Osteoarthritis: Here's how you can take care of your aging knees

take care of your aging knees
Osteoarthritis, that literally means the wearing away of the knee cartilage, usually causes pain and reduced mobility resulting into the need of a knee replacement with age. This can be delayed for a long time, or completely avoided with a few precautions taken right from the start.

The Aging Knee

As per the information extended by Harvard, your knees absorb a huge amount of pressure with every step — typically one-and-a-half times your body weight. That pressure, plus regular wear and tear, take a toll over time. Muscles and ligaments get weaker.

The knee's two shock absorbers — pads of cartilage called menisci — start to deteriorate. So does the articular cartilage protecting the ends of the leg bones where they meet at the knee? If you have a family history of osteoarthritis, if you're overweight, or if you've had some knee injuries, you may be more prone to this deterioration.

When the cartilage is gone, the bones rub against each other, and you end up with pain, stiffness, and swelling.

Here's how you can take care of your knees:

1) Strengthen Muscles

Boosting muscle strength stabilizes the knee joint and helps the muscles absorb stress you place on the knee. Strengthening should start with the quadriceps and hamstrings in the thighs, but it shouldn't end there.

"In the old days, we just strengthened the quads. Now we know that it's also important to strengthen the hip and core muscles to maximize the function of the knee," says Dr. Richardson from Harvard. Everybody is different so a trained physiotherapist will suggest the best exercises for your body.

2) Maintaining Proper Weight

Yes, society does try and give a body-shaming angle to excessive body weight, but only if a little more awareness was created with a health perspective, would've saved many people from falling prey to health issues. If you're overweight, each additional pound you carry translates to another 4 pounds of pressure on the joints. Having a healthy BMI range is a boon to your knees. Calculate your ideal BMI and check your weight accordingly.

3) Widen the Range of Motion

Stiffness in movement is caused sometimes by overage. There are pieces of evidence, that with a better range of constant movement of your body parts, there are fewer issues detected. If you do plan on doing knee exercises in the house itself, do it on the bed or place a mattress to provide proper support.

Refrain few activities if you already have Osteoarthritis like:

1) Squats

Doing daily chores that include squatting for a long time can cause further damage to your knees. Avoid long periods of squatting like cleaning the floor or gardening.

2) Jumping

If you like jogging and you have already knee issues, the sad news is that you will have to stop it. High impact activities like these will worsen the case. Choose activities like cycling or elliptical trainer instead.

3) Aerobics

Aerobics also cause a lot of stress on your knees. Use light dancing or climbing a few stairs (not walking down) as an alternative that helps boost your exercise with a lesser impact on knees.
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