The knees are the largest body joints, and they are responsible for the stability, support, and flexibility of the legs, so they help us walk, run, jump, stand, crouch and turn around.
This means that you should take proper care to maintain their health in order to prevent serious issues, as weak knees affect the mobility and significantly impedes everyday activities.
Knees weaken with age, so elder people more commonly face problems with them, however, any person regardless of the age can experience such problems.
The weakness in the knees may be a result of various factors, including sedentary lifestyles, smoking, knee strain or injury, excess sodium intake, alcohol, or an osteoarthritis in the knee, which is caused by tear and wear on the knee parts.
The health lifestyle and dietary changes are natural ways which can help you to treat weak knees or pain in the knees.
We present you 10 ways which can help you to strengthen the knees, and prevent knee pain:
1. Anti-inflammatory Foods
Inflammation can be the cause of pain and weakness of knees. It is very important to include in your diet foods which are anti-inflammatory such as turmeric, walnuts, ginger, spinach, avocados, blueberries, sweet potatoes, tart cherries, olive oil, and salmon.
Make sure to avoid inflammatory foods as white rice, white flour products, foods which are high in saturated fats, sugary foods, and soda.
Swimming is a low-impact aerobic exercise, and it’s excellent against arthritis and knee pain, as it helps to strengthen the bones, the knee joint and muscles, and minimizes the stiffness of the knees.
You’re advised to swim 30 minutes everyday, and the best swimming strokes are backstroke, butterfly stroke, and front crawl. Breast stroke is not recommended, as it exerts high pressure on the knee joints.
These strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee, and hence improves their condition. Likewise, it strengthens the knee bones and positions, in addition to aligning the joints.
Knee bends, straight-leg raises, lunges, hamstring stretches with thigh contraction,step-ups, squats with a Swiss ball, and single-leg squats are some of the most effective exercises. These exercises should be performed 30 minutes, 4-5 times a week.
Calcium is of highest importance for the bones, so its deficiency leads to thinning and weakening of bones, and thus, to osteoporosis. As our body does not produce calcium naturally, you need to supply it through supplements and dietary sources.
Calcium can be obtained through edamame, cheese, milk, almonds, dark leafy greens, sardines, calcium-fortified cereals, blackstrap molasses, and fortified orange juice.
In case you decide to take it through supplements, make sure you choose the ones with vitamin D as well, as it helps the calcium absorption. Your doctor will recommend the proper dosage.
5. Epsom Salt
Usually, extremely low levels of magnesium are present in people who have weak knees, or people who suffer from knee pain because of osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Epsom salt is rich in magnesium and it can effectively relieve this condition. It supports the calcium absorption, thus enabling a proper muscle function, and alleviating the inflammation around the knee joints.
Just dissolve 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in a half a cup of water. Soak a washcloth in the solution and apply in on your knees. Let it stand for 15-20 minutes. Then, you can rinse it off with warm water. Repeat this procedure two times a week.
Also, once or twice a week, you can make an Epsom salt bath. Add a cup of Epsom salt in your bath, and soak in it for 20 minutes.
6. Vitamin C
This vitamin is regarded as a threshold nutrient for optimal joint and bone health. Lack of vitamin D can lead to bone loss and raised risk of minimal trauma fractures. What’s more, our body is not able to absorb sufficient calcium amount without proper amounts of this vitamin.
Since the human’s body produces vitamin D in sunlight exposure, it is recommended to expose your knees to sunlight early in the morning, for about 15 minutes a day. Another way to get this vitamin is to consume cod liver oil, fish, fortified cereals, egg yolks, and dairy products. If you decide to go with supplement, consult your doctor.
7. Fish Oil
The omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) contained in fish oil can help improve bone density and strengthen knee joints. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, it can even lower the joint pain and stiffness.
The International Journal of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience has published a 2006 study which says that people who took EPA from fish oil in amount of 1,200 milligrams on a daily basis, noticed improved joint health. Consume cold-water fish like mackerel, tuna, and salmon twice a week.
Another option is to consume up to 6 grams of fish oil, two times a day (make sure it is at least 30% DHA/EPA). Consult your doctor before you start taking any supplement.
8. Vitamin C
This vitamin is crucial for the formation of one of the main components of knee cartilage – collagen. It is important for the quality of bone matrix, synthesis of collagen, and normal development of bones. Vitamin C improves the mass density of bones, and decreases the risk of fractures (1) (2).
Good dietary sources of vitamin C are bell peppers, broccoli, lemon, oranges, papaya, strawberries, berries, kiwi, spinach, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Consult your doctor before taking supplements in the form of chewable tablets and capsules.
A regular massage therapy can effectively treat knee pain as well as strengthen the knee area. It will also improve circulation and provide more nutrients.
Rub your knees with firm, gentle movements, using warm mustard, olive, or coconut oil, clockwise and anti-clockwise for about 15 minutes. You can do this twice a day. For a chronic knee pain, you’re advised to seek the help of an experienced massage therapist.
10. Healthy Weight
Too much body weight exerts much more pressure on the knees. This makes the joints to do much more work, thereby getting weakened. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of hip or knee replacement. Hence, you’re advised to shed off excess weight, in order to enhance your knees’ stability and strength.
Here are additional helpful tips:
– You should not wear high-heeled shoes – You should not smoke and drink – You should not stand or sit in the same position for a long time – Yoga poses provide great relief – You should drink more fluids to soften the cartilage – Avoid activities that intensify the knee pain – Cycling and walking greatly strengthen your knees – Limit the intake of salt, as it causes calcium loss
– Avoid practices which include sudden movements, twisting, stopping, jumping