Do you notice when you squat to pick something up or get up from a low chair your knees creak or grind?Or maybe when you go down stairs, one of your knees feels like buckling?
Our knees take a lot of abuse from years of carrying our weight. For every 1 pound, we're putting 4 pounds of pressure on our knees. For example, 20 pounds of excess weight is equal to 80 pounds of pressure on our knees. Inversely, for every pound lost, we ease 4 pounds of pressure on our knees.
There are many factors that affect the weight bearing forces on the knees.Poor foot support and muscle tightness and/or weakness are two. Correct shoe orthotics can affect the way your weight is displaced on your knees. Prolonged sitting at work or school tightens the hamstrings and hip muscles. Weakness in the quadriceps can cause that” buckling” sensation.
There are simple exercises that can be done on a daily basis to strengthen the part of the quadricep's muscle that is responsible for the last 30 degrees of extension. This muscle is responsible for lowering your foot when going down a step or squatting.
Using a rolled towel, place it under your knee. Press the knee down into the roll and lift your heel up for 5 seconds. Repeat for 15 minutes to each knee.
Stretching the hamstring is equally important.This can be done in different positions.Standing with your left heel on the ground, keep your knee straight and curl your ankle toward you. Now, bend the right knee and lean forward. Keep your back straight. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Always do the exercise and stretches after your muscles are warmed up. For more extensive exercises , consult a licensed physical therapist.
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