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5 Ways to Protect Your Knees

Your knees are important. They take you through day-to-day tasks, up and down stairs, out for jogs, and anywhere else you need to go. All this movement however can wear on the cartilage between the joints in the knees and cause knee pain. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease control, nearly 1 in 2 people develop osteoarthritis in the knee by age 85. While bothersome, knee pain is preventable and treatable. Read on to learn ways to protect your knees.

Lose the Extra Weight

One of the most effective ways to prevent knee pain is to maintain a healthy weight. Weight is amplified at the knee. Every pound you gain puts an extra four pounds of pressure on your knees. It is not uncommon for people to experience knee pain after gaining 10 pounds. Similarly, many people who go through this often find that their symptoms disappear when they lose weight.

Keep Moving

Blood doesn’t flow to the cartilage and inner parts of the meniscus, which makes up the surface of the knee.  Joint fluid provides nutrients to this area. Without motion, the joint fluid does not circulate and the cartilage is starved of nutrients. You can prevent this by keeping the knees moving. Take walks, go on bike rides, go out dancing, and find other activities you enjoy to help you maintain an active lifestyle. In addition, try not to spend long periods of time sitting.

Exercise Smart

While exercise is great to keep the knees working, it is important not to strain knees. Don’t overdo it when you do squats and lunges. Always make sure your knee stays directly above your foot when you are doing these exercises. Do not extend the knee more than a 90-degree angle. When cycling, make sure the seat is high enough so your leg fully extends when you push the pedal down. You can also strengthen your inner thighs—strong inner thigh muscles absorb stress as you walk to take some of the strain off your knees. You can strengthen these muscles by squeezing them together while you are sitting in a chair.

Get Them Checked

Because the knees are responsible for so much of the body’s movement, it’s important to seek treatment if a knee injury arises. The knees do not function well if ligaments are destroyed and it is important that they heal properly or get replaced if necessary. Often though, knee function can be restored with the proper treatment. Treatments such as physical therapy, over the counter and prescription medication, knee braces, and shots are all used to treat knee pain. If none of these therapies work, knee surgery is an option. Both full and partial knee replacement surgeries are excellent operations for rebuilding the knee. Candidates for partial knee replacement surgery can be eligible for a highly advanced and minimally invasive knee surgery assisted by a robotic arm.

Tune In  

To learn more about knee pain and treatment and ask a doctor questions, be sure to tune into the next Health Chat on Tuesday, March 24 at 6 p.m. with Dr. Andrew Star, Medical Director of Abington Health’s Orthopedic and Spine Institute. He will answer questions on knee pain, both conservative and surgical treatments for knee pain as well as MAKOplasty partial knee replacement surgery. Lu Ann Cahn, Director of Career Services at Temple University’s School of Media and Communications, will moderate the chat. Register and ask your confidential questions ahead of time here.