Keeping the knees strong and healthy

The knee is one of the hardest working parts of the body. It makes it possible for us to walk, run, jump, kneel, sit, stand, etc.

As a joint, it is the largest in the human body. Many see the knee as a standard hinge joint that permits the lower leg to flex and extend. The truth is, the knee joint is a bit more sophisticated. It is modified to facilitate inward and outward rotation as well.

The complexity of the knee joint and the tremendous amount of work it does make it extremely vulnerable to injury and osteoarthritis. Although these conditions cannot be completely prevented, their prevalence can be lessened. The saying … “If you don’t use it, you lose it” is important when considering knee health. Many “natural” movements and exercises that would help to maintain the health of the knees are often abandoned quite early by many people. The result can be unfavorable.

When the health of the knees is not maintained, joint deterioration, pain and weakness are all possible. A solution is quite often knee replacement. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, The rate of total knee replacement increased for both men (86 percent) and women (99 percent) aged 45 and older from 2000 through 2010. In addition, knee replacement rate nearly doubles in US from 2000 to 2010. In 2010, an estimated 693,400 total knee replacements were performed in adults aged 45 years and older.

Much can be done to keep the knees healthy. Performing exercises such as modified squats, heel (calf) raises and leg (hamstring) curls are a step in the right direction. Making use of a healthy diet that includes foods capable of combating the arthritic condition found at joints such as the knee would also be helpful.

Beginning June 3, the Fitness Center at the Cultural Center of Charlotte County will offer a four week training, titled “Ensuring healthy knees.” The training will address the needs of persons with existing knee problems and those wanting to prevent such problems. Preregistration is required. Interested persons are asked to call 941-625-4175, Ext. 263, or visit the Fitness Center at 2280 Aaron St., Port Charlotte.

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