Nearly 50 million Americans suffer from knee pain. Painful knees can affect people of all ages, and the causes are many including knee joint injuries, inactivity and osteoarthritis, as well as the wear and tear of aging. But there are several things anyone can do to keep knees pain free and avoid knee replacement surgery.
The knees are key to mobility. From the time we learn to walk and run, they’re under stress. The knee joint is a complex arrangement of ligaments, muscles and bone, and as we move and age, those structures are vulnerable to stresses, injuries and even poor diet. Here are five ways to ease knee pain – and keep your knees pain free.
Take a Walk
Humans were designed to walk on two legs. Especially if you’re sedentary, taking a walk can help keep knees strong and flexible. Keep your walks easy and pace yourself. If walking isn’t a part of your routine, ease into it and save hi8gh intensity fitness walking for later. Consider a hiking pole or fitness poles for stability. Walking can also be a good warm-up for knee exercises.
The gentle sustained stretches of yoga can ease knee pain and restore flexibility. If you’re new to yoga or very stiff, yoga props such as straps and blocks can help you get into the flow. Yoga has been used by injured athletes to speed recovery and by pool with joint and autoimmune disorders to maintain flexibility.
Do Sitting Exercises
Many of us spend too much time sitting, and that leads to knee stiffness as well as weakness in the core, glutes and back muscles – all of which play a role in stability and easing stress on the knees. Sitting exercises such as raising the legs and hips can increase knee joint flexibility and reduce pain.
Cycle or Spin
Cycling, whether on a stationary bike or taking a ride around the neighborhood, is a low impact way to keep the knees pain free and flexible. It places less stress on vulnerable joints than high impact activates like ruining, and also strengthens hips, back and the abdominal core to improve overall stability.
Change Your Diet
Knee health is a part of overall health, and adding vitamins and nutrients to your diet can also help reduce knee pain. Anti-inflammatory foods like salmon, eggs and olive oil can help painful knees, and so can adding more Vitamin E and C in the form of food or supplements. Calcium and Vitamin D also contribute to healthy, pain free knees, so consider adding generous amounts of low fat dairy products such as yogurt and cheese.
Knee pain doesn’t have to be a part of life. Diet, exercise and regular activity can help anyone keep knees healthy and pain free – and avoid knee surgery.