How to Prevent Knee Problems

Make yourself aware of these factors that increase the risk of knee problems. Some are related to the activities you engage in, or the intensity with which you do them. Others are natural factors and irreversible they may be, awareness of such factors will enable you to prepare to manage or possibly avoid future knee pain and injury. NHS Heroes –

1. Obesity
All that excess weight forces a lot of stress on your knee joints, not only during exercise like running or jogging, but even during your normal day-to-day activities like walking or going up a flight of stairs. As obesity puts added weight on the knees, it speeds up the breakdown of joint cartilage, increasing the risk of osteoarthritis. The risk of osteoarthritis also increases with age, another valid reason to start losing that extra weight as soon as possible.

2. Overuse
This one creeps up on you as it can develop gradually over a few days or weeks. It can result from any routine activity – exercise or your daily tasks at home or at work – wearing down the muscles surrounding the knees, leading to microscopic tears. Often, the pain is felt sporadically in the beginning and increases in intensity and frequency over time. The pain stems not from repeating the activity itself but from not giving the tears the chance to heal before engaging in the same activity again. Overuse injuries like muscle strain, tendonitis and bursitis must be treated early to prevent them from recurring.

3. Overdoing
Despite the lack of exercise for quite some time, for some urgent reason, you decide to jump into your exercise program in full force and end up doing too much too soon. You are inviting knee injury when you overdo high impact exercise like running excessively your first time out and even more so when you do so on hard and/or uneven surfaces. Resist the temptation to exceed expectations, your own or others’, when you haven’t had physical activity for a long time. Start conservatively and steadily progress into the degree you desire.

4. High-risk Activity
There are certain activities, some sports in particular, that pose a high risk of knee injuries. If you have an old knee injury or are prone to having one, it is advisable for you to avoid activities that involve jumping, pivoting and sudden acceleration or deceleration. Skiing, football and basketball are examples of such high-risk activities. It would be better for you to go for swimming or cycling instead.

5. Lack of Strength and Flexibility
This refers to the muscles surrounding your knee joints, namely the hamstring and quadriceps muscle groups. If these muscles are weak or too tight, they will not be able to render the adequate support to your knees. These muscles, if strong and flexible enough, should absorb much of the stress placed on the knee joints, reducing the risk of knee injury.

6. Gender
Owing to their anatomy, women are more likely to have knee pain than men. A common knee problem among women is inflammation of the joint between the knee cap and the knee. This is due to the wider pelvis of women causing the muscles of the thigh to pull the knee cap off to the side. Among adolescents, girls are more likely to experience a dislocated kneecap than boys, while boys have a greater chance of experiencing Osgood-Schlatter disease or patellar tendonitis than girls. Also note that some knee problems may become more pronounced during pregnancy as the woman’s biomechanics change.

7. Age
Certain knee problems are prevalent among adolescents such as Parapatellar knee pain syndrome, Osgood Schlatters Disease, Osteochondritis dissecans, torn cartilage, fractures and dislocated knees, while adults often experience osteoarthritis and cartilage damage. Among the elderly, often due to underlying degenerative disease, meniscal tears could possibly occur.

8. Anatomical Irregularity
An anatomical irregularity like uneven legs or misaligned kneecaps can possibly make you more prone to knee injury, as understandably the stress placed on the knees is not distributed evenly. “Varus knee malalignment”, more commonly known as bow-leggedness, can also lead to serious knee problems. It is advised to surgically correct the bow-leggedness as a way to possibly prevent the development of severe arthritis of the knee.

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