Sunday, September 12, 2010

Oh, My Aching Knees

This topic was published by Elizabeth Goodman in the Parade, the supplemental magazine of the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper.

Each year, Americans log roughly19 million visits to ortophedic surgeon due to knee discomport. That weight-bearing joint is the source of so many problems because it is the one most frequently affected by denerative disease including osteoarthritis-the painful condition that occurs when the cartilage in the knee wears away and the bones scrape against one another. More than 10 million people in the U.S. have osteoarthritis of the knee, and your lifetime risk of developing it is nearly one in two. But there is good news. Experts keep finding more steps that people can take to reduce discomport and to prevent, delay, or slow osteoarthritis.

According to one national survey, obese women had nearly four times the risk of getting osteoarthritis of the knee than their lighter peers, obese men had five times the risk. However, you don't need to shed a huge amount of weight to benefit your knees-losing just 10 pounds can significantly reduce your chances of developing the disease.
In a recent University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics study, women with stronger quadriceps, or front thigh muscles, were better protected from knee osteoarthritis than weaker objects. To build up your quads, do low-impact exercises like leg raises, wall sits, and squats.
A lack of joint mobility has been directly linked to knee pain. Why? If you have difficulty bending you knees when you walk or run, you end up placing excess pressure on a small area around the knee cap. Regular tai-chi or yoga sessions have been found to help increase one's range of motion. As an alternative, suggests Dr. David Teuscher, an ortophedic surgeon in Beaumont, Tex "you can add at least 10 minutes of stretching to daily workouts."
Clogs and stiff-soled walking shoes may feel comportable, but they can actually cause your knee joints to carry loads up to 15% greater than flip-flops or sneakers with flexible soles do, according to a new study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. High heels have also been shown to increase the load on knee joints.

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