The best way to maintain healthy and strong knees is to exercise. Strengthening the muscles act to support the knees can help reduce stress on the knee joint. Strong quadriceps and hamstrings help your knees absorb shock. Stretching these muscles are important as well. Strengthening these muscles can support the knee but can tighten the muscle, which makes them at risk for injury. Implementing a smart exercise regimen and effective stretching can ensure you have healthy knees!
Cartilage responds well to low-impact aerobic activity. A doctor can help you begin building a routine and find which exercises are right for you. Start slowly and listen to your body. Early on you may feel discomfort as your muscles become more accustomed to being challenged. However, if you begin to experience any pain that is not due to basic muscle soreness from exercise discontinue that exercise. It’s normal to feel stiff and sore after exercise, but if it is difficult to move you may have overdone your exercise. Often a professional physical therapist or exercise physiologist can create a custom exercise program appropriate to you as an individual.
These are suggestions and require normal balance and ability. If you have any questions as to your ability to perform these motions pleas consult your physician.
Use a 6-inch high platform and step onto it. Lift your other foot off of the ground and allow it to hang loosely off the platform. Hold for three to five seconds and then slowly lower your hanging foot to the floor. Afterwards, bring your stepping foot down. Repeat on the other side. Make sure your entire foot is on the platform and don’t lock the knee that is stepping onto the platform.
Hold onto the back of a chair and lift one leg. Stabilize your weight on the supporting leg, then tighten the thigh muscle in your lifted left. Move the lifted leg forward, backwards, left and right. Slowly return to the first position and repeat.
Hold onto the back of a chair and balance your weight onto your supporting leg. Lift the other foot and bring the heel towards the buttocks. Hold this position for three to five seconds, and then slowly lower the leg. Repeat this motion with the other leg.
If you have any questions about these stretches contact your physician for assistance.
Sit up with your back straight and both legs extended straight in front of you. Lay your palms on the floor and slide you hands towards your ankles. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Don’t point or flex your feet during this stretch, and keep your back straight. Only go as far as is comfortable ofr a gentle stretch to the back of the leg.
As you hold onto a wall or chair for balance lift one foot up towards your buttocks. Grab your ankle and pull your heel closer to the body. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Keep your back straight and knees close together. If you have any knee pain doing this, stop.
For more information about Knee Exercises visit the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.