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November 2014 Blog – Addressing Weak Knees!

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Improve your kneesAhh, November! Remember remember.
My focus this month is your knees. Knees are probably one of the commonest areas of the body that people experience problems with either directly or indirectly. Directly because you tell me ‘my knees hurt’, indirectly because time and time again an integral part of rehabilitation, for example back or hip pain requires strengthening your legs. This is often achieved through squatting or crouching but so often people say “I can’t do that because of my knees”.

So if the thought of crouching low to creep under this bridge makes you cringe because your knees will let you down, read on!

Warning signs that your knees require attention:
1. You try to avoid activities that involve bending your knees to any great extent
2.The thought of having to get down onto the ground and back up again without using something to hold onto makes your eyes water!
3. Your knees feel sore after going up or down a long hill or flight of stairs.

Listen up everyone and I mean everyone! If you avoid using your knees then the rest of your body is being put under undue strain simply because it has to accommodate this avoidance behaviour.

Your mission:
Try out my loyal and ever obliging Stickmans’ November treats. Pick the two tightest stretches and then see how many squats you can do before your thigh muscles (NOT your knees) squeal with enthusiasm. As always, ensure it doesn’t hurt or increase existing pain.

1. Calf stretching Stickman

calf stretch for painfree kneesBoth hands on a wall, both heels on the ground

Back knee fully straight (be diligent here!)

Lean onto front bent knee

Feel the stretch in your back calf

 

Hold for 10 seconds

2. Front thigh stretching Stickman

quadricep stretch for painfree kneesOne hand on a wall for balance

Other hand around your ankle on same side (use a towel around your ankle if you can’t reach your ankle with your hand)

Move your bent leg towards your standing leg

Tuck your bottom in and stand straight

Feel the stretch in the thigh of your bent leg

 

Hold for 10 seconds

 

3. Back of thigh stretching Stickman

hamstring stretch for painfree knees

Place your heel on a low step

Keep both legs straight and your hips pointing straight ahead

Stick your bottom and chest out and reach your body forwards

Feel the stretch in the back of your front leg

 

Hold for 10 seconds

 

4. Squatting Stickman

Squat exercise for painfree kneesSquat or stand up/sit down by:

Leaning shoulders in front of your knees until your weight is over your toes (toes must not lift up)

Lower your bottom as you bend your knees to sit or squat

Move in a range that does not increase or bring on knee pain, however small the squat. Repeat until your thigh muscles tire.

 

If you do these twice a day, the start of your improvement will be seen in the exercises becoming easier to do before you necessarily see any improvement in your knee pain. As you become stronger and your muscles more flexible so the strain through your knees will lessen.

I am not saying that by doing the above, all knee pains will be improved, although most will. What I am saying, is that if you continue to avoid using your knees, your muscles will get weaker and stiffer and in time your knees will hurt with more activities more of the time. So, to ensure that I am not the only one looking after my knees think about the change in terms of the longer view. Little and often, slow but sure as with all the good things in life….

Thank you for reading! Give it a go, it could make a real difference.

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