LET’S SAY THANK YOU!!

Once again we are THRILLED TO say thank you to some great local businesses that support our cause!

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4 Ways You are Wrecking Your Knees—and How to Save Them Instead

Knee pain isn’t just a problem for old people: It can hit at any age, says Matthew Abdel, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and associate professor at the Mayo Clinic.

And it’s happening more and more frequently. According to a study from the Boston University School of Medicine, the prevalence of knee pain has increased significantly over a 20-year period. Currently, one in five Americans have suffered knee pain, and it’s the culprit behind a third of all doctor’s visits for muscle and bone pain, says Stephen Nicholas, M.D., founder and current director of New York Orthopedics.

That’s one reason why there are roughly 700,000 knee replacements annually. But who wants to go under the knife if you don’t need to? Thankfully, there are things you can do right now to protect your knees to avoid that fate.

 

wrecking knees

1/4 Getty Images
Knee Wrecker #1: Skipping Your Warmup

We know you’re strapped for time, and you want to make the most out of your run. But jumping right into a workout could really mess up your knees.

That’s because warming up lubricates the knee joint, circulates synovial fluid into the knee, improves muscle elasticity, and boosts oxygen flow to the area—reducing your chance of injury to the knees, according to Dr. Nicholas.

Related: 4 Things Young, Active Guys Are Doing That Wreck Their Joints

Knee Saver: Stretch Before Your Workout
“The most important thing you can do for your knees is give yourself an appropriate warm up period,” says Dr. Nicholas. “Stretching your lower legs is particularly key for long term running health. When the muscles are unevenly lengthened, the knee caps pull to the side, which causes wear or pain on the joint.”

Set aside at least 10 minutes before your workout to work on stretching, says Astrid Pujari, M.D., an integrative internist based in Seattle and author of The Healthy Knees Book. “Warming up lets your muscles gently strengthen, which is key for healthy knees,” she says.

The best warmup, says Dr. Nicolas, is a combination of low level cardio-activity, such as jogging or jumping jacks coupled with dynamic stretches that accentuate the motion you are targeting.

Related: 5 Exercises to Do Before Every Run

Then, when it comes time for your workout, make sure to include exercises that strengthen the muscles around your knee, like the quads, as well as your core, glutes, and abdominal muscles, says Dr. Pujari. This will help your knees with stability and mobility.

That’s important, since knees need a full range of motion—to move back and forth, twist a little, and pivot. This will protect you if you find yourself in an awkward position; increased flexibility stresses the joint less.

wrecking knees

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Knee Wrecker #2: You’ve Packed On the Pounds

As the largest load-bearing joints in our body, knees suffer mightily when you gain weight.

“Being overweight or obese will definitely wreck your knees,” says Dr. Abdel.

Related: 10 Easy Ways to Lose Weight Without Even Trying

That’s because whenever you walk—and especially if you’re going up stairs—the load on your knee is several times higher than your weight. The increased pressure means more overuse on the knees, slowly degenerating the cartilage of the knee and increasing the risk of injury and subsequent inflammation.

Knee Saver: Lose Weight Safely
If you lose ten pounds, your knees experience 30 to 50 pounds less weight when you go up and down stairs. If you lose 50 pounds, your knees experience 250 less pounds of force when you take on stairs, Dr. Abdel says.

So losing weight is obviously a benefit to your joints. But you have to do it carefully. Running too fast or too hard can increase the risk of stress fractures and tendonitis.

Lose weight with the 12-week Run Your Butt Off training plan!

Opt for a lower intensity workout at first, for a longer duration, until you lose some weight. Once your body mass index approaches normal, your knees should be better able to withstand the impact of harder running, Dr. Nicholas says. Work back into running gradually, increasing your intensity and duration over a six-week period rather than trying to immediately recover your previous mileage levels.

Diet matters, too. Choosing a diet high in fruits and vegetables—and low in processed foods—can help keep your weight down. And it’ll also boost your intake of antioxidants, which can help counteract the inflammatory effect of too much extra weight, says Dr. Pujari. Choose as colorful a plate as possible—that’ll ensure you get as many different kinds of antioxidants as possible, which have different anti-inflammatory benefits.

wrecking knees

Wrecker #3: You Overdo Pounding the Pavement

Yes, you want to exercise to help your health, but going too hard, too quickly, for too long can spell danger for your knees—especially if your joints are already vulnerable.

