Tips for keeping your knees fit & healthy

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Whatever you do never jump into a rigid exercise regimen without the proper build-up. Not if you want to avoid knee trouble.

400,000 knee replacement procedures are preformed each year in the U.S.A. alone. If at all possible, you will want to avoid this by learning to take better care of your knees.

Knee injuries from overuse are avoidable if people take precautions. But the people who get them are those who start a workout programme because they’re trying to lose weight and they try to do too much, too soon, too fast.

Knee injuries can strike middle-aged people, extremely active teen athletes and elderly people alike. Knee replacement is a remedy of last resort but with the number of operations on the increase it is obvious that a lot of us are not practicing good “knee health.”

Here are 3 tips if you want to start now:

1 Remember that our knees are predisposed to injury.

“The knee joint doesn’t have much bony stability and it has to rely on ligaments and tissues. It’s also not a strong ball-and-socket joint,” said Dr. Margaret Baker, an orthopaedic surgeon whose Centre for Bone and Joint Surgery is based in Port Angeles, Washington.

“I believe that because the way the knee joint is built, it is predisposed and more vulnerable than other joints. You see more arthritis in the knees and hips as opposed to elbows, for example. A lot of it has to do with weight-bearing stress and the way we walk,” she said.

Baker also adds that while our bodies can rebuild broken bones, they can’t regenerate damaged cartilage.

2 Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do.

“The number one thing that people can do to help themselves is to not be overweight. Carrying extra weight crushes and kills your cartilage and cushions in the knees, “ Baker said.

Every extra pound a person carries is equivalent to five extra pounds of weight on the knees. So a person who is 10 pounds overweight is putting an additional 50 pounds of weight stress on his or her knees.

3 Treating your knees will reduces your risk of getting osteoarthritis.

Despite a common misperception, disabling osteoarthritis isn’t an inevitable part of aging. “Actually, we can do a lot of prevention by keeping our weight in the right Body Mass Index range and through regular physical activity,” said Dr. Patience White, chief public health officer of the Arthritis Foundation, based in Atlanta.

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