The aforementioned key to keeping a knee problem at bay is to stay relatively active and to eat right. According to the US Government, 56% of Americans are overweight. This is bad news for our knees.
Scientifically speaking, our knees form and develop in mass and strength in proportion to the amount of weight our body was designed to hold. Although the body is very adaptable and can learn to hold different weights, a point can be reached where the body is simply not comfortable supporting the excess weight.
Let's talk BMI, or Body Mass Index. BMI is the number you come up with when you divide how much you weigh in kilograms by how tall you are in centimeters squared. The number you come up with is your BMI. A BMI between 18.5 and 25 is considered in the normal range. A BMI above 25 is considered overweight and a BMI of 30 or more is classified as obesity. To find your BMI, there are several calculators on the Internet including the BMI recommendations from the Surgeon General. Click here to calculate your BMI.
Losing weight can provide instant relief for the knees. Although we are constantly inundated with new diet fads, remember that logically, the way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than we burn and the way to maintain weight is to burn approximately the same number of calories that we burn.
Although in reality, this method can be harder to follow than it is to understand, once we build healthy habits, this lifestyle will become easier and easier to maintain. Some diets help you to do this. Others are shams. Be cautious. Anything that seems to good to be true, probably is.
If you have arthritis, there are pain aggravators that should be avoided. For instance, paprika, pepper, tobacco, cayenne, eggplant, large amounts of potatoes and tomatoes can irritate your arthritis because these foods have alkaloids that prevent the repair of collagen and cartilage. Aspartame (found in diet sodas and artificial sweeteners) can also worsen arthritis since in causes inflammation in the joints when regularly consumed.
In study after study, it seems almost innumerable health benefits can be accumulated from eating a diet rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, whole wheat and fruits. Once again, knees also benefit from this diet.
It is also important to incorporate exercise into your routine if you have knee pain. Although it may seem like a Catch-22 (you cannot exercise because your knee hurts, and your knee hurts more because you cannot exercise) strengthening the leg muscles can be crucial in alleviating knee pain.
The more support the muscles can offer, the less stress and therefore less pain. Please refer to our online exercise library, which will show you several knee strengthening exercises. Also, if your knee hurts and you want to start up an exercise routine, why not try a stationary bike or swimming? While running or stair climbing can be taxing to the knees, the stationary bike and swimming are both excellent cardiovascular activities that only minimally put pressure on the knees.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory medication, or NSAID's, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin and Motrin IB) help reduce swelling and inflammation and can be quite helpful to a torn ligament. The ibuprofen also helps mask the pain of a knee injury. Use NSAID's cautiously, however, as taking them regularly over a long period of time can cause ulcers or other gastro-intestinal problems.
Just remember that while using NSAID's, you should also be taking other precautions to heal your pain. COX-2 inhibitors such as Celebrex by Searle and Vioxx by Merck can help lessen the stiffness brought on by arthritis pain. Vioxx can helps manage both osteoarthritis and rheumetoid arthritis pain. While they are able to help with the pain, they also might make it difficult for the body to heal ulcers, so be sure to consult with your doctor to make sure this is the right treatment for you.
Another anti-inflammatory that can be useful are enzymes. The FDA has labeled them GRAS (or generally regarded as safe) which means they can be used to treat knee pain with little to no side effects.
This is an easy to remember four-step formula for treating a knee injury that is incurred from activity.