle
Those who lead an active lifestyle tend to injure their knees more extensively, due to more aggressive activities, over-extension of the knee joint itself, over-use, or incorrect use. The best way to avoid these types of injuries is to keep the knees strong:
- Maintain a proper weight
- Eat a proper diet with plenty of raw vegetables to help boost the immune system
- Wear correct shoes when exercising, working, playing, walking and hiking
- Stretch before each activity
- Perform only activities that you are able to perform without pain
- Avoid high impact activities and/or activities that cause you to pivot or twist the knees
- Build up slowly, but try to exercise three to five times a week
- Do not overdo it, overextend your knee, or continue exercising or working when you have become fatigued (this will result in sagging knees and cartilage damage over time)
- Stop if you get injured
- Stay away from activities until your knees are healed following an injury (going back too soon could mean more extensive damage)
- Stretch your whole body at the end of each workout or activity
Sources: http://healthy-lifestyle.most-effective-solution.com/2008/11/17/sports-injuries-how-to-exercise-and-stay-injury-free/ http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acl-injury/DS00898 http://www.drbookspan.com/KneePainArticle.html http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acl-injury/DS00898/DSECTION=prevention