Whether you’re a seven-days-a-week gym bunny or a homebody armchair quarterback, it’s essential you look after your knees. Because as the old saying goes, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.
When they’re gone? Surely we don’t have to accept duff knees as an inevitable part of life? We certainly don’t think that should be the case, so we’ve drawn up a collection of knee-care tips so you can help those legs of yours keep on running. Or walking – even the most laid-back and cautious of us would do well to consider these suggestions.
First thing’s first, though: before you act on any of these, check with your doctor to confirm they are appropriate for your condition if in any doubt at all. Possible issues and considerations are very different for those recovering from knee surgery, for example, in comparison to experienced marathon runners looking for day-to-day support and knee stability.
And never ignore pain – if your knee or joints feel inflamed or painful for extended periods, use what’s left of your mobility to go see your doctor. If you’re generally fit and well and not receiving professional guidance from a health or sports professional, a regular Knee Support Brace helps to eliminate twisting and gliding of the knee cap – this makes it perfect for alleviating arthritis and meniscus pain and a great piece of gym kit, even for those yet to be troubled by painful joints.
So how else can we help keep those knees working properly?
The right support
There are a range of braces available for a variety of situations. Functional braces, for example, provide support to knees that have been injured in the past, which makes them a favourite among athletes who might have picked up a knee injury on the field or court. Rehabilitative braces, on the other hand (or knee) are generally used immediately after an injury has been sustained or surgery has been carried out. These braces keep the joint stable while allowing them the freedom to heal, so you’ll often spot these in doctors’ waiting rooms.
Unloader braces are designed to move the wearer’s weight from the damaged joint to somewhere less sensitive to pain and stress, so these are regularly used to relieve pain in arthritis sufferers. Prophylactic braces protect knees from injuries during high-impact sports, so these have become another popular choice in the sporting community.
Other supports you might spot in the gym can include knee sleeves and the regular Knee Support Brace mentioned previously, the latter of which helps protect the knee cap during day-to-day activities and exercise.
A weighty issue
Sorry to be the bearer of potentially bad news, but perhaps we could all stand to lose a pound or five? Before you storm off in indignation (sorry again, do stay and keep reading) bear in mind that the weight lost around your hips and abdomen will result in reduced pressure on the knees that professionals say you’ll not only notice and appreciate very quickly, but it might even slow the progress of arthritis.
In order to keep your knees flexible, be ready to mix things up when it comes to exercise. Don’t get stuck in a rut – high-impact sports like running and racket games like squash and tennis can be very hard on your knees, so consider combining these with more gentle exercise such as swimming or even yoga.
Keep taking the tablets
If you’re not already taking a rolling course of supplements, consider adding some of the most popular vitamins to your daily routine. And not just good-old cod liver oil – be sure to also take a look at glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate (very popular across a wide range of age groups and conditions); Omega-3 fatty acids (an essential part of normal growth for all of us) and – of course – calcium (the bone builder) and vitamin C for its anti-oxidising abilities.
Follow these tips and you and your knees can look forward to a long, productive and hopefully pain-free future together.