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Knee pain is one of the most common reasons for doctor visits. As you get older, knee pain can limit your mobility and take away your independence. The keys to keeping your knees healthy? Strengthening muscles around the knees, improving balance and losing weight. Let's start with muscle strengthening. Your knee joints bear your weight when you are standing, and that creates a lot of stress on them. That stress is reduced by different muscle groups above the knee that help extend and bend your knee. They also help hold your body weight on a bent knee. Therefore, weakness of these muscles can cause higher levels of stress in the knee joint. Below the knee, the muscles in your calf are important for knee control. They also help propel the body during walking, stair climbing and running. Weakness in these muscles also adds stress to the knee joint. Heel raises can help to strengthen the calf muscles. To do a heel raise, hold on to a counter for balance. Slowly rise up on tiptoes, then lower heels to the floor. Try three sets of 15 repetitions. You will also want to focus on balance to keep your knees healthy. Maintaining balance requires your knees to work with your hips and ankles. This coordination takes practice. Simple exercises, such as standing with one foot right in front of the other, as if you were standing on a tightrope, can help. Weight loss is the important final piece. The force of each pound you carry is magnified by the time it reaches your knees. If you are walking across a flat surface, for example, the force on your knees is equal to 1 1/2 times your body weight. Going uphill, it is two to three times your body weight. Shedding extra weight reduces this force and can help prevent arthritis and injury. It can also reduce existing knee pain. To lose weight, try aerobic activity that doesnot overload the knee. Swimming or walking in a pool, or riding a stationary bike are good options. You are right to ask about nonsurgical options for knee pain - and you are asking at the right time: as your knees are starting to hurt, but probably before they have been badly damaged. By taking action now to protect your knees, you can postpone, or even avoid altogether, the need for knee replacement surgery someday. Surgery can be a godsend, but if you can protect your knees before they reach this stage - and you can - that's even better.
Eating well, combined with a moderate amount of exercise, is the best way to lose weight. Work out wisely and well. We are sharing some of the mantras fitness expert and nutritionist Samreedhi Sharma shared in a chat on rediff.com
Weight-loss surgeries help obese people get rid of diseases ranging from diabetes to infertility. Now, an American study says patients who have undergone gastric bypass surgery - a procedure that closes off much of the stomach and causes food to bypass a portion of the small intestine - have less knee pain. Bariatric surgery patients reported significant improvement in mean knee pain at one-year follow up. When compared to patients who underwent knee replacement, the percentage improvement was 60%. The stomach surgery patients also had greater improvement in physical function at six months.
Time magazine reported a study published in Arthritis and Rheumatology Journal. The study included 3,026 men and women between the ages of 50-79 years. Over the course of a two and a half year study period, the researchers analyzed both leg strength and presence of symptoms for osteoarthritis. At each checkpoint, they also inquired about discomfort or stiffness in the knees. By the end of the study period they found that, strong muscles in thighs and legs protect against knee pain. The study reported that women with the strong thighs had lower levels of pain.
Osteoarthritis is thought to be the most prevalent chronic joint disease. The incidence of osteoarthritis is rising because of the ageing population and the epidemic of obesity. Pain and loss of function are the main clinical features that lead to treatment, including non-pharmacological, pharmacological, and surgical approaches. Clinicians recognise that the diagnosis of osteoarthritis is established late in the disease process, maybe too late to expect much help from disease-modifying drugs. Despite efforts over the past decades to develop markers of disease, still-imaging procedures and biochemical marker analyses need to be improved and possibly extended with more specific and sensitive methods to reliably describe disease processes, to diagnose the disease at an early stage, to classify patients according to their prognosis, and to follow the course of disease and treatment effectiveness. In the coming years, a better definition of osteoarthritis is expected by delineating different phenotypes of the disease. Treatment targeted more specifically at these phenotypes might lead to improved outcomes.