By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
April 15, 2022
Knee pain is a common problem, especially for older adults. And it’s no wonder!
With every step we take, the force on our knees is between two and three times our body weight. That means if you weigh 180 pounds, you put somewhere between 360 and 540 pounds of pressure on your knees with each step.
It depends on how fast you walk. Higher walking speeds increase the force, while jogging or running can more than double it. And the more weight you’re carrying, the greater the pressure on the knees.
So our knees get a lot of wear and tear over the years, and this is going to cause some level of damage. The shock-absorbing cartilage that cushions the joint gets worn away. The muscles and ligaments get weaker. And the knees become arthritic.
One of the best things you can do for your stiff and aching knees is take the time to strengthen them and keep them flexible. The stronger they are, the more support and stability you will have to reduce pain and improve knee function.
Easy Exercises to Beat Knee Pain
Before exercising your knees, get them warmed up. A ten-minute walk beforehand will do the trick. If your knees feel stiff before starting, you can use a warm compress prior to the walk.
Chair Squats: Stand with your back toward a sturdy chair with your arms crossed against your chest and your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and slowly and lower your butt toward the seat of the chair while you count to five. Keep your knees straight above your ankles and your back straight as you lower yourself.
Once seated, slowly rise out of the seat to a count of three. Repeat ten times, rest for a minute or two, then perform the exercise 10 more times.
Advanced: Depending on the strength of your knees, you may be able to perform wall squats. Just place your back against the while and use it for support to slide down into the squat position and raise to standing position.
Seated Leg Raises: Sit up straight in a sturdy chair with the knees bent. Slowly extend the right leg upward until it is parallel to the floor. Hold for a count of three, then return it back to starting position. Repeat with the left leg. Do this 10 times for each leg. Perform a total of three sets of 10.
Advanced: Stand with your hands against the back of a sturdy chair, table or counter. Bend your leg backward at the knee, slowly bringing your foot as close to your butt as you can.
Standing Leg Lifts: Stand straight with your back against the wall. Raise your right leg out to the side and pause briefly. Return leg to starting position. Repeat with left leg. Repeat 10-15 times on each side.
Advanced: Lie on your left side with your right leg (the bottom leg) bent for support. Raise the left leg at a 45-degree angle. Pause, then slowly return to starting position. Repeat 10-15 times, then switch sides and start over.
Walking, biking and swimming can also help strengthen your knees and prevent further damage. And water-based exercises are wonderful when it comes to low-impact activity for your knees.
All you need is access to a swimming pool, lake or ocean. The water keeps you buoyant, which reduces the impact on your joints. So you can jog in place, perform jumping jacks or just swim without putting any wear and tear on your joints.
This type of low-impact type exercise is easy to do. It can strengthen your joints while significantly relieving the aches and pains associated with arthritic knees.
After you perform any kind of knee exercises – or even after a lot of physical activity – you should ice your knees to help reduce inflammation.
4 Nutrients to Shut Down Knee Pain
When it comes to any type of arthritis pain, shutting down the inflammatory response is at the top of the list. And there are several nutrients that can do just that.
A favorite of mine is green lipped mussel extract. It’s high in something called “furan” fatty acids. These fatty acids scavenge damaging free radicals. Just 150 mg. daily can improve knee joint pain, stiffness and mobility.
I also like an enzyme found in pineapple, called bromelain. It helps keep certain inflammatory substances (bradykinin and fibrinogen) from building up around your joints and triggering inflammation. Taking 200 mg daily can reduce pain, stiffness and swelling.
Another good choice is chicken cartilage extract. It contains type II collagen. This is the type of collagen that’s needed for the synthesis and repair of connective tissue and helps improve pain, stiffness and physical function in arthritic knees. Taking 400 mg daily may provide anti-inflammatory activity and improve joint flexibility.
The most exciting, however, is curcumin. In particular, curcumin shuts down inflammation by blocking enzymes that produce pain. In the majority of cases, people who take curcumin are able to stop taking dangerous anti-inflammatory drugs within just weeks. In fact, it’s proven to be just as effective as ibuprofen when it comes to decreasing pain and improving function.
Look for a formula that contains 95% curcuminoids and at least 5 mg. of bioperine (a black pepper extract) to help boost absorption. Take 500-1,000 mg. twice a day to help shut down inflammation.
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