Ask any med student, and they will all agree that the knee is probably the most complex joint in the body. As a matter of fact most of the people who take up my course come with problems related to weak knees, or injury. Others suffer back aches that originate from their knees, although they do not even realise it.
The knee joins the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia). The smaller bone that runs along the tibia (fibula) and the kneecap (patella) are the other bones in the knee joint.
Tendons connect the knee bones to the leg muscles that move the joint. Ligaments join the knee bones and create stability. Two C-shaped cartilages, the medial and lateral menisci, act as shock absorbers between the femur and the tibia.
People suffer from many sorts of knee injuries and knee conditions due to lack of strength in the muscles that hold the knee in place.
Chondromalacia patella (irritation of the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap, the patella), knee osteoarthritis (caused by aging and wear and tear of cartilage), knee effusion (fluid buildup inside the knee usually from inflammation), meniscal tear (damage to a meniscus, the cartilage that cushions the knee, often occurs with twisting the knee), ACL (anterior cruciate ligament strain or tear often suffered during sports such as soccer or squash), PCL (posterior cruciate ligament strain or tear), MCL (medial collateral ligament strain or tear), patellar subluxation (sliding kneecap), patellar tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon connecting the kneecap to the shin bone, mostly suffered by athletes from repeated jumping), knee bursitis (pain and swelling from overuse or injury).
To help your knee stay healthy, glucosamine, cinnamon, and turmeric are great. Yoga and Pilates can stretch and strengthen the muscles around the knees to prevent injuries and speed up recovery after injuries. Everyone, especially athletes, should do these knee exercises before and after exercise to prevent injuries.
Here is an easy and super-effective 5-minute routine to help you keep your knees healthy —
Lie on your side, then move your legs up so they are at 45 degrees with your body. Rest your head in the palm of your hand, elbow on the ground. Keep your other hand on the ground in front of you for balance. Keep one hip stacked over the other and try not to move the hips back and forth. All movement should originate from below the hips, so you are isolating your leg muscles.
Straight leg extensions
Swing your top leg twice forward and once back, extending out of your hips as you do so. Keep the leg one foot above the ground throughout. Repeat ten times.
Bend your knee and bring it up towards your chest, then reach forward and extend to straight leg and bring the leg all the way back. Again, bend the knee and repeat ten times. Like you are cycling
Trace your leg
Trace your bottom leg with your top leg, from bottom to top, then extend the top leg and reach out. Repeat ten times.
Keeping the top leg straight and extended out of hip socket, draw small circles with your heels (toes down) ten times. Reverse the direction of the circle and repeat ten times.
Tap the top leg in front of your bottom leg and then behind your bottom leg. Repeat ten times.
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