Knee pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints, afflicting almost 25% of the US population. But there are a number of important secrets, practiced by top trainers and professional athletes, to help protect and preserve the knees. Practicing these 5 tips can help ensure good function and high performance on your knees for years to come.
1. Quadriceps strength: Along with serving as the prime extensors of the knee joint, the quadriceps muscle group – which form the bulk of the front of the thigh – are at the same time vital for the stability and health of the joint. Even if you are not placing great demands on the knee through running, dancing, or jumping, it is important that the quadriceps remain strong. Otherwise, damage to the knee joint may occur.
2. Flexibility: If your knee muscles are very inflexible or you are new to exercise, start off with basic knee stretches. You should never feel knee pain in any stretch. If you feel pain in your joint, it’s time to stop and seek advice from your doctor.
3. Cross-training: As with all muscular training, it is crucial to perform a variety of motions that involve the knee joint. A mix of exercise activities – walking, running, biking, tennis, dance, etc. – that create different types of stresses on the knee ensures that different muscle groups are engaged.
4. Low impact exercise: High impact sports and exercise – boot camp classes, step aerobics –expose the knee to significant stress, so emphasize low impact activities like cycling and swimming to protect your knees from long term damage.
5. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Being overweight raises your risk for developing knee injuries, especially osteoarthritis. Excess weight puts additional stress on weight bearing joints, particularly the knee. Losing a few pounds can go a long way toward protecting your knees by reducing the pressure on them. The force on your knee is two to three times your body weight when you go up and down stairs, and four to five times your body weight when you squat to tie a shoelace or pick up an item you dropped. Each extra pound adds to that load!
If you’d like to review your exercise program, or want individualized tips to help optimize your knee health, give us a call at Manhattan Orthopedics to make an appointment.
Why you should have your knee replaced is almost always a straightforward matter: to eliminate pain and to improve your quality of life. However, owing to our active lifestyles and unique backgrounds, the question of when to opt for knee replacement surgery can be a little tougher to discern.
Rather than waiting for your knee to give you a painful prompt, you might first ask yourself what you want to get out of a knee replacement. Some people are willing to forgo joint-intensive sports like running and tennis, so they can hold off on replacement surgery in the short-term. Others, however, would rather lick a newt than take a break from the courts, so they opt for a knee replacement earlier in life.
Knee replacements should have a life span of at least 15 – 20 years; at that point about 85-90% are still in great condition. Individuals who opt for an early knee replacement—i.e., someone still in their fifties—will likely require another replacement procedure down the road. If that’s a factor in your decision, then it’s worth considering that individuals who receive a new knee in their seventies can expect the prosthesis to last a lifetime.
There are, however, other factors that everyone should consider when thinking about a knee replacement procedure. If you have a history of diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease, then it is recommended you might want to have the surgery before these issues progress and make surgery more risky.
Similarly, obese individuals should consider weight loss programs and then have their knee replacements done earlier to prevent complications that can arise during surgery and also enable them to get active and keep weight off.
Amid all of our varied lifestyles and personal histories there’s one thing that certainly does not matter: the type, or brand, of knee replacement. There are lots of different knee replacements, but they’re all pretty much the same. If there is a best type, then it’s the one that your surgeon is most comfortable with. Just like a chauffeur who drives a BMW every day, he simply knows his BMW better than a fellow chauffeur knows his Mercedes. In the end, they’re both luxury cars. So it is with knee replacements.
And just as a chauffeur knows how to maintain his car’s performance so too should you be nice to your knee; so don’t ever think of treating it like a jalopy.
In short, if you live an active lifestyle and wish to keep it that way, then consider having a conversation with your orthopedist and primary care doctor when you’re still in your fifties, sixties, seventies or even eighties! Regardless of your age, if you have any questions and would like to chat over the possibilities with one of our orthopedists, call or email us today and make an appointment.
The diaspora and excitement of New York City’s marathon has turned the first Sunday in November into an annual 5-borough tribute to the sport of running. Runners need not be reminded about properly training for a marathon, yet every year we see hundreds of runner-related issues, and would you believe that 90% of these injuries are due to the increased volume in training in advance of the marathon?
What we commonly find are overuse injuries arising from the microscopic strains and tears on soft tissue and bone. A classic overuse injury is the runner’s knee, often caused by too much pressure on the kneecap. As runners ramp up the distance or speed of their training runs, the tissue surrounding the kneecap undergoes a considerable amount of stress because of its central role in anchoring the large muscles of the quadriceps.
Runner’s knee can be a road bump in a training regime, but that’s all it ever should be. Icing your knee and taking anti-inflammatory medicine should be enough to get you back to light exercise, but if the pain persists your orthopedist may recommend some form of physical therapy.
But what about the 10% of runners whose injuries aren’t caused by overuse? Overuse injuries are often aches that go away after about 15 minutes into a jog. If, however, the pain increases throughout one’s run, then it is likely a more serious injury to the underlying tissue. These injuries can creep into one’s daily life. Climbing stairs is painful; sitting and standing becomes an achy chore. These injuries can range from torn ligaments or tendons to stress fractures and should be addressed by your orthopedist at once, especially before any more marathon training.
That brings us to the question of whether you can continue to work out while experiencing one of the above symptoms. The answer ought to be self-explanatory, but if there is ever any doubt it’s best to take a break no matter what and do the proper stretching and icing regime.
What about shoes? We’ve said it before, but the quality of one’s shoes plays an outsized role in keeping your legs in top shape because fresh shoes with the right fit go a long way in preventing overuse injuries.
While training for a marathon, give yourself a minimum of four months in which to prepare, and try not to increase your mileage more than 10% per week. A few smart steps, both physically and mentally, can go a long way to having an injury-free New York City marathon.
But even the best preparation can’t always prevent a few small aches here and there—Manhattan Orthopedic and Sports Medical Group wants to help you in the long run, whether it’s a marathon or a quick lap around the park, we’re here to make sure you keep running.
ROBOTIC KNEE SURGERY- PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS PROCEDURE WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE UNTIL WE RETURN TO OUR PERMANENT OFFICES
Manhattan Orthopedic & Sports Medicine is proud to announce ROBOTIC ASSISTED PARTIAL KNEE REPLACEMENT (MAKOplasty®). Through the use of a Robotic Arm our surgeons now perform more precise partial knee replacements using a MINIMALLY INVASIVE technique. This cutting edge technology helps restore a patient’s more natural knee motion. (more…)
Advances in orthopedic medicine, sports sciences, and physical therapy have allowed for sustained, active lifestyles that only keep us healthier and heartier as we swim, bike, volley and swing our way into retirement. In particular, there has never been a better time for knees.
Keeping your knees healthy begins with maintaining motion and strength through regular exercise. The catch-22, however, is that the more we exercise, the more wear and tear builds up, leading to arthritis. (more…)