Our knees are responsible for the stability, support, and flexibility of the legs. Therefore they help us to walk, run, crouch, jump, stand and turn around. Actually, all this means that you need to take proper care in order to maintain their health and to prevent serious issues. As we all know the knees weaken with age, that’s why elder people more commonly face problems with them. Furthermore, the weakness in the knees may be caused by many factors such as: sedentary lifestyles, smoking, knee strain or injury, excess sodium intake, alcohol etc. The pain in the knees can be treated naturally, through lifestyle and dietary changes.
Here are 10 ways in order to strengthen the knees and avoid such problems:
Calcium is very important for the bones, therefore its deficiency leads to thinning and weakening of bones, and osteoporosis. Our body does not produce calcium naturally that’s why you need to supply it through supplements and dietary sources too. Hence, calcium can be obtained through sardines, cheese, milk, almonds, dark leafy greens, calcium-fortified cereals, blackstrap molasses, and fortified orange juice. You must make sure you choose the products with vitamin D as well, as it helps the calcium absorption. You have to know that your doctor will recommend the proper dosage.
- Anti-inflammatory Foods
Inflammation can cause pain and weakness of knees therefore you should consume anti-inflammatory foods, such as: spinach, ginger, turmeric, olive oil, avocados, tart cherries, walnuts, flaxseeds, salmon, blueberries, and sweet potatoes. Remember that you should avoid inflammatory foods such as: white flour products, foods high in saturated fats, soda, white rice, sugary foods etc.
Great help in the case of knee pain and arthritis can be the low-impact aerobic exercise – swimming. Therefore you should swim about 30 minutes on a daily basis, and the most effective swimming strokes are butterfly stroke, backstroke, and front crawl. You need to avoid breaststroke, as it applies great pressure on the joints of the knees.
Exercises can strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee and can also improve their condition. What is more, it also strengthens the knee bones, aligns the joints and positions too. There are some beneficial exercises such as: knee bends, lunges, hamstring stretches with thigh contraction, single-leg squats, straight-leg raises, step-ups and squats with a Swiss ball. You need to perform these exercises half an hour, 4-5 times weekly.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is very important for the formation of the main components of knee cartilage which is the collagen .Namely, this component is crucial for the proper development of bones, for the quality of bone matrix, and synthesis of collagen as well. Moreover, it also reduces the risk of fractures and enhances the bone mass density too. You can either take it as capsules and chewable tablets.
- Epsom Salt
People, who suffer from knee pain due to rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis, are the ones who have extremely low levels of magnesium. Since Epsom salt is high in this mineral, it can successfully reduce the intensity of the issues. All you need to do is to dissolve 2 tablespoons of it in half a cup of water, and soak a washcloth in the solution. After this, just apply it on the knees, and leave it thus for about 15-20 minutes, and rinse it off with lukewarm water. You should repeat this twice a week.
- Vitamin D
The deficiency of this vitamin can actually cause an increased risk of minimal trauma fractures and bone loss. Likewise, if the body lacks vitamin D, it will not be able to absorb enough calcium too. Nevertheless, the entire body produces this vitamin when exposed to the sun, that’s why make sure you spend at least 15 minutes a day under the sun, early in the morning.
A massage therapy is another effective way to treat knee pain and strengthen the knee area. Furthermore, if it is done regularly, it can improve your circulation and provide more nutrients. That why you should only rub the knees with firm, but gentle movements, using warm coconut, mustard, or olive oil, clockwise and counter-clockwise, for about 10-15 minutes. If needed, massage the area twice a day. You should definitely talk to an experienced massage therapist in case you suffer from a chronic knee pain.
- Fish Oil
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which enhance the bone density and strengthen the joints of the knee. Moreover, according to a 2006 study, published in The International Journal of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience, subjects who took EPA from fish oil in amount of 1,200 milligrams consume cold-water fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel twice a week, or take up to 6 grams of fish oil, (at least 30% DHA/EPA) two times daily.
- Healthy Weight
Our body weight applies much more pressure on the knees, because the joints need to do much more work, so they weaken. Hence, obesity raises the risk of hip or knee replacement. That’s why it is of great importance to lose excess pounds in order to enhance the strength and stability of the knees.
Also, you need to follow these additional tips:
- You shouldn’t wear high-heeled shoes
- You shouldn’t smoke and drink
- Shouldn’t stand or sit in the same position for a long time
- Yoga poses offer great relief
- You need to drink more fluids to soften the cartilage
- You should avoid activities that intensify the knee pain
- Cycling and walking can strengthen your knees
- You should limit the intake of salt, because it causes calcium loss
- You need to avoid practices which include sudden movements, twisting, stopping, jumping etc.