Our knees are designed to absorb a lot of stress and shock as we move around. As the largest and one of the most complex joints of the body, the knee has special features that help to protect it. These include menisci and fat pads to absorb shock and prevent bones rubbing together, ligaments to stabilize the knee, and the patella (AKA- the kneecap) to protect the joint. Large legs muscle from the lower leg and thigh meet at the knee to power our movement.
Reducing Risk of Injury
Given the structural complexity and the amount of use and abuse that our knees take on a daily basis, knee problems are common. The following tips and tricks can help you care for your knees and reduce the risk of injury.
Maintain Healthy Weight
More weight means more stress on the knees, increasing the risk of arthritis and other injuries. Work to maintain a health body mass index (BMI). It not only helps the knees but can help other health issues as well.
Keep Active with Low Impact Activities
Movement and physical activity maintains and even improves strength and range of motion, stabilizing the knee. Low impact activities like swimming, yoga, cycling, cross-country skiing, and walking provide a cardio workout without stress on the knees. High impact activities that involve pounding, pivoting, and sudden stopping have higher risk of knee injuries. If you need help finding an exercise program that is right for you, an Enablr physical therapist is available to guide you in your fitness journey.
Use Good Foot Support
Supportive and comfortable shoes align your feet and legs, easing the wear and tear on your knees. Avoid high heels. During exercise, good-fitting and shock-absorbing shoes reduce the impact on your knees and the potential for injury. There are many shoes that are specifically designed for different activities and feet types. Orthotic inserts may also be helpful. Get expert advice to ensure shoe fit if engaging in exercise and other physical activities. Lastly, if you stand a lot at work or even at home, consider using a standing mat to reduce the stress on the knees and back.
Pay Attention to your Posture
Good posture with your head over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips and knees, helps to reduce the effects of gravity. When hunching over or walking with your head forward, your body weight is also shifted forward, resulting in more stress on the back and knees. Being mindful of your posture and taking time to stand up and stretch especially if sitting for long periods of time, will help to counteract gravity’s pull.
Listen to Your Knees
It isn’t uncommon to have knee pain every once in a while. Afterall, they do a lot of work. If your knee is painful or inflamed, follow the R.I.C.E treatment (rest, ice, compression, elevation). If your knee pain continues, consider having an Enablr physical therapist evaluate your knee and recommend appropriate exercises to help you recover.
Our knees carry us through our everyday activities which makes them essential. But our knees are special too. Each kneecap is distinctive. Like fingerprints, no two people have the same biometric markers on their kneecaps (Shamir, 2013).
We believe that your unique knees deserve high quality therapy that is customized to meet your unique needs and goals. Enablr Therapy provide physical, occupational, and speech therapy services to help people to all ages and abilities. We provide in-person and live-video therapy sessions for clients throughout the state of Tennessee and select states.
To learn more about our services, visit our therapy services page.
Shamir, L. (2013, January 23). MRI-Based Knee Image for Personal Identification. International Journal of Biometrics 5(2), p. 113-125.