The traditional approach to treating osteoarthritis in the knees has completely failed. Masking pain with pills and injections without treating the cause allows arthritis to get worse and worse until surgery is the only option. Learning how to prevent arthritis in knees requires a better approach that focuses on treating underlying causes so that you can maintain your lifestyle as you get older.
What Causes Knee Arthritis?
Before moving to how to prevent arthritis in knees it’s important to understand what causes knee osteoarthritis in the first place. In short, arthritis is caused by too much wear and tear on the structures of your knee (articular cartilage, meniscus, etc.). Too much impact on your knee over too long a period of time leads to the bony growth (arthritis) that is often seen on X-Rays. The best treatment for arthritis in the knee limits the impacts that goes through your joint and lead to arthritis.
How To Prevent Arthritis In Knees
A better approach to treating and preventing knee arthritis. The ONLY way to limit impact on our knees without giving up all your favorite activities is by improving movement and strength. Below I’ll show you five ways to prevent arthritis in knees without pills, injections, or surgery.
Strong Glutes And Hamstrings
Your glutes and hamstrings are the most important muscle group in limiting impact at the knee. Long hours of sitting weakens these muscles and leads to a muscle imbalance that places more impact at the knee. Building strength in your glutes and hamstrings is one of the best things you can do to prevent knee (and back) arthritis.
The glute bridge is a safe and effective exercise to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings.
Strong Glute Med
The glute med is part of your glute complex that lies on the side of your hip. It is responsible for supporting your body when walking, running, and standing on one leg. Weakness in the glute med will cause your knee to cave inward, placing more impact on the knee joint itself. Making sure your glute med is strong enough to support you in the single leg is vital to preventing knee arthritis.
Improve Movement Coordination
Movement patterns are defined as how we coordinate movements to perform certain tasks. Over the span of your lifetime your patterns change (due to activities, injuries, etc.). These changes lead to move impact on the knee and worsening of knee arthritis. Learning how to hinge, lift, and squat is one of the best thing you can do in preventing knee arthritis.
One example of how simple changes in movement coordination can be used to limit impact at the knee and prevent knee arthritis
Improve Side To Side Imbalance
Most people have a ‘strong leg’. This happens naturally over the course of our lifetime by using one leg more than the other. Or it can be due to previous injuries or surgery that force you to favor one side. These side to side imbalances lead to more impact on the knees and should be part of the solution to preventing knee arthritis.
The lunge is a great single leg exercise to improve side to side muscle imbalance.
Yes you read that right. Stiff in your ankles can lead to more impact on your knee. This can happen directly, by being less equipped to absorb the ground forces of each step. It can also happen indirectly, through movement compensations that place more impact at the knee. Improving ankle mobility should be part of any plan to prevent arthritis in knees.
Ankle stiffness lead to more impact at knee, hip, and back
Learning how to prevent arthritis in the knees requires us to limit the ‘wear and tear’ on the knee joint itself. Improving movement, mobility, and strength is the best way to prevent osteoarthritis and avoid surgery.
Watch the Video Below To Learn the Top 5 Strength Exercises For Preventing Knee Arthritis
For the last 10 years I’ve been helping adults learn to move with confidence to prevent arthritis while maintaining their lifestyle as they get older. I’ve put together a free, step-by-step program to help you get started treating your joint pain from home. Download your free copy of ‘Solving Pain With Strength’ at the link below.