Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits - Kneed to Know

Patellofemoral pain syndrome. Chondromalacia. Iliotibial band syndrome. Anterior knee pain.  Torn meniscus.  4 days post (2nd) knee surgery, I am focusing on how to stay surgery and injury-free in the future.  If you're squeamish about a little blood, don't look at the next image...


Day 4 post op
No doubt about it, the knee is a cranky little thing. You need only look at it to see why, and how it differs from the body's other major joints. The shoulder consists of a huge capsular contraption that holds the bones in place. The hip, too, is built like a suction cup. No such deep-fitting sockets for the knee, which swings almost like a hinge on a gate. But as the knee swings, it pivots to accommodate a thigh bone that's longer by design on one side than the other. Every flexion and extension and simultaneous rotation pulls into play four major ligaments that strap the joint together, some of them passing right through its center. 


In the center of the knee, the meniscus, a crescent-shaped fibrocartilaginous structure acts to disperse the weight of the body and reduce friction during movement.  




No wonder the knee sometimes gets sore or swollen--or worse. 


In order to protect the knees, especially after meniscus repair, maximizing core and lower extremity strength is essential. Running on softer surfaces may decrease impact forces. Barefoot running techniques also seem to decrease the impact forces on the knees, though the jury is still out on the overall incidence of running related injuries compared with heel strikers. 

 






Cross training and strengthening weak hips was stressed during my last round of PT and in several articles in preventing/alleviating knee pain, especially for women.  Exercise scientists have discovered a link between weak hips and patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), which aggravates the front of the knee.  Weak hips cause a runner's form to slightly disintegrate which places unhealthy stress on the knee.  Check out a video routine at runnersworld.com to help prevent and treat PFPS.


In addition your off road workout should include stretching and strengthening.  Stretching your ITB to keep it from causing friction and strengthening hip abductors and glutes to keep you stable will also help prevent knee injuries.  Check out some more exercises at runnersworld.com.


For general achy joints, here are some more recommendations:  stay hydrated, eat anti-inflammatory foods (foods high in omega 3s and lots of veggies), avoid trans fats, lift weights, loose extra weight, cook with turmeric (there it is again:))


Info taken from Runners World, Running Times, Whole Living.

6 comments:

  1. I hope recovery is going well and will be speedy! Here's to healthy knees!

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  2. More speedy recovery thoughts coming your way!

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  3. I was just looking into antiinflammatory foods earlier today.
    I hope you're healing nicely!

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  4. Wishing you a very speedy recovery, my friend!

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  5. Keeping you in my thoughts as you recover! :)

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