When asked how to keep their knees healthy, many people will respond by listing different exercises for strengthening their knee joints. Exercise is good, but it isn't the only thing that will keep your knees strong and healthy. Other essential measures include:
Protecting Them from Injuries
Contact sports carry significant risks of physical injuries that can also affect your knee joints. Even if you are otherwise healthy, you need to protect your knees by wearing protective gear while playing. For example, you need to wear knee pads while engaging in games with high risks of knee injuries, such as skating. The pads prevent you from overstretching your knees and also protect the joints if you fall. If you are already struggling with a knee problem, then you need the protection even if you are engaged in activities with low risks of knee injuries, such as tennis.
Manage Your Weight
Being overweight is a detriment to the health of your knees. The more you weigh, the more force you are exerting on your knees' cartilage, and the faster they wear out. In fact, according to some studies, people with BMI above 27 are three times more likely to develop osteoarthritis. This is a form of arthritis in which your joints' cartilage wears off. Therefore, talk to your doctor about your acceptable BMI range and keep your weight within it.
Good nutrition is good for your overall health, but there are some vitamins and minerals that are particularly useful for maintaining healthy knees. For example, omega-3 fatty acids are good for alleviating knee pain induced by arthritis. You can get the fatty acids from cold water fish such as mackerel, herring and salmon. Alternatively you can try fish oil capsules or omega-3 supplements, but the first option (directly from fish) may be best.
Also, make sure you get vitamin D and calcium in your diet. Vitamin D mainly comes from exposure to sunlight; just make sure you use sunscreen to prevent skin damage. Sources of calcium include dairy products and green leafy vegetables (think kale and collards). You need these minerals in order to develop and maintain strong bones. Strong bones help to prevent falls that can lead to knee injuries.
In addition to exercising, these and other relevant tips should keep your knees healthy. If you still develop knee pain, then you may be dealing with an underlying disease that requires medical treatment. A visit to the doctor will help you get the right diagnosis and treatment.