Self-Care Tips for Healthier Happier Knees
Cynthia Luo, RMT - Registered Massage Therapist
Our knees are one of the most important joints in our body. However, they also seem to be an area with the greatest potential for injury. In general, people tend to suffer from many different knee conditions and we often hear about knee replacement surgery.
Good knees are a contributing factor to your quality of life as they have a major impact on mobility, enjoyment of life and your mood.
Taking care of our knees is an important daily, long-term task for us.
1. Keep Your Knees Warm
In Canada, we have long winters and some really cold days. Once we explore the cold weather, right away we feel the cold on our face and then in our knees. And you will quickly notice your knees are not as flexible at very low temperatures.
Our knees need proper temperatures to keep normal functions, so dress warm! Keeping the knees warm is very important for our free movement.
2. Exercises for Healthier Knees
Stronger muscles surrounding the knees can provide extra protection for them.
Sitting position in a chair: Lift one leg up close to 90 degrees, do flexion of the ankle for 5 seconds and then switch to the other leg to do the same. This can strengthen the quadricep muscles. Or sitting position on the floor: Do flexion of the ankles for 5 seconds, relax for 2 seconds, and repeat.
Sitting position: Put a tennis ball between your knees, squeeze the ball for 5 seconds, relax for 2 seconds, squeeze again and repeat. This can strengthen the adductor muscles.
Standing position: Stand on your toes, relax and repeat. This can strengthen the calf muscles.
For the above exercises, you can do them 50 times per day.
3. To Reduce Knee Effusion (water on the knee)
Laying down position: Elevate both legs to anywhere between 5 and 90 degrees (depending on what is most comfortable for you - use a pillow or cushion to support the legs if necessary), then do flexion and extension of the ankles. This can help the excess fluid in and around the knees slowly flow back into the body system, which will reduce swelling and pain in the knees.
Sitting position or lying position: Move both legs like riding a bicycle in the air.
4. Self-Massage for the Knees
Use both hands on both sides of one knee and make a straight-line movement back and forth.
Use both hands together on both sides of one knee to make half circle movements (two hands move at the same time from the middle of the knee to the sides of the knee, then back to the middle and continue).
Use one hand on each knee (or two hands on the same knee) to make continuous round circle movements, then change the direction & repeat.
Using both hands slightly flexed, pat both sides of the knee lightly.
For the above methods, you can do them 50 times per day.
5. Wear Light, Soft Sole Shoes
With heavy shoes we need extra energy for regular movement. Knees play a major role in lifting the feet for every step. So, wearing a pair of light shoes can help avoid overworking the knees.
For people who need to stand or walk a lot during daily life, soft sole shoes provide extra cushion for the feet. They can also release pressure on the joints, especially the knees, and help reduce or eliminate knee pain.
Remember these self-care tips every day for healthier happier knees!