Knees are complicated joints that have to support your entire body weight while bending, lifting, squatting, and walking. They are strong and resilient, but they can only take so much abuse before they give in, and when they do, you’re sidelined for weeks or months until they heal.
If you’re wondering what you can do to protect your precious knees from damage and injury, you’ve come to the right place. Dr. Damon Christian Kimes at Roswell Pain and Weight Loss Specialists encourages all our patients to keep their knees strong and healthy, because he knows the consequences when you ignore those joints. Here are four ways to make sure your knees are in good shape.
1. Watch your weight
Knee pain is common, and even people who maintain a healthy weight are not immune. But if you’re overweight, you’re five times more likely to have painful knees than those who are too heavy or obese. That’s because each extra pound of weight you carry puts an additional four pounds of pressure on your knees. Losing just 11 pounds, even if it takes you 10 years to do it, you can reduce your risk of getting knee osteoarthritis by almost 50%.
Losing weight is essential for nearly every system in your body if you’re obese, so shedding some pounds can improve your overall health as well as protect your knees. But it’s often easier said than done.
That’s why a significant part of our practice is dedicated to helping our patients achieve a healthy weight through our fully supervised proven medical weight loss program. Our specialists come alongside you and develop a tailor-made plan for you, because no two weight-loss journeys are the same.
We start by identifying things in your current and past health that may be hindering your efforts, including hormones, genetics, lifestyle choice, injuries, nutrition, and more, then we address those issues specifically to help you get lasting results. A healthier weight means healthier knees and a healthier you.
2. Get some exercise
If you already have knee pain, exercise is still very important, but you may need to modify what you do and how you do it. Our team can help you learn some safe and effective activities meant to rehabilitate your injured joints, and it’s the best way to treat knee osteoarthritis.
But exercise is also key in keeping your healthy knees healthy. When you exercise, your goal is not to strengthen your knee, but all the supporting structures around your knee. Strong leg muscles carry the load when you lift and bend, but weak leg muscles relegate the job to your knees.
Leg lifts, hamstring curls, step exercises, and chair dips as well as swimming and cycling are all effective ways to bolster your leg strength. But improper technique can cause more harm than good, so come in and see us for some tips.
3. Don’t overdo it
Even the most diligent athlete — maybe especially athletes — can take their workout too far and cause an injury.
Dr. Kimes urges our patients to listen to their bodies. If you feel pain — stop! If you’re fatigued, take a rest. These are the times when injuries happen, so if you’re serious about protecting your knees, you must know when to take a break.
And if you hear a popping sound followed by pain, call us right away to get a professional assessment and proper treatment.
4. Don’t ignore your knee injury
If you do end up with a knee injury or osteoarthritis despite your best efforts, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (the RICE method) is a great place to start healing. But if you stop there and hope your knee will recover on its own, you may be disappointed and pay for it in long-term pain and perhaps even disability.
When you notice your knee is stiff, red, swollen, deformed, weak, unstable, or locked, you need professional care from someone like Dr. Kimes. He expertly diagnoses your injury and begins your treatment plan with the most conservative steps possible, including nutritional counseling and physical therapy.
He also offers sports massage to increase circulation, promote healing, and reduce inflammation. When needed, he recommends steroid injections that deliver pain-relieving medication directly to your painful joint, giving you enough relief so you can participate fully in physical therapy.
Dr. Kimes is also an experienced regenerative medicine specialist and can treat your knee pain with platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which uses a concentrated serum derived from your own blood to flood your knee with growth factors that immediately decrease inflammation and accelerate the healing of soft tissues like tendons and ligaments.
To find out more about protecting your knees or treating them once they’re injured, call us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kimes at our Roswell, Georgia, office or request an appointment online today.