Saturday, March 12, 2011

Knee Pain Relief - What Causes Knee Pain?

Your knee is a joint, and the main function of our joints is to link one bone to another to allow us to move freely. Joints are made up of ligaments and cartilage, and when well lubricated, they keep bones moving smoothly.

1. Knee Pain Causes

As we age the cartilage that lines our knees becomes thinner. The surfaces of the knee may not slide over each other as well as they once did, leading to osteoarthritis. This condition is characterized by bones grinding against each other resulting in pain and inflammation. It is estimated that osteoarthritis affects more than twenty million people in North America, and that number is expected to grow to at least forty million by 2020. Eighty-five percent of us who live to age 85 will likely develop knee osteoarthritis, unless we do something to prevent this. Ligaments, which hold joints together tend to become less elastic as we get older. This is because of chemical changes in the proteins that make up the ligaments. As we age, our ligaments tend to tear more easily, and are slower to heal.

2. Some General Tips For Reducing Joint Pain

- Strengthen and stretch the muscles surrounding the knee. Taking care of these muscles while working out has been shown to reduce knee pain. Work on stretching out the hamstrings calves and quadriceps muscles. Include resistance exercises for these muscle groups, such as squats and lunges for the quads, leg curls for the hamstrings and calf raises for the calves.

- Eat a diet rich in calcium from foods such as almonds, peas, oranges, spinach, beans, salmon, sardines and dairy products such as yogurt and skim milk.

- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity has been proven to cause added strain on the knees. By staying active (for at least 20 minutes, 3-5 times per week) and avoiding high fat, processed foods, you can minimize the impact absorbed by the knees.

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