Knee problems can cause drastic changes to your lifestyle. Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce the pain and build up your knees. Here are five of the best tips from physical therapists. Start implementing them today.
1. Build Up Your Gluteus Maximus
The gluteus maximus, otherwise known as your butt muscle, is key in preventing knee pain. When the gluteus maximus is weak, your pelvis drops and your femur will move out of position. All this poor alignment causes extra stress on the knee. It makes sense that stronger butt muscles will improve knee function.
2. Stretch, Stretch, Stretch
Many knee injuries occur when people don’t stretch properly before exercising. Once the damage is done, stretching is still important. Tight hip adductors and hamstrings can create an imbalance in the muscles. The imbalance will cause further stress on the knee.
Hamstring stretches are particularly useful in preventing further injury. When you stretch the supportive muscles, you ease the pressure. The release of pressure on the knee can help relieve the pain.
3. Strengthen Your Core
Your core muscles keep your body aligned. This is very important when it comes to your knees. The knees can be affected by even a slight misalignment.
You’ll find plenty of videos available to teach you the best core exercises. Some of the more popular core exercises include twisting crunches, V-sit holds and superman exercises. Many exercise ball moves are also excellent for strengthening your core.
4. Lose the Extra Pounds
Everyone has their own reasons for losing weight, but taking some of the extra pressure off your knees is an excellent one. Losing just 10 pounds can ease the stress on your joints. If you are considerably overweight, this could be the only thing between you and healthy joints.
In general, a healthy diet and regular exercise will help you lose weight. However, this is not always true. Some people suffer from medical conditions that result in weight gain. If this is the case, you will need to discuss your options with your doctor. There may be other methods of dropping the extra weight.
If weight loss seems overwhelming, consider teaming up with an accountability partner. It can help to have someone working out with you to keep you on track. Studies have also shown that people who keep a food journal tend to make better eating decisions. They also tend to keep the weight off, rather than gaining it back immediately.
5. Take Care of Your Feet
High heeled shoes and boots are some of the most damaging footwear when you have a knee problem. The awkward position of the foot in high heels causes tighter muscles in the calves and throws your entire body out of alignment.
To avoid aggravating your knee problems, stick to low heeled shoes. You should also be sure to exercise correctly. Your core muscles, gluteus maximus, hip adductors and hamstrings are the areas to focus on for maximum results. Be sure to stay within your ideal weight range, as well, to prevent further pain.
Leonardo Dawson is a former physical therapist. Now retired, he enjoys giving advice to help others, on various blog sites.