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Tag Archives: Knee

Proper form for Squats…

Hate squats? You may not realize it, but you probably do them as part of your daily activities. So it’s smart to know proper form.

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Many people avoid doing squats because they believe they’re going to hurt their knees. However, any time you pick something up from the floor (assuming you’re lifting safely from your legs and not your back), you engage in a squat. Knowing how to do the move properly will ensure that you don’t injure yourself. Besides, says Melissa Hendricks, MEd, manager of the Cleveland Clinic Fitness Centers, contrary to popular belief, adding squats to your exercise routine will actually strengthen, not weaken, your knees. “Squats target the muscles in the front and back of your legs, along with your gluteals and core. The stronger these muscles are, the more stable your knees will be. In fact, stronger muscles above and below your knees serve as shock absorbers for your knees. The fact that most people do not do squats correctly is what can lead to injury,” she says. Here, Hendricks offers a primer on how to perform squats properly.
• First, try not to bend forward at your waist; this is quite common and is usually a sign of a weak core. Bending forward while you’re squatting puts a lot of pressure on your lower back, and it also drives a lot of the strain straight into your knees. To prevent this from happening, keep your back as straight as possible. Try finding a spot on the wall to focus your gaze on throughout the exercise. You may also want to limit how low you squat until you gain more strength in your core and perfect your form.
• Next, make sure you’re not shifting your weight forward into your toes and lifting your heels off the ground. Not only does this put a lot of pressure on the knee joints, it also takes away a lot of the effectiveness of the exercise, since you aren’t using the strong gluteus (butt) muscles to lift you from the squat. When going down into the squat, make sure you can always see your toes. If your knees travel past your toes, then shift your weight back into your glutes more. Try putting a chair or bench behind you, and then aiming for the bench.
• If you are just learning how to squat or have very little lower-body strength, you may also want to consider placing a stability ball behind you, against a wall, and allowing the ball to guide you up and down. This will help you to feel more secure in the exercise, and it will train your muscles for when you’re ready to do your squats without the ball.

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Strengthen all of you Leg Muscles for Pain-Free Knees

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Work on strengthening all of your leg muscles — hamstrings to hips — for pain-free knees. This will prevent uneven strain on the joints.

Feeling weak in the knees? Well, it could be from falling in love, but it can also stem from out-of-whack muscles. Here are some tips for pain-free knees from yoga therapist Judi Bar, the yoga program manager at the Cleveland Clinic, and Sally Sherwin, a registered yoga teacher:
• Always keep the knees soft; avoid locking or hyperextending them.
• Keep your toes and feet pointed forward when sitting, standing and walking, with your knees hip-distance apart.
• Avoid sitting on your heels, especially with the feet turned out. This puts a lot of pressure on the knee joints and overstretches kneecap tendons.
• Before you exercise, warm up your leg and foot muscles as well as your hip and ankle joints. This will protect the knees and help prevent injuries. While standing, make gentle, circular motions with the hips to help warm and lubricate the hips, knees, and ankles. To tone your feet, try standing on tiptoe while you hold the back of a chair, if needed, for balance.
• Yoga can keep your knees strong and sturdy by helping to build and maintain proper alignment, strength and flexibility. Work on building strength and flexibility in your quads, hamstrings, abductors and adductors, because evenly balanced leg muscles keep the knees aligned. Chair pose is a great leg strengthener. Here’s how to do it: Stand tall with hips, knees and ankles in alignment. Knees should be hip-width apart with feet pointing forward. Gently bend the knees while leaning forward from the hips with a straight back (pretend you’re about to sit down in a chair). Once your back is at a 45-degree angle, hold the posture, keeping your knees hip-width apart (don’t let them roll in or out). Keep breathing gently and evenly. For a cardio benefit, raise your arms out straight at the same angle as your back. Try to build up to a longer hold.

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Posted by on September 10, 2013 in Cleveland Clinic Wellness Tips

 

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What is Knee Replacement?
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Knee replacement, also known as a Total Knee Replacement or Knee Arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure that is performed to remove worn, diseased or damaged bone and cartilage and replace it with an artificial joint, or prosthesis, that is made of metal and plastic. Undergoing knee replacement surgery can help relieve pain and allows patients to return to normal everyday activities. For those who have become bow-legged or knock-kneed over the years, it can also straighten the legs into a more natural position.

Why a Knee Replacement?
The most common reason for knee replacement surgery is to repair joint damage caused by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. People who need knee replacement surgery usually have problems walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs. They may also experience moderate or severe knee pain at rest. There are many types of arthritis but most knee pain is caused by just three types: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis.

• Osteoarthritis. This is an age-related “wear and tear” type of arthritis. It usually occurs in people 50 years of age and older, but may occur in younger people, too. The cartilage that cushions the bones of the knee softens and wears away. The bones then rub against one another, causing knee pain and stiffness.
• Rheumatoid arthritis. This is a disease in which the synovial membrane that surrounds the joint becomes inflamed and thickened. This chronic inflammation can damage the cartilage and eventually cause cartilage loss, pain, and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of a group of disorders termed “inflammatory arthritis.”
• Post-traumatic arthritis. This can follow a serious knee injury. Fractures of the bones surrounding the knee or tears of the knee ligaments may damage the articular cartilage over time, causing knee pain and limiting knee function.

Matt Smith Physical Therapy can help with your pre and post-operative care for knee replacement.

 
 

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