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Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

Get Up and Walk

December 7, 2016
Lifestyle Modification

    Walking Helps the Knees

Walking can hurt. However, it doesn’t cost much, can be done most places, and can be quite helpful.  Walking allows the knee to move through a normal range of motion with low impact on joints. You only need time and effort to go for a walk – this can also help you lose weight.  Your knee arthritis isn’t going to get better by itself.

Walk on an even surface like a track or treadmill.  Shopping malls provide stable walking conditions, as well as heat or air conditioning. Increase your distance or time as your knee grows stronger.  One step a t a time….



Knee Arthritis

January 14, 2016
Weight Loss and Exercise

                        Weight Loss and Exercise

Losing weight, exercising, and stretching are great treatment options for osteoarthritis of the knee.  Stretching keeps the muscles surrounding your knees loose and healthy, exercising lubricates the joints, and losing weight means your knees will absorb less of a load with every step you take.

You don’t need a prescription, or coverage, or a referral.  You don’t have to share any  personal information or pay a co-pay.  Weight loss, exercise, and stretching are free treatment options that will not only make your knees feel better but improve your overall physical condition.

Decrease the amount of drugs you take, spend less time with doctors….try going for a walk, or a swim.

 



Seated Leg Extension

To rest the arthritic knee or not to rest, that is the question.  Knee pain can be tricky to diagnose.  The knee joint slides, glides, and rotates.  There are ligaments, tendons, bones, cartilage….there’s a lot that can go wrong.  But for people with chronic knee osteoarthritis, they can usually tell if the knee pain is their “old friend” visiting or some new injury causing them to limp, shuffle, and creak as they walk.

If the knee pain is due to osteoarthritis, then don’t rest too much.  A healthy knee joint requires movement.  Bending the knee keeps the joint lubricated, and the surrounding musculature stretched and strong.  Resting is important for an acute injury, but for knee OA a low-impact exercise routine is important.

Inactivity can make knee pain worse because muscles become weak.  People with Knee OA need an exercise program that is safe for their knees.  And the exercise program needs to be consistent – a routine.  Your body needs to be used to moving.

Swimming, biking, and walking are great low-impact exercises that will get you sweating without beating on your knees.  Strengthen the muscles around your knee, keep them flexible, and your knee pain won’t be so bad.



running

A new study proves that people who run regularly do not have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis in their knees.  In fact the authors of the study claim that regular running can prevent knee osteoarthritis.

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found that runners of all ages had less knee pain, OA symptoms, and joint space narrowing on an X Ray than non-runners.  The medical community has historically steered runners with Knee OA away from high impact exercise like running.  This science reveals that regular running can actually help protect arthritic knees.

Dr Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo is lead author of the study.  She said, “Recent CDC (Centers of Disease Control) guidelines recommend that all adults participate in regular physical activity, as there is definitive evidence that increased physical activity is associated with reduced cardiovascular events and mortality.  However, the influence of these physical activities on knee OA is unclear.  Since running is a common leisure physical activity that involves repetitive loading, which could be harmful to the joint, I was particularly interested in studying how habitual running relates to the development of knee OA.”

2,683 people were involved with this study.  The participants had an average age of 64.5 years old, 56% were women, and the average body mass index was 28.6 (that’s overweight).  Patients had their knees x-rayed, were assessed for OA symptoms, and completed a questionnaire.  Patients were followed up with a two-year check up.

The study found that people who ran at any time in their lives had less knee OA symptoms than non-runners involved in the study. In fact people who run regularly do not have an increased risk of Knee OA, they may actually be protecting their knees from OA by running.

Dr. Lo remarked, ‘This does not address the question of whether or not running is harmful to people who have pre-existing knee OA.  However, in people who do not have knee OA, there is no reason to restrict participation in habitual running at any time in life from the perspective that it does not appear to be harmful to the knee joint.”

The study was recently presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Boston.



walking

For some of us it is the hardest thing to do.  Exercise.  It’s still one of the best treatments available for knee pain associated with osteoarthritis.  Why?  Well for a few different reasons.

1.  Exercise will lubricate your joints.  My grandmother used to tell me, “that if you don’t use it, you lose it”.  Gram was one smart cookie.  The cartilage in your knee is a lot like a sponge.  Every time you step, you compress your cartilage.  When you take weight off your knee the sponge expands.  This motion pulls fluid into your knee, and pushes fluid out.  This movement of fluid brings nutrients to your cartilage, and caries away the stuff it doesn’t need.  Walking facilitates this process of lubrication.  If you remain dormant the sponge will not get the fluid it needs.  Think of the month old sponge at your sink that is dry and flaky.  It’s not too far of a stretch to think of your knee cartilage in the same way.

2.  If you exercise you are more likely to lose weight.  If you weigh less, your knees won’t have to absorb as much impact each and every time you take a step.  Losing weight will make your knees feel better because they won’t have to work as hard.

