As a veteran of five surgeries on my left knee (two ACL reconstructions and three partial menisectomies/cleanups), I have created a comprehensive knee maintenance guide which, in addition to a healthy diet, has allowed me to continue to enjoy life’s activities after I finally gave up competitive sports. Now I know what you are thinking…it took you five surgeries to give up competitive sports? Well, to that I say I have no regrets. I enjoyed my athletic years to the fullest. And now, in order to continue to enjoy being active, I have created the following comprehensive ritual which keeps my knee functioning and as healthy as it can be.
If your lazy and can’t keep an exercise routine then stop reading right here. In order to keep your knees in working order, you must always remain in motion. The minute you stop, your knees will most definitely freeze up and just might fall off.
The first and most important asset to knee health is a bike. I recommend getting a road bike and trainer so you can setup your road bike inside during inclement weather. I was never interested much in biking until after my first ACL surgery. During my recovery, I began biking and it shortened the recovery time by several months. I now bike 3-4 times week and consider it my new athletic career. Biking represents a phenomenal workout and it is very benign on the knees but awesome for your quads which provide most of your knee stability.
In addition to leg strength, it is still very important to workout the rest of your body. After seeing those incessant commercials for “The Perfect Pushup” on television, I finally gave in and bought one. It is everything it advertises. I was tired on doing hundred of pushups in order to maintain core strength. The Perfect Pushup truly focuses your workout and in much less time, you workout more of your upper body muscles.
Finally, walking/jogging are still excellent ways to get fit. With knee problems you have to be careful though of overdoing weight bearing exercise, but you should still incorporate some into your routine. An adjustable treadmill provides the ability to create a softer surface upon which to run. I found a great Pacemaster model which on its soft setting is somewhere between a dirt road and grass. I am able to jog pain free for 20-25 minutes three times a week.
After trying many different supplements to find the right combination to support general health and joint health at the same time, I have found the following daily supplements to be the most effective:
Swanson Whole Food Multi without Iron
This incredible multi vitamin can be found at www.swansonvitamins.com. The vitamins and minerals come from whole food sources so they are more readily absorbable and thus better utilized by the body. I have noticed a marked improvement in overall health and energy levels since I began including this in my diet. Additionally, you can typically find buy one get one coupons that make this the best priced and highest quality multi-vitamin around
These two naturally occurring substances are found to be deficient in people with knee/joint injury or surgical repair. You have to take them for about 4-6 weeks in order to build up the levels in your system to notice a difference. You can then continue supplementation on a daily basis. Some people have said they don’t notice much, but for those of us who have used our knees to the fullest, I never miss my daily dose. I tried one week to stop taking these and by the end of the week, my knee felt creaky and gritty.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
CLA is a trans fatty acid that is naturally occurring in meat and dairy products. How can a trans fatty acid be good for you say? Wikipedia has a nice summary of the fact that in addition to antioxidant properties, it also seems to help people reduce the amount of body fat and in particular fat around the abdomen which for most men is where we carry it. I have noticed a marked decrease in fat around my stomach and reduced my waist size by more than an inch by just adding this supplement to my regular diet and exercise routine. And for anyone with knee problems, taking off just a few pounds help tremendously.
Fish Oil is an obvious supplement for overall health. It helps in so many areas of the body that I cannot list them all here. But what you might not know is that there seems to be increasing evidence of improved joint health from fish oil as well. It seems that fish oil also has anti-inflammatory properties which help joints with overall mobility. I can’t say I notice improved condition in my knee directly from the fish oil, but with all its health benefits, fish oil is a must.
Topical Knee Treatment
In addition to periodic ice sessions, I have been using a topical lotion called “Super Blue Emu” for about 10 years now. The Emu oil is supposed to be more readily absorbed by the skin thus allowing the other ingredients like Glucosamine and MSM to be transmitted directly into the knee joint. I don’t know if it works exactly like this, but I notice a significant improvement in my knee within several minutes of applying this lotion. I normally use it after exercise as an inflammation prevention or when my knee just feels a bit off. Unfortunately, the price of Super Blue Emu has sky rocketed these days to anywhere from $15 to $20 for a four ounce jar. A little does go a long way, but this is still a heavy price. Luckily, Swanson Vitamins came to the rescue here. They have created a very comparable product called “Better than Blue” which has the same effect and is about $7.50 for a four ounce jar.
I realize incorporating all this into your life might be a bit daunting. But the knees are extremely important to our ability to stay active. And I find so much enjoyment is being able to stay fit and be extremely active that I am willing to do what it takes. I have spent many years reading, researching and treating myself like a guinea pig to find the right ritual that helps me be as active as I want to be. And I hope you find some morsel of information in this article that will help you stay active as well.