Follow these simple guidelines, and you should be able to count on healthy knees (and an active life style) for years to come.
Press Release (PressBurner) Jul 15, 2009 - With the number of “healthy adults” going under the knife for knee surgery on the rise, it’s clear that our knees won’t stand up to abuse – even if we maintain an otherwise active, healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, putting up with ill-fitting footwear, such as high heels, worn out running shoes or shoes that lack proper shock absorption, comes with a high price. As do athletic activities that put a lot of stress on our knees (such as skiing and running on pavement).
Luckily, there are some proactive steps we can take when it comes to protecting the health of our knees for the future. Perhaps the best place to start is by realizing that if the muscles and ligaments that surround the knees are strong, the knees will be strong as well. Strengthening your quadriceps (the muscles that make up the front of your thigh) will give you greater control when it comes to distributing your body’s weight and controlling its impact each time your foot strikes the ground. But don’t forget about strengthening other muscle groups as well! Strong back, abdominal and hip muscles make it easier for you to adjust your body in order to protect your knees (such as crouching, landing softly, etc.). And working your hamstrings (the muscle group on the back of the thigh) will help you to counterbalance the strength in your quadriceps.
When it comes to maintaining the health of your knees, common sense and a cautious attitude go a long way. Don’t jump straight into an intensive exercise routine. If you know you have an athletic season coming up, you should begin preparing for the season 6 to 8 weeks ahead of time. If you’re runner, start by jogging 2 to 3 times a week. Even experienced runners can suffer knee injuries if they run on hard surfaces 7 days a week.
Invest in proper footwear. Shoes with high heels put stress on your knees. Likewise, shoes that lack the proper orthopedic support will gradually wear down the joint. If you’re getting ready for an athletic season in the fall, wearing flip-flops all summer is not doing your knees any favors. And remember: running shoes should be replaced after every 400 miles. No matter how expensive and high-tech your running shoes may be, once they pass the 400 mile mark they will not be able to adequately cushion your knees.
Finally, here are three physical activities you should avoid for the sake of your knees: running down hill, climbing two stairs at a time and doing full squats.