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What do knee pain, loss of motion, and decreased muscle strength have in common? They're all symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition of joint and bone damage. Knee OA is found in many people over age 65. Exercises to reduce pain and improve strength and motion seem to help with knee OA. Physical therapists are always looking for new and better exercises to use. Knee OA causes some of the same problems as knee ligament injuries. For example, patients may feel that the knee will "give way" or buckle during daily activities. They may also feel that the knee joint is "slipping." Physical therapists tried using an exercise program for ligament injury to help a patient with OA. A 73-year-old woman with mild knee OA in both legs agreed to try this program. The program worked on two things: balance and agility. Agility is the ability to move quickly and easily. This helps the knee handle sudden changes in direction and twisting movements. Balance helps keep the knee...
Practically everyone experiences low back pain at some point in life. Some experience it more frequently than others. If you struggle with frequent episodes of low back pain, here are some tips to help you prevent it.
1. Think BEFORE You Lift : By thinking about how to lift properly, you can prevent 90 percent of the causes for a sudden, sharp pain in the back. Place your feet shoulder width apart, bend the knees and tighten up your abdominal wall; all of this is done before you lift.
2. Provide a Good Base of Support : Think as if you are a chair; one leg is pretty wobbly. Two legs are better than one, especially with the feet widely placed for extra support. Place a hand down on a counter top for even more support and now you are a three-legged chair. And both legs and arms in contact with something solid will give your spine the most stable base of support possible.
Human beings are well designed for many things. We have large brains for poetry and quantum mechanics; we are good long distance runners, and of course have these awesome opposable thumbs. Unfortunately, some parts are not designed very well for our 21st century lifestyles. The low back , or lumbar spine, is first on my list for sending back (or forward?) to the engineers. A close second though might be the " knee cap " or patellofemoral joint.
The "knee cap" or patella is an ovoid shaped bone whose main purpose is to act as a fulcrum that big muscle on the front of your thigh, the quadriceps. (I'll wait while you grab your high school physics book). There are plenty of folks who do not have patellae, but because this causes the quad muscle to work inefficiently, few of these folks can run or climb stairs well. The design issue with the patella is that it articulates, or rubs up against, the end of the femur bone (thus the "patellofemoral" joint). For those of us who have pa...
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