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My clients are committed to strengthening their knees from the inside-out. But frequently, they feel opposition from health care providers who believe cartilage can't change. So I was grateful to see a recent article in The New York Times stating, "Instead of an inert shock-absorber doomed to get brittle and eventually fail with age, ...cartilage is a living tissue that adapts and thrives with regular use." "'Since cartilage doesn’t have a blood or nerve supply, we used to think it couldn’t adapt or repair itself,'" said Michaela Khan, the lead author of The Influence of Running on Lower Limb Cartilage: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Alex Hutchison-- author of the article How to Save Your Knees Without Giving Up Your Workout-- explains, "But that’s not the case. Cyclic weight-bearing activities like walking and... running squeeze the cartilage in the knee joint like a sponge, expelling waste and then drawing in a fresh supply of nutrient- and oxygen-rich fluid with each step." Moreover, Hutchison outlined the following recommendations:
Decrease the consecutive duration of activities that cause knee pain. For example, "if a weekly two-hour tennis marathon leaves you with aching knees, you might try swapping it out for one-hour sessions twice a week."
Prepare for activities ahead of time. "What your knees can handle today depends on what you’ve been doing with them over the preceding weeks and months." He extended a warning specifically to those who haven't been skiing since last season and who have an upcoming ski trip planned.
Avoid traumatic injuries (like ACL tears) that can accelerate cartilage degeneration over subsequent years.
Train your body to move effectively, which will decrease unnecessary strain occurring at the knees.
Don't depend on supplements alone. Supplements without following the above recommendations probably won't provide a long-lasting solution.
Jackie Whittaker, a physical therapist and arthritis researcher at the University of British Columbia, was quoted as saying, "'A lot of people think that osteoarthritis is just a normal consequence of aging, right? It’s not inevitable. There’s a lot you can control.' ”
Are you ready to take control of your knees?
My colleague, Doug Kelsey, PT, PhD, and I developed Better Knees for Life a program to provide guidance to heal and strengthen your knees from the inside-out.
Better Knees for Life helps you get stronger, feel better and maybe best of all, feel more in control of your life.
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