Thursday, April 25, 2019

Healthy Knees

How to Keep Knees Healthy Longer & Counter Osteoporosis Arthritis

Knee problems and other joint-related health issues seem to be a rite of passage for anyone over the age of 50. While knee pain, injuries and surgeries are extremely common, and millions of people currently already have artificial knees, knee-related issues are highly preventable according to the Harvard Medical School. An artificial joint can make all the difference in a person’s life, but major surgeries like these can come at more than a financial cost. There are a number of measures that you can take in order to avoid or prolong knee problems that often lead to Osteoporosis Arthritis. We’ll discuss how to keep knees healthy for longer, and several alternative ways to combat knee pain or injury where possible.

Stay Active & Regulate Your Weight
This is by far, the most important precaution you can take in order to avoid knee problems and many other health issues. Daily exercise a few times per week will help fortify your muscles and can help regulate your weight, both of which work to prevent knee deterioration.

When you strengthen your muscles, this helps absorb some of the stress you place on your knee from simply walking. According to the Harvard Medical School, your knees absorb 1.5 times your body weight when you walk. If you work to strengthen your quads, hamstrings, hips and core muscles, they alleviate some of the stress off your knees and help stabilize the knee joint. 

Furthermore, daily exercise can help regulate your weight, which determines the amount of stress placed on the knees. One pound of unhealthy weight can add up to four times the amount of stress on your knees, and obesity alone is a common cause for knee deterioration. The more shock your knees absorb, the faster their cartilage deteriorates and once the cartilage is gone, your bones start to rub against each other, which leads to pain, stiffness and swelling. Since cartilage can’t be replaced, prevention is vital.

Regulating your weight, also helps reduce the risk of diabetes and helps you control your blood-sugar levels. This is important because high glucose levels in your blood can cause your body to produce molecules that make your cartilage stiff and more sensitive to stress. The higher the glucose level, the faster the generation of these molecules, which is why there is a high correlation between diabetes and Osteoporosis Arthritis.

Exercising also improves your range of motion, which matters because your muscles become more stiff with age. Having a range of motion that allows you to straighten the knee can be an indicator of a healthy knee according to the Harvard Medical School.

Eat Foods to Strengthen Your Bones
Strengthening your bones is also key to avoiding Osteoporosis Arthritis, and this means eating the right nutrient-rich foods. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the following foods are great for your bone health:

  • Foods high in Vitamin C: red peppers, green peppers, oranges, grapefruit, broccoli, strawberries, brussels sprouts, papaya, pineapples and more.
  • Vitamin D: mushrooms, salmon, mackerel and more.
  • Calcium; found not just in milk: broccoli, collard greens, turnip greens, kale, okra, mustard greens, tofu and more.

Find a complete nutrition guide to fortify your bones here.

Be Mindful With Daily Activity
In addition to taking preventative measures such as exercising and eating right, it’s important to pay attention to your body’s cues. Listen to your joints when you are running or walking for extended periods of time. If you experience discomfort in your knees, you may want to skip the high impact exercise that day as there is a high possibility that it can lead to knee injury. 

Ladies, it’s time to ditch the high heels in favor of a flat; if you wear heels every day to the office and notice that your knees hurt at the end of the day, you’re placing too much stress on your joints and risking long term damage.

Care for Your Injured Knees
While it is always easier to prevent than to repair, a full recovery is still within reach if you choose to focus on the process and have a dedicated attitude toward your health. 

  • Use a knee brace to protect the injured area
  • Rest as much as possible to allow for a faster recovery
  • Use a bandage to apply the right amount of compression and ice to reduce swelling in the injured area.

Once your doctor has deemed it appropriate for you to become active again, make sure to continue to
wear your knee brace along with the right shoes. Your athletic and daily activity shoes must offer adequate cushion and support for your knees. 

If you have any questions, you can consult here for more information on the types of knee braces you can use to treat injuries, and for other ways to prevent knee injuries from physical activity.

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