8 Ways to Prevent Knee Problems Before They Begin

As the largest joint in your body, the knee is a common source of pain and injury. Protect your knees now, and they’ll keep you stepping strong for years to come.

Here are some tips to help you keep your knees in tip-top shape:

1. Stretch
Stretch before and after physical exercise, sports or recreational activities to warm up your
muscles. To keep your knees healthy, target your calves, hips, quads and hamstrings.

2. Be cautious with stairs
Bounding up and down stairs puts serious stress on your kneecaps. Even if you’re running
late, walk up and down stairs and hold onto the railing for added support.

3. Use proper form
When doing squats and lunges, don’t bend your leg beyond a 90-degree angle, and make
sure your knee stays directly over your foot. If you play sports, consider taking lessons to
learn the proper technique to help avoid injury.

4. Work your inner thighs
Strong hip adductor muscles (a.k.a. inner thigh muscles) absorb stress while you walk,
which in turn helps keep knees healthy. A simple way to start: try squeezing your knees
together when you’re sitting down.

5. Make safety a priority
Make it a habit to follow simple safety procedures at home and at work. Don’t carry objects
that are too heavy, don’t stand on chairs or other unsteady objects, and use equipment
appropriate to your size, strength and ability.

6. Lose weight
The No. 1 secret for happy knees? Stay at a healthy weight. Every extra pound you pack on
puts about 4 extra pounds of pressure on your knees when you walk or take the stairs.

7. Wear proper shoes
As footwear affects the positioning of your leg, the wrong shoes could potentially provoke
knee pain. So save the stilettos for special occasions and consider getting professionally
fitted at a running or sporting goods store to lower your chances of knee injury.

8. Stand up straight
Believe it or not, poor posture can lead to knee pain. The key to good posture? Core
muscles in your abdomen and lower back, which can be strengthened by exercises such as
planks, back extensions, yoga and Pilates.