Tips to Keep Your Knees (and Other Joints) Healthy
When you think about all the joints in your body, from the very largest to the smallest, you’ve probably wondered what the most important joint is – luckily, we settled that in this article. The short answer is that the most important joint is whatever one is causing problems for you! We guarantee if your right knee is perfectly fine, you’ve probably given 0.0% thought to it today. On the other hand, if your right knee hurts when you walk to get the mail, keeps you up at night, and generally makes your life unpleasant, it’s probably become the most important joint in your body! So whatever joint is causing you grief, taking care of it is definitely important – and since we’re talking about your knee, we’ll tell you how to take care of that particular joint (as well as what to do with other issues bothering you).
Watch your Weight
We aren’t saying that you have to count calories or obsess over the numbers on the scale; however, the more extra pounds you carry, the more likely your knees are to suffer for it. In fact, obesity is linked to both pain in the knee as well as osteoarthritis. Another problem is that you can end up trapped in a vicious cycle: being overweight with knee pain, becoming more sedentary, gaining more weight, having more knee pain, and so on. If you’re already dealing with being overweight or fighting obesity, the best (and only) place to start is where you are. Making healthy dietary changes, increasing activity, and working toward lightening the load on your knees can help.
Don’t Fear Impact
For years, people who took part in impact activities and sports that involved heavy running have heard that running can damage your knees. Recent studies, on the other hand, have found that long-time runners have just-as or even healthier knees than non-runners. While it’s true that impact can affect your knees (and other joints), having knee pain isn’t a guarantee just because you like to run, play weekend basketball, etc. It’s more important to pay attention to how you feel when you run/play and after; if you sustain an injury or are dealing with chronic problems, address them promptly. Don’t choose sitting on the couch over being active to save your knees – they don’t “knee-d” the inactivity!
Strengthen the Whole Leg
If you want to protect your knees, one thing you can do is strengthen surrounding and supportive muscles and structures. Working on flexibility and strength can help keep your knees doing their job, instead of bearing the full brunt of weaker muscle groups. How do you know what needs work? The same way you should treat any knee, other joint problems, or issues of the musculoskeletal system: visit a physical therapist. A physical therapist is a highly-trained, specialized expert in the musculoskeletal system who is typically a doctor in one of several disciplines. Your PT will examine your knee (or other issue) and determine what is likely causing your problem, then develop a custom treatment plan based on your unique condition, situation, and goals. You’ll work with your physical
therapist to make progress on healing your injury/issues and preventing recurrence.
If your knee (or any other important joint) is out of whack, Body One Physical Therapy is here to help. We’re both locally-owned and operated, with four locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, South Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Don’t give up when you could be living your best life: call Body One today!