Knee pain is a common complaint, but thankfully, it’s one that can largely be avoided. Taking these five simple steps today will help you enjoy healthy, happy knees for many years to come.
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is not only important for your cardiovascular and all-round health, it has benefits for your joints, too. Being overweight increases the pressure on your knees when weightbearing and exercising. This puts more compressive load through the joint, causing the cartilage to wear away more quickly and increasing your chances of osteoarthritis.
Food for thought: Studies have shown that for every pound (0.45kg) of weight lost, the load on your knees is decreased by four pounds (1.8kg) when walking.
2. Choose the right sports shoes
There are big differences in the way different shoes support your feet for a given sport, and wearing the correct footwear is very important to help in preventing injuries. Running shoes should be light and flexible, allowing the foot to bend and flex through each step. Shoes for high impact sports/exercise that involve a lot of sideways movement with quick changes of direction (basketball, tennis etc) should be a bit heavier and more rigid with good arch support.
3. Build strength & Improve balance
The key to maintaining good knee health is keeping good strength and alignment between the hip, knee and ankle. A weakness in your hip stabilisers (gluteus medius) will cause your thigh to rotate inwards, putting increased load on the inside of your knee. Likewise, unstable ankles with cause your shin to rotate inwards and cause you knee to track poorly.
Doing balance exercises and lots of single leg exercises i.e lunges, step ups, single leg bridges, single leg deadlifts etc will help to keep your knees healthy and prevent injury.
4. Move more
The more sedentary you are, the higher the chance of knees concerns now or down the track. Excessive hours spent sitting can cause the muscles in your hips and knees to tighten up and place increased load on your joints. It is very important to do regular stretches before and after exercise to maintain good joint mobility.
Exercise doesn’t have to be fast and furious either – low impact exercise like swimming, walking, cycling, yoga or pilates has significant benefits for your mood and wellbeing, while being gentle on your joints. Move regularly to stay fit and injury free!
5. Rest up
It’s important to allow enough recovery time between workouts, as doing a lot of high intensity/high impact exercise can place a lot of extra load on your knees. Mix up your training schedule and do some upper body/yoga etc or have a rest day to allow your muscles to regenerate.
To learn more about how your lifestyle could be causing you knee pain, call Collins Place Physio on (03) 9650 2220 today.