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Look after your knees

Knee pain is a common reason for seeking physiotherapy. Because of its location, function and anatomy, the knee is more susceptible to injury than any other joint. The knee is made up of bones, tissue, ligaments and tendons, all of which are covered with a layer of cartilage, which wears thin as we age. These bones are constantly moving around each other, and one wrong twist or movement can cause injury. Added to that, the knees bear the brunt of the body's weight, therefore those who are obese, elderly, or active in sport can expect to suffer from knee pain at some time.

If you are an athlete and play contact sport, you want to protect your knees with some type of protective gear, as trauma to the knee can result in a torn ligament. Wearing the proper footwear to cushion impact during running and jumping will also protect your knee from injury. Exercises to maintain strong muscles around the knee, would keep them stable and help prevent injury. Also you should avoid over-training or overuse of the knee which can lead to tendon tears, bursitis, and other pain syndromes.

It has been reported that obesity can lead to osteoarthritis with a resulting knee pain. The best remedy is to lose the weight through diet and exercise. Walking, aerobics, cycling, swimming are all helpful in shedding weight. If you don't know how to start, consult your physiotherapist. Another way to save your knee is to avoid excessive kneeling. If you must kneel, use a soft cushion and invest in a bench for gardening tasks.

Many elderly people resign themselves to living with knee pain resulting from osteoarthritis. But this is not necessary. Starting a program of stretching and strengthening exercises before knee pain begins will keep it away. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking and weight-training will strengthen the large muscles, making them stable and less prone to wear and tear. Following these simple hints can help save your knees, prevent you from having surgery and add to your enjoyment of life.


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