The knee is the body’s most commonly injured joint, and it’s easy to see why. From high-intensity sports to a simple slip and fall, a knee injury can arise from a variety of situations, causing pain along with an inconvenient lack of mobility as the injury heals. For those whose work involves physical labor, however, a knee injury can be more than inconvenient. For many in professions ranging from product fulfillment to retail, loss of knee function can mean loss of earnings.
Thankfully, there are simple ways to strengthen your knees and reduce the likelihood of injury.
Here are five methods to build knee resilience:
1. Maintain a healthy weight.
The heavier you are, the greater the strain on your joints. When your body’s joints are carrying more than they were designed to, the stress fatigues them and makes them more susceptible to injury, chronic pain, and even conditions like arthritis. To avoid that stress, make sure your diet and activity level are keeping you at a healthy BMI.
2. Exercise – the right way.
Regular lower body exercise strengthens your entire cohort of leg muscles, which stabilize the knee joint. The stronger your soft tissues are, the more resilient your knees will be in the face of anything from sudden stresses to repetitive use. Exercise also helps keep you at a healthy weight. Keep in mind, however, that how you exercise is crucial to maintaining healthy joints. Make sure you stretch before and after exercise to keep muscles loose, and alternate high-impact activity like running with lower-impact activity like swimming to avoid overstressing the joint.
3. Wear the right shoes.
The shoes you wear to run or work out will wear out faster than your other shoes. Make sure to replace them regularly, as wear will stop them from supporting your joints fully. When shoes wear out, they can actually increase stress on your joints as the cushion decreases and the sole becomes flatter. In addition, make sure your shoes fit correctly. Ill-fitting shoes force your legs to compensate, and the knees bear the brunt of that burden.
4. Wear knee guards.
They may be unstylish, but they’re worth it. If you’re playing a sport or performing another activity that carries a risk of falling or twisting, invest in a pair of good fitting knee guards. They might not prevent every injury, but they will certainly lessen the severity of the damage should you fall.
5. Mind your posture.
It may seem like your posture is all above the waist, but how you sit and stand affects your entire body. Excessive slouching or bending stresses your knee joints as you force them to take on extra work. To avoid day-to-day joint stress, make sure your head stays above your shoulders, which should be above your core.
By following these tips, you should reduce your risk of knee pain and injury. For more information on how to protect your joints and stave off chronic pain, please contact us on social media or at your nearest PPOA location.