3.  Exercise will stretch the muscles around your knee.  Having flexible musculature surrounding your knee will take pressure off the cartilage.  Stay loose and your knee pain won’t be as bad.

So something as simple as walking will lubricate your knee, stretch your muscles. and help you lose weight.



Knee Pain

February 12, 2014
Knee Pain

Knee Pain

 

If your knee hurts enough that you found this blog post, chances are your arthritis is getting worse.  So what can you do?  You have plenty of options, it’s just a matter of figuring out which one is right for you.

Let’s start with the basics:  Lose weight, eat healthy, stretch, and exercise.  Yes, losing weight and eating healthy can be difficult.  But it’s not impossible.  Stretching and going for a walk is real simple.  Just doing these four simple things can make a big difference.  It’s completely up to you.  You don’t need a prescription, you don’t need to get health insurance involved.

Try this today.  Have a nice salad for lunch, then stretch your legs for five minutes, and then go for a half hour walk.  In just one hour you proactively treated your knee without drugs, without surgery, and without going to see a doctor.  Try doing this a few times a week.  Imagine the results if you stick with this simple plan for a month, or for a year?

Why not?



Cartilage reduces friction in the knee during normal motion.

 

Osteoarthritis is caused by damage and inflammation of the bony aspects of the joint surface.  Cartilage is a joint’s first line of defense.  It is not surprising then to learn that people with healthy cartilage have less osteoarthritis, and that unhealthy cartilage makes osteoarthritis worse.  It is important to protect and maintain cartilage in order to avoid severe osteaorthritis.

In order to preserve your cartilage, you must understand how it recieves its nutrients.  Unlike bone, which recieves its nourishment from its blood supply, cartilage is very poorly vascularized.  Instead of getting nutrients from the blood stream, cartilage collects nutrients from the synovial fluid.  This is crucial, because it means that increasing motion can push nutrients out of the synovium and into the cartilage.

While it is undisputed that exercise can reduce osteoarthritis, it has been considered to be a mixed blessing; it was thought that losing weight would help osteoarthritis, but exercise might damage joints in the process.  This is not the case!  Exercise encourages healthy cartilage, which protects and insulates the joint surfaces.  So exercise with no reservations.  Athletic activity will improve your osteoarthritis.



OA and Fear

November 3, 2012

This post has been delayed by a hurricane, inspired by a spooky holiday, and grounded in science:

While osteoarthritis does not carry a terrifying death-sentence like severe cancers, it can still produce fear.  Osteoarthritis of the knee can lead to extreme pain during physical activity.  This pain can lead to apprehension about exercise.  Ultimately, that apprehension can become so severe that activity is avoided.  This can be catastrophic.

A recent article in Arthritis Care & Research studied predictors for treatment success.  The authors examined numerous factors including age, BMI, surgical history, and physical therapy treatments.  After their exhaustive review, they found only 2 factors were directly linked to the outcome of the treatment:  Knee instability, and fear of physical activity.

This means that the negative effects of being scared of exercise may be equivalent to damaged ligaments, muscles, and menisci.  In other words, the psychological effects of fear are as dangerous to your health as the physical effects of injury.

So if the thought of exercise makes you nervous, even if you know that it will bring you pain, do not let your fear make you unhealthy.  Work through it now, and overcome your fear.  It will help you later.



A squat produces high forces on the knee when it is bent.  This puts a lot of friction on the knee.

Osteoarthritis usually develops as the result of mechanical stress.  This means that while some people are diagnosed with osteoarthritis, everyone is susceptible to it.  While certain people are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, certain activities have been shown to increase the risk.  Specifically, exercises involving large or repetitive forces on the knee.  If done appropriately, exercise can be helpful for osteoarthritis.  Unfortunately, excessive exercise can be harmful.

Exercises like squatting and running can hurt your cartilage.  Each squat or jarring landing can cause micro-trauma, leading to inflammation.  Inflammation leads to osteoarthritis of the knee.  Squats are particularly dangerous for individuals with osteoarthritis because of the significant forces placed on the knee while it is bent.  This pressure can tear your cartilage.

A neoprene knee sleeve can be helpful for individuals with knee osteoarthritis.  It can support the knee and restrict motion at the most extreme angles.  This reduces shear forces on the cartilage.  Neoprene knee sleeves can also support the knee while running.  This reduces the impact on the cartilage from each step, minimizing the micro-trauma and bringing down the swelling and inflammation in the knee.



Standing calf stretch

By performing calf stretches regularly it is possible to improve blood flow and increase muscular balance around a joint. Calf stretches allow your knee joint to move through a full range of motion thereby reducing pain. By adding calf stretches to your workout or stretching routine you can greatly improve overall knee health.

A simple stretch which can be performed in the comfort of your own home, is a standing wall stretch.

Place your right foot forward, while leaving your heel on the ground. Lean forward while using your hands as support until a stretch is felt in your right calf. Keep your leg straight while maintaining balance. Hold for 15 seconds and then repeat with the left foot. This stretch should be repeated for 10 sets on both legs.