Regardless of gender, age or level of physical fitness, almost every person will eventually have to deal with the issue of knee pain at some point. One of the most vulnerable joints in the human body, the knee can be afflicted by arthritis, bursitis and cartilage damage. It’s quite possible to reduce or even entirely eliminate debilitating knee pain through a variety of methods. The following techniques have been proven to be quite effective at improving knee health.
1. Optimizing Diet & Nutrition
Eating the right foods can shore up the knee defenses in surprising ways. Soy-based foods like edamame that contain isoflavones are a good place to start. In addition, fruits rich in vitamin C such as kiwi and grapefruit strengthen bones and cartilage. A weekly helping of mackerel or salmon can help to prevent rheumatoid arthritis. To prevent inflammation, spices such as turmeric and cumin as well as beverages like green tea are just the ticket.
2. Building Up Key Muscle Groups
It’s possible to take a bit of pressure off of the knees and therefore alleviate chronic pain by building up key muscle groups within the legs. In particular, strengthening the quads and hamstring muscles can prevent undue knee aches and pains. Doing leg raises and wall slides is a great way to improve leg muscle tone. In addition, a little bit of stair climber work at the gym is always a good idea.
3. Switching to Low-Impact Exercises
Cardiovascular exercise is a key ingredient to overall health and longevity. However, it’s important to do it in such a way that it doesn’t negatively impact joints while improving aerobic fitness. Fortunately, there are plenty of activities that fit that description. Cycling is often the go-to exercise for those watching their knees, though it’s hardly the only one available. Furthermore, swimming is a great way to get a low-impact workout. Another terrific option is cross-country skiing.
4. Losing Weight
There are many, many reasons to lose weight in this day and age. More than half of the United States is overweight, so there’s a good chance that any given individual could stand to lose a few pounds. Aside from the fact that losing weight will probably increase one’s lifespan, carrying fewer pounds reduces stress on the leg joints that can result in serious consequences further on down the road. As such, it’s best to stay as trim as possible as one ages.
5. Employing Thermal Therapy
Alternating heat and cold is a surefire way to alleviate muscle aches and joint pain regardless of where they arise. For knees in particular, a little heat or cold applied regularly can significantly improve long-term joint health. Booking some quality time in a sauna once a week or so is never a bad idea. After strenuous workouts or whenever knee pain strikes, treating soreness with an ice pack can help to reduce inflammation.
6. Investing In Flexibility
One of the best ways to maintain knee health is by remaining limber and flexible. Giving joints a chance to breath by doing yoga regularly and engaging in similar stretching exercises is a wise move. Though the jury is still out on the exact benefits of stretching before workouts, it’s quite beneficial for many people and should be done whenever knee discomfort occurs. Stretching throughout the day regardless of whether or not one is exercising is also recommended.
7. Wearing the Right Footwear
Many tend to forget about the importance of wearing the right shoes insofar as preventing knee injuries goes. Women are particularly at risk due to their use of high heels. Whenever possible, wear comfortable flats with over-the-counter inserts if necessary to prevent joint damage and reduce knee discomfort. Seeing a podiatrist to get custom orthotics for one’s shoes can in some cases actually save money in the long run by preventing knee injury incidents.
Knee Health for Better Quality of Life
Preventing knee damage before it occurs is the best way to save money and reduce physical suffering in the end. There’s no time like the present to invest in one’s own health, especially when it comes to leg joints. The guidelines detailed above should serve as a good blueprint for general knee health. Any of the aforementioned knee pain treatment options will prove to be highly effective when used properly.