When we think of knee injuries, we tend to first think of athletes. However, time is one of the biggest causes of joint problems, particularly with the knees and hips. These are the main weight-bearing joints, and the knees, in particular, carry the stresses of walking, stepping, turning, lifting, and balancing all day every day.
Accordingly, as we get older, the connective tissues that support the knees – along with the synovial fluid and cartilage which cushions them – tend to gradually deteriorate due to all of the pressure we put on our knees over the years. When we are younger, sports, physical occupations, and accidents (falls, car accidents, etc.) can damage the knees. Osteoarthritis is usually the result.
An orthopedic doctor is your best bet to help you maintain your knees and other joints, as well as your bones and muscles. Let’s talk about how you can preserve your healthy, well-functioning knees, and where you can go in Boynton Beach and Palm Beach County to see a top-notch knee doctor.
Five Tips on Avoiding Knee Injury
You can minimize your chances of a knee injury and arthritis by implementing five key strategies into your active lifestyle:
#1: Keep Your Weight Within the Ideal Range
Naturally, excess body weight puts extra stress on your knee joints, particularly when walking up and down stairs or simply walking. The protective joint cartilage wears down more quickly due to all of the pressure, causing bone-on-bone rubbing (osteoarthritis) as you step and walk.
Therefore, eat a balanced diet of healthy foods you enjoy. Watch the bathroom scale to prevent those extra, knee-damaging pounds from creeping on unnoticed.
#2: Always Wear Supportive Shoes
Good shoes fit your feet well, have adequate arch support and heel cushioning, and are appropriate for the activity – running shoes for running and jogging, low-heeled dress shoes for the office, and so on. Ask your knee doctor or physical therapist for a recommendation.
The right shoes keep your feet, knees, and hips well-aligned. They take stress off your knees, hips, and lower back, and allow you to walk and move with stability and confidence.
#3: Stay Physically Active
Especially if you’ve been sick or had surgery, you will benefit from an individualized physical therapy program to get you back up and into your active lifestyle again gradually. Physical therapy can strengthen your muscles, improve your balance, and help you prevent future injury.
You may be asked to wear a knee brace or elastic bandage to support your weak knee until it becomes stronger. Be sure not to leave it on all the time, but take it off periodically in order to “teach” your leg muscles how to work properly again.
#4: Enjoy Exercise that Is Easy on the Joints
Walking, swimming, and cycling build endurance, flexibility, and muscular strength in the legs. For indoor walking, look into an elliptical, rather than a treadmill, because the elliptical works the muscles but minimizes joint impact.
#5: Stretch, Stretch, Stretch
When your leg muscles are tight and cold, you put excess stress on your knee joints when you stand and walk. So, before engaging in any activity – even a simple walk – be sure to stretch and warm-up for a minute or two. Doing so will help to maximize blood flow and flexibility in your legs and knees.
Consult the Knee Experts in Boynton Beach
You can achieve and maintain an active life and healthy joints. It starts with a consultation with one of our orthopedic surgeons.
Here at Personalized Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches, you’ll receive a friendly, detailed evaluation and important information on how to avoid knee injury and keep moving. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our outstanding orthopedic physicians, call us today at (561) 733-5888, or request an appointment via our easy online form now. We look forward to being your partner in wellness.