While not many people get excited about the prospect of getting old, it’s not something we can avoid. However, there are plenty of things we can do to prepare our body to stand up strong to the test of time. As we age, the joints in the musculoskeletal system slow down or can start to stiffen up, due to injury, wear and tear, or degenerative conditions such as arthritis. This degrading over time is especially hard on the knees. The knee is a complex joint which makes it very prone to injury, and it really stands up to a lot of pressure and weight over the years.
The knee is a very strong hinge joint that helps with stability, balance, and mobility. If the knee becomes injured, it can be very hard to navigate through your daily life without chronic pain. The knee is formed by the thighbone (femur), the large bone in your lower leg known as the shin (tibia), the fibula, and the patella (kneecap). The surface of the knee joint is protected with the kneecap. The knee is also supported and composed of several ligaments that support the joint, including the ACL, PCL, MCL, and LCL.
The knee’s cartilage acts a shock absorber or cushion between the four bones, bracing and stabilizing the joint with every movement. When the cartilage starts to wear down, painful bone-on-bone friction can occur, making it hard to do everyday activities such as running, walking, and playing sports.
To protect your knees from injury and other complications, it is necessary to understand why the knee becomes injured, and know that we can’t stop the aging process, but there are ways that we can protect our knees to get your life back and relieve pain. These tips on protecting your knee include:
1. Notice your symptoms and monitor them
Watching out for certain symptoms can give you an idea about what might be causing your knee pain. Swelling, inflammation, and lack of mobility are all factors of aging, and indicators of knee pain. With a proper exam and diagnosis from an orthopedic doctor, they can discern the cause and subsequent treatment for your pain.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity is a huge factor of having extra weight on your joints, and why there is pain. They say that every extra pound you put on places about four extra pounds of pressure on your knees. Getting rid of extra weight may help alleviate your knee pain, among the other benefits associated with a healthy body weight.
Living an active lifestyle and having a good exercise routine means healthy knees. Stretch before, and use strength training techniques to build strong bones, muscles, and increase mobility and flexibility. A body in motion stays in motion, and may be harder for father time to catch up to.