You’re born with two knees that are amazingly versatile and give you the freedom to move from place to place. With proper care and exercise, you can prevent unnecessary damage to your knee joints and help prevent painful conditions, like osteoarthritis, from developing.
There are a lot of ways knee damage can occur, and a common issue that can cause long-term knee damage is being overweight. Carrying extra pounds puts a lot of pressure of your knee joints, leading to joint degeneration and risk of injury.
To protect your knees, maintain your ideal body weight and eat a healthy diet.There are also certain foods that contain anti-inflammatory properties that may ease joint pain caused by arthritis. Foods like avocados, almonds, berries, salmon, and tuna may help minimize joint swelling and pain, if you already suffer with arthritis in your knees.
Try to incorporate at least 20-30 minutes of knee-friendly exercise each day. To maintain healthy knees during physical activity and lower your risk of injury, follow these tips when you exercise:
Take time for a warmup
Regardless of what exercise you prefer, it’s important to start with warmups and easy stretches to prep your muscles and joints for more intense movements. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, remembering to breathe. Exercising with stiff muscles can cause joint pain or worsen existing conditions.
If your knees feel stiff and painful before your workout, try applying a hot towel or other heat compress prior to your warmups. Heat treatments prompt increased blood flow that makes your knee joints feel more comfortable and ready for exercise.
Be consistent with strength training
To build up the strength of the muscles that support your knee, add exercises like straight leg lifts and hamstring curls to your daily routine. The stronger and more supportive your muscles are, the more effective they are at protecting your knee joint.
Choose exercise variety
Doing the same exercises every day can contribute to knee injuries. It’s important to include a variety of activities that target different groups of muscles. Alternating your workouts prevents overuse of the knee joints that can lead to joint degeneration over the long term.
Consider knee-friendly activities
If jogging or aggressive sports are already triggering knee pain, consider more knee-friendly activities, like riding a bicycle or cross-country skiing. These activities get your heart pumping without overstressing your knee joints. Swimming and aquatic exercise are also an ideal way to get a workout without knee strain.
Wear the right shoes
It’s vital to have high-quality, supportive footwear that support your joints. Choose the right kind of shoe that offers the proper support and stability for your specific exercise routine. You also need to make sure the shoe fits properly to help prevent falls.
Don’t ignore pain
If you feel even a minor knee twinge during your activity, don’t dismiss it. Take a time out and apply an ice pack to your knee. Cold therapy reduces inflammation that can lead to pain and other problems.
If you take precautions and still find it hard to exercise without knee discomfort, consider a consultation with Dr. Nassiri here at Westside Pain Specialists. He can diagnose and treat your pain to get you back in the game again. To schedule your appointment, call the office or book it here on the website.