Knee joints are made up of bones, ligaments and cartilage. The cartilage is a fibrous, elastic tissue that acts as a cushion between the bones of the knee. Over time, and with age, this specialized shock absorber begins to thin, allowing the ball and socket bones in the knee to rub and pound against each other.
Adopting the following strategies will help your knees remain strong, which can prevent injuries during regular exercise or daily activities:
Keep the extra pounds off
A healthy weight is the number one doctor-recommended aim for knee injury prevention.
Build strength in the muscles supporting the knee joint
This will help the muscles help absorb some of the shock that contributes to small, micro-traumatic injuries which cause levels of inflammation to rise.
Stretching can fight joint stiffness and add range of motion to the knee, which protects from further wear and tear.
A varied exercise program works a different set of muscles over the week. Support for the bones and joints are strengthened. Choose low- or no-impact exercises such as walking, bicycling and swimming. These are the least risky exercises for knees. Running and jumping are high-impact and can stress and shock the knee.
Keep a healthy diet
Eat foods with helpful vitamins like calcium, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Take supplements, such as glucosamine, Chondroitin and fish oil capsules.
Applying ice to your knees after exercising helps relieve the build-up of synovial fluid, which naturally comes into the joint during exercise. If it doesn’t get into the lymphatic system after exercise-which ice helps with- it can crack the cartilage.
Since we want our knees to last us a lifetime, we must be aware of the risk factors of cartilage degeneration and the resulting pain, stiffness and immobility. These factors, stemming from aging, inflammation, and previous minor injuries, will cause further wear and tear of the knee joint.
By following these prevention tips, your knees’ shock absorbers can be effective in protecting the bones of the knee.
Written by: Ruby Holder Moseley, FizzNiche Staff Writer
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