Personal Trainers St Albans The Knee

101 Joint Health – The Knee

Knee Health

The knee is often referred to as a slave joint in that what happens at the foot, and the hip affects the knee biomechanically.

Although poor biomechanics can significantly affect the knee and cause pain, the knee can independently undergo pathological changes.

Knee Compensation

Some pathologies may originate in poor joint mechanics, and this dysfunction can then lead to changes in the knee soft tissues or bony architecture.

Additionally, suppose there has been trauma to the knee. Any injury to the tissue or bones is now at play and may be defined as predisposing or maintaining factors in knee function and pain.

Whilst some conditions may require surgery, in many cases improving knee function can help to reduce or eliminate pain.

Below is a checklist of things to consider as part of a protocol to help keep your knees healthy. However, if you do suffer from knee pain, it is recommended that you seek advice and diagnosis from a suitably trained medical professional.

Check List

Soft tissue work

Self-myofascial release (SMR) exercises involve using a foam roller or massage ball to perform self-massage.

If you are not already doing so, consider performing SMR of the quadriceps, adductors and tensor fasciae latae (FTL) muscle to help balance the tension of anterior and lateral thigh muscles that cross the knee.

Below is a playlist that will guide you to perform the key exercises.

Flexibility

Regular stretching is key to maintaining a healthy body, particularly if you sit for prolonged periods.

Key are stretches that target the muscles that cross the knee, hip and pelvis. This includes the quadriceps muscles, particularly the rectus femoris muscle, which crosses the knee and hip. And iliopsoas, which attaches the femur directly to the spine.

Below is a playlist that will guide you to perform the key exercises.

Strength

Strength training with either body weight or added resistance is critical to help maintain joint health, bone density, muscle strength and mass, reduce the risk of disease and help increase lifespan and health span.

For knee health, this should focus on strengthening muscles that cross the knee and hip and stabilise the trunk, aka core muscles.

The mainstay of this work should consist of squats and lunges, with some additional hip hinge movements to help maintain a balance between the flexors and extensors across the spine, hips, and knees.

Caveat: If you experience any awareness beyond the feeling that your knees are not as young as they once were, you should seek further professional advice. Performing exercises that cause any significant discomfort or pain should not be performed.

Squat and Lunge Exercise Page

The foot and balance

As previously discussed, the knee, to some degree, can be considered a slave joint, so keeping what falls below the knee healthy and strong is just as important as maintaining flexibility and strength in the muscles that cross and are above the knee.

This type of training focuses on the arches of the foot and the integration of its principles when performing all lower-body strengthening exercises and foot and knee-specific balance training via single-leg exercises.

Personal Trainers St Albans Arches of Foot

Diet

If you suffer from autoimmune conditions related to bone health, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, consider following a low-inflammatory diet that removes the most provocative foods, such as sugar, grains, dairy, seed oils and alcohol.

A particular focus should be given to reducing the lectin content of the diet, as this is one of the biggest drivers of chronic low-grade inflammation, poor gut health and autoimmune issues.

To understand more about foods and diets that affect health, visit the Nutrition Resource List.

Personal Training St Albans Nutrition Resource List - Bias Ninja

Supplementation

Consider supplementing the diet with a high-quality grass-fed / grass-finished bone broth powder, such as the one made by Honest + Good.

The supplementation of a joint care supplement that contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate could also be considered. However, suppose you still consume wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). In that case, the supplement may be less effective as glucosamine has an affinity to bind to WGA, potentially reducing its bioavailability for collagen synthesis.

Bone Broth Honest and Good

Appropriate loading

When exercising, it’s essential only to perform what is appropriate for your knee health. For example, if you have degeneration of the menisci and bony changes to the architecture, performing squats and lunges with bodyweight or light dumbbells may be beneficial. Whilst running or performing heavy barbell squats might not be the wisest choice.

Peace and Love Optimal Loading

Imaging

Imaging is last on the list because even if you have changes to your knee that are visible on MRI and X-Ray, it doesn’t mean surgery is the first choice of intervention. Often you will be referred to physio or advised to find an alternative health professional to teach you how to strengthen the knee to see if you receive symptomatic relief.  

However, if you fail to respond to this type of intervention, it would be wise to request imaging from your doctor or consultant to help understand what underlying issues may be present, which may lead to alternative interventions being advised.

Disclaimer: The above information is not meant to be a diagnosis or medical advice. However, the information above may be a valuable checklist of considerations to discuss with your doctor or consultant if you suffer from any knee-related condition.

If you need additional support to implement the information on this webpage, I provide personal training and accountability coaching to help clients exercise correctly and achieve their health and fitness goals.