Surprising Ways to Keep Your Knees Happy

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Surprising Ways to Keep Your Knees Happy

May 15, 2015 //

Are your knees hurting? You're hardly alone. Knee problems do not discriminate: they can affect anybody. You may feel the pain suddenly, usually following an injury or exercise. However, knee pain may start out mild, then slowly worsen over time.

It's no wonder: our knees take a lot of stress. They have a big job to do. It's up to them to give our bodies flexibility, stability and support. They allow our legs to bend and straighten. Imagine standing, walking, running, crouching, jumping and turning without the use of your knee.

Since there are so many other parts of the body – like bones, cartilage, muscles and ligaments –  necessary to keep the knees functioning properly, if any of the supporting players are injured, all bets are off that your knee will feel good or happy.

There's no (k)need (pun intended) to get discouraged. There are easy ways to avoid knee pain.

Keep Your Weight At A Healthy Level

It's a disturbing but true ratio: with every extra pound comes an added four pounds of pressure on your knees when you walk or climb stairs. Don't pressure your knees with extra weight. It's possible that by losing pounds, you can lose symptoms of knee pain, too.

Take It Easy On The Stairs

Since climbing – and descending – steps puts a lot of pressure on your knees, resist the urge to take them all-out. Slow your speed, and hold onto the handrail. Remember the ratio from tip #1: if you weigh 140 pounds, for instance, your knees are enduring over 500 pounds of weight.

Don't Go Overboard On The Lunges And Squats

Granted, these are great for toning and among the best lower-body exercises. But again, they can put added stress on your knee if you're not careful Make sure to keep your precious knee directly over your foot when you lunge or squat; that means not bending your leg beyond a 90-degree angle.

Strengthen Your Quadriceps And Hamstrings

These muscles in the front of your thigh (quadriceps) and the back of your thigh (hamstrings) help support your knee and help the joint absorb shock. The stronger they are, the less strain there will be on your knees.

Check Your Seat In Spin Class

If your bike seat is set too low, your knees can take on added stress. What to do? Set that seat high enough to allow your knee to have a 25-35 degree bend when one leg reaches the bottom of the pedal stroke.

If you are already suffering from knee pain, why not consider giving your knees a well-deserved rest? Incorporate different exercises, like hand weight and exercise ball routines, swimming or gentle yoga.

Do your aching knees a favor: Self-care can help relieve many types of minor knee pain; sometimes you may have to turn to physical therapy and knee braces, which can also help relieve the pain.

If your knee pain does not subside after about three days of home treatment, you might want to seek medical help. It's also wise to consult a medical professional if you can't bear weight on the knee; if you have severe pain (even when you're not bearing weight on the knee); your knee is misshapen or deformed; you have a redness, warmth or significant swelling on or around the knee; you have pain, numbness, tingling, swelling or bluish discoloration in the calf area below the sore knee.

Sheryl Kraft

Sheryl Kraft is a freelance health journalist, whose print and online work has appeared in numerous outlets, including AARP, Prevention, Family Circle, MORE, healthywomen.org, YahooHealth, WebMD, Senior Planet and more. She writes about health, fitness, nutrition and how to live your healthiest life.

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