Dos and Don’ts to Avoid Knee Problems in Old Age

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Degeneration may not be confined to the elderly. Common symptoms like swelling or a grinding sound when you sit or stand may be due to minor structural misalignment, but if left unattended, these might be the key reasons behind arthritis and other  knee-related problems.

It is important to take care of your knees right now to prevent aches and pains down the road.

Here are a few tips from our physiotherapists on how to maintain healthy knees:

Do:

  1. Modify your workout — don’t completely stop exercising. Research shows that regular exercise helps to reduce the chronic inflammation associated with arthritis and can even increase your pain tolerance. Exercise also strengthens the muscles around the joint and increases blood flow to the joint, two things that can minimize discomfort. Consult a functional trainer to find out how you can continue with a safe and satisfying workout even when you’re injured.
  2. Maintain your general fitness. Pick up a sport, keep your weight in control and your health in check. There are a multitude of mobile apps available to help you get into shape.
  3. Start working out with weights, even for females! Some of the most noteworthy benefits of strength training include decreased fear of falling and diminished age-related declines in muscle mass, strength, and muscular power. Levels of testosterone in our bodies reduce as we hit 40, thus building muscle early on is very beneficial.
  4. Take note of the different discomforts you feel. Is it a sharp or throbbing pain, constant or intermittent — it comes and goes? Do you feel your knee weakening after walking for a distance, as though it’s unstable and won’t hold your weight? Does your knee lock, preventing you from straightening out fully?
  5. Keep track of what brings on the pain — is it worse when you first wake up or after a period of inactivity? Does a certain activity bring it on, such as walking, going down stairs, kneeling or squatting in the kitchen?

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t overexert yourself. Never overdo any exercise during the initial days, as this will exhaust you to the point of quitting before you even strart seeing positive results. Choosing the  wrong equipment or doing the exercise wrongly will affects your knees and legs in the long run.
  2. Don’t ignore the pain, especially if it’s continued for over two weeks. When it comes to the knees, minor discomfort can sometimes turn into a major issue. Significant forces act on the knee joint every day, as it’s responsible for connecting the two longest mechanical levers in our bodies — the thigh and lower leg.
  3. Don’t rest completely. Pain is not always a bad thing, and it doesn’t mean that you should stop your activities completely. There’s an old adage — Use it or lose it — which is true for most conditions. Modifying the activity works a lot better than stopping it totally. Consult a physiotherapist to get the right advice.
  4. Don’t be a couch potato. Living a sedentary life doesn’t just reduce endurance and strength of the body, it also leads to difficulty controling weight gain and a slow metabolism, which in turn leads to many lifestyles diseases.
  5. Don’t choose the wrong exercises. If you have weak bones, then running, jogging and jumping rope is a strict no-no. Running on a concrete road or pavement can damage the knees due to the pressure exerted on the legs. Try low-impact exercises like swimming or cycling to help you maintain your overall fitness and the range of motion in your knees. Slower-paced activities such as tai-chi or yoga help increase flexibility.
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