As the old adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Putting in a little work when you’re young can go a long way in helping to prevent some common health conditions that can develop when we’re a bit older. That sentiment is especially true when it comes to your knee health. If you do a few things during your youth, you may be able to stave off the need for a knee replacement operation later in life. In today’s blog, we share five things you should be doing now to avoid a knee replacement in the future.
4 Ways To Lower Your Knee Replacement Risk In Your Youth
If you can do these four things throughout your twenties, thirties and forties, you should be able to significantly reduce your risk of needing a knee replacement procedure in your fifties, sixties and beyond:
- Weight Management – Obesity is one of the leading risk factors for the eventual need for a knee replacement. If you’re carrying extra weight, your knees are working to handle this added stress with every step you take, and this can lead to faster cartilage degeneration over the years. Research has found that more than one-fourth of knee replacement operations can be prevented if patients in certain weight classes lose 20-25 pounds. That means if you can try to lose two pounds a month for a year, you stand a good chance of being able to avoid needing a knee replacement procedure in the future. Maintaining an ideal weight is one of the best things you can do for your knees.
- Exercise – Regular exercise is also incredibly important for the current and future health of your knees. Exercise will help to strengthen key structures that support your knee and can help take stress off the joint. If your body is more capable of handling the stress you put on it, your knee cartilage won’t wear down as quickly, prolonging the health of your knee joints. Strive to get 30-45 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 3-4 times a week, and don’t be afraid to consider low-impact exercises like swimming, cycling or walking.
- Healthy Posture – You may be surprised to learn that poor posture can end up putting additional stress on your knee, which could increase your risk of eventually needing a knee replacement. When you’re in a seated position, avoid sitting on your knees. Some people like to tuck their legs under their body when seated, but this can put extra stress on the knee, fatigue supportive muscles and decrease healthy blood flow to the joint. Sit in a healthy position with your legs and knees out in front of you. Just be sure that you aren’t sitting so much that you’re living a sedentary life!
- Stop Small Problems – Finally, the need for a knee replacement procedure rarely develops overnight. Oftentimes there are subtle signs that you are dealing with an issue in your knee that should be addressed. If you keep ignoring these warning signs, symptoms can worsen until your only option is a replacement procedure. If you’re dealing with mild or moderate knee discomfort, connect with your primary care physician or a knee specialist like Dr. Botero. A few simple lifestyle adjustments may be all you need to alleviate your discomfort and greatly reduce your risk of needing to undergo a joint replacement procedure down the road.
For more information on how you can lower your risk of a future knee replacement procedure, or to talk to a specialist about any symptoms you’re currently experiencing, reach out to Dr. Botero and his team today (865) 558-4444.