Sometimes, a minor, nagging knee pain could transform into a debilitating condition, that impedes progress and hampers your daily schedule. Dr Sanjay Agarwala, an orthopedics and traumatology professional, says, “Knee problems have significantly increased over the last few years. Unhealthy diets and lifestyles, lead to an increase in weight along with poor muscles.”
To avoid knee problems, it is imperative to take care of your diet, weight, exercise regimen and more. Following are some healthy lifestyle practices that could help you to deal with knee pain and make life easier for you.
Eat the right food
Whatever we eat has a direct effect on our overall health and well-being. Dr Sanjay says, “To keep knee problems at bay, it is imperative that you eat healthy food.”
Doctors state that making sure you consume foods that are nutrient-rich is one of the key factors in having strong knees.
Have vitamin D(supplements)
There is scientific evidence to support the role of vitamin D, along with calcium, in maintaining healthy bones at all ages. Studies have reported an association between vitamin D deficiency and the risk of knee osteoarthritis progression. While sunlight can help you get your daily dose of this vitamin, you can also consider supplements for maintaining optimum knee health.
Reams have been written about how harmful wearing high heels for long hours can be, and orthopedic surgeons cannot help but reiterate this fact. Dr Sanjay states, “In recent times, heels have been reported as a possible cause of knee pain; therefore, ladies are advised to avoid high heels.” Adding inches to your height at the cost of your bone health is not advisable. Studies suggest rising incidence of knee problems, including osteoarthritis in women wearing high heels. Ditch you heels for your knees’ good, state experts.
Knee replacement is an option
Preventing knee-related problems in various ways is essential. But when age, hereditary factors, environmental and stressful schedules make it too late to go into preventive options, the answer lies in surgery. Dr Sanjay says, “Talking about treatment options, in cases where knee pain has restricted physical movement of the patients, knee joint is so much damaged or worn that it has reduced the mobility. On failure of conservative management, total knee replacement can be an effective option to bring life back on the track.”
Lose extra weight
As studies suggest, more the fat mass, lesser the bone mass. This means higher body weight increases the risk of osteoporosis. The bottom line is, lose weight for stronger bones. Maintain a healthy weight. Keep an eye on your BMI and make sure it remains in ‘normal’ limits. Regular exercising and healthy diet can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Be consistent with your diet
Keeping a food journal is important for consistency. Experts says that these can help you know what to eat and when. You can also take the help of your doctor/nutritionist to zero in on the right diet.
The right exercises
Dr Pankaj Bajaj, senior orthopedic surgeon says, “You must ensure that your exercises don’t strain your knee joints. Also, you must keep key muscles in mind while exercising.”
Eefa Shroff, yoga instructor, certified coach and a neuro-linguistic programming master practitioner, states, “Warming up and cooling down is extremely important every single time you exercise.” Spending a few minutes on the treadmill, stretching and doing other warm-up exercises are important.
Consult a doctor
Many a times, for women leading busy lives, osteoporosis remains undiagnosed until a fracture occurs. And the fact that it is usually asymptomatic is what lets it go unnoticed until too late. An expert can gauge your risk of osteoporosis by measuring bone mineral density (BMD). Dr Pankaj says, “Make sure you report any type of knee problem to an expert rather than becoming your own doctor.”
Three exercises that can help you
- Wall slides
- Wall slides can help you build up your quadriceps in a gentle and safe way. Start by pressing your spine against the wall. Now, slowly slide down to a comfortable limit to reach a sitting posture. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slide back up. You can increase the degree as per your comfort and capacity.
- Short arc quad
- This is a great muscle-relieving exercise. With your knee resting on a rolled towel, lie on your back. Now lift and straighten your knee slightly to tighten-up your muscles. Maintain the posture for five seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
- Bridge strengthens hamstring core and butt. Keeping your feet flat on the ground and knees over the heels, lie on your back. Now, pick up your pelvis off the ground to make a straight line between your knees and shoulders.
Keep in mind…
Don’t stress your bones and muscles by exercising too much or too hard. Know your limits and exercise accordingly. You can choose from jogging, brisk walking, swimming, a few minutes of treadmill running or a combination of these. But comfort is the key. Also, make sure you do a warm-up before any physical regimen to avoid risk of injury or fracture.