There’s a saying, you never miss the water ‘till the well runs dry. That sentiment can be applied to your knees – you will not appreciate them fully until they become compromised. Even a small loss of function in your knees can be problematic.
A Weighty Subject
Your knees must withstand amazing amounts of pressure; that pressure can amount to three to five times your body weight every time you go for a stroll. These joints are the strongest and largest in the body and almost always under constant use. They hold 80% of your body weight when you are standing still. Walking, running and jumping increases the load.
With each excessive pound, more pressure is added. Any excess weight on your knee joint can increase your risk for osteoarthritis, which is one of the most prevalent types of arthritis in the knees. As you get heavier, degeneration of the joint may accelerate. Keeping your weight at a healthy level is one of the primary protective strategies for your knees.
Even a small weight loss can improve knee health greatly. Losing ten pounds can translate into a loss of 40 pounds of pressure on your knee joints. Over time these small increments add up significantly. Many have experienced a substantial decrease in knee pain after losing weight.
In addition to less pressure, weight loss can also decrease inflammation. Fat cells release chemicals that can result in harmful joint inflammation. This is linked to osteoarthritis. If your weight is past the level of being healthy, lose the excess pounds and you may experience less joint inflammation.
It is important to maintain strength and flexibility in your knees to promote stabilization. Exercising the quads, hamstrings and outer and inner thighs are vital for knee stability. You do not want to over-exert your muscles in exercising or while participating in sports activities.
Also, be aware of moves that will cause rotation in your hips and knees. Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are common when jumping or slowing down from a run. If you feel any discomfort in your knees, do not ignore it. Have a doctor or sports therapist examine your knee. Ignoring a small problem can lead to major problems later.
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