Your knees have been through a lot. They have helped carry you through life and all the activity involved for half a century. Our knees bear 80% of our body weight when we stand still and 150% or more when merely walking across the room. That means, with every step, a 200-pound person exerts 300 pounds of pressure on the knees. The pressure is even more significant when climbing stairs, walking up an incline, or squatting down. After half a century of such pressure, it’s not surprising if the knees start to protest, most commonly in the form of osteoarthritis–the natural result of wear and tear. Here are some tips to help you cope with and treat knee pain:
Keep Moving: As counterintuitive as it may sound, the best thing you can do to treat osteoarthritis in your knees and maintain joint health is to stay active and keep exercising. The repetitive motion of exercise pushes nutrients into the knee joint, creating protective padding. Staying active also strengthens the muscles around the knee, helping to relieve pressure on the joint.
Eat Right and Watch Your Weight: Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that almost 45% of adults in the United States are obese. This weight puts additional strain on the joints. A healthy diet and portion control lead to a healthy weight, and together, all of these help relieve pressure on your knees. Watch your portions, avoid useless calories, and eat a healthy amount of protein.
Drink Lots of Water: When dehydrated, the body siphons water from other sources. The cartilage in the knee is 80% water. Pulling water from what protective cartilage you have left lessens the joint lubrication, and this leads to knee pain. Drinking lots of water helps keep the joint working smoothly and flushes inflammatory toxins from the body.
Though some knee pain is expected with age, getting older doesn’t need to be unbearably painful. If these tips do not help to alleviate your knee pain, Dr. Andrew Ehmke specializes in treating knee pain and repairing joint degeneration. He is committed to seeing his patients healthy and active at age 50 and beyond.
Dr. Andrew Ehmke is a board-certified and fellowship-trained joint replacement surgeon specializing in robotic-assisted and minimally invasive hip and knee replacement in Chicagoland.