“Think of cartilage the way you would your tires,” says Dr. Abdel. “If you ran 50 miles every single day, just like tires on a car, it will wear away the cartilage and lead to arthritis.”

One recent study from the University of Kentucky found that up to 70 percent of new runners will develop some kind of overuse injury within any one-year period. An example, of course, is runner’s knee, an irritation of the cartilage in the kneecap that leads to inflammation and pain.

On the other hand, a new study from Brigham Young University found that running may actually be good for your knees. But there’s a caveat: The study was skewed in favor of people who had never had knee injury or knee pain, making it an elite group of participants instead of the more typical population, many of whom are predisposed to injury.

So, what’s the bottom line? You need to listen to your body.

“Pain is a good sign it’s time to back down and avoid overuse,” Dr. Nicholas says.

And if you do find yourself aching after a run, that’s telling you it’s time to visit your orthopedic surgeon. He can check you out to make sure that your pain isn’t causing any kind of structural damage—which, if you continue doing what you’re doing, you can make worse and lead to long-term harm.

Knee Saver: Keep Breaking a Sweat—but Safely
No, don’t take this as an excuse to pause your exercise routine. In fact, that’s one of the worst things you can do.

Not exercising can actually make knee pain worse. “Exercise keeps the joint lubricated and keeps the muscles around the knee strong,” says Dr. Abdel. “That way, the knee joint itself doesn’t bear the largest load, because the muscles, ligaments and tendons all take a share.”

For optimum knee health, Dr. Pujari recommends milder exercise that focuses on core strength, such as Pilates, yoga and even martial arts.

Related: 6 Ways Your Health Suffers When You Stop Working Out

Want to keep running? You probably don’t need to stop completely. Just don’t overdo your mileage, and pay attention to your shoes. Keep at least two pairs in your rotation, says Dr. Nicholas.

“If you run daily, the cells of the shoes may not recover their elasticity by your next run. That means there’s less cushion, which can damage your knees over time,” he says.

wrecking knees

4/4 Getty Images
Knee Wrecker #4: You Push Past Your Limits

Yes, you want to get faster and build endurance. But excessive exercise past the point of fatigue in can make you more accident—and injury—prone.

“When fatigue sets in, the different parts of the knees get stressed,” Dr. Nicholas says. And that can lead to injury.

Knowing your limit is critical to avoiding future pain and damage, he says.

Knee Saver: Listen to Your Body
Don’t underestimate the power of rest—it helps your body adapt and integrate the demands of your chosen activity. According to Dr. Nicholas, people who rest every third of fourth day have more productive exercise routines than those who exercise daily.

Related: 3 Exercises You Should Do on Your Off Days

A day off clears away the inflammatory mediators circulating in your blood stream and eliminates any residual fatigue, giving your knees a chance to completely recover.

The article 4 Ways Young Guys Are Wrecking Their Knees—and How to Save Them Instead originally appeared on Men’s Health.

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Knee Arthritis Has Doubled… And It’s Not Because of Running

Knee Arthritis Has Doubled… And It’s Not Because of Running

Analysis of ancient skeletons sheds light on the sudden increase in arthritis rates.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 1:36 pm
Runner's Legs

One of my pet topics on this blog has been the persistent myth that running will ruin your knees. In truth, as numerous studies over the years have suggested, runners are no more likely, and perhaps even less likely, than comparable non-runners to develop osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear form of arthritis, in their knees.
Still, there’s a widespread sense that osteoarthritis is getting more common, which is often blamed on the fact that people these days are heavier and live longer than they used to. Is that really true? That’s what a new study from Dan Lieberman’s group at Harvard University, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (press release here), sought to determine.

The methodology of the study was fascinating. One of the researchers traveled around the country to examine collections of old and new skeletons, looking for signs of “eburnation,” which is a polished surface on the bones of the knee joint that occurs when the bones rub against each other because of the loss of cartilage associated with osteoarthritis.

In total, he examined almost 2,500 skeletons from three distinct time periods:

  1. “Prehistoric” skeletons from archeological digs in Alaska, California, New Mexico, Kentucky, and Ohio, from hunter-gatherers and early farmers between 300 and 6,000 years ago. All of the people were at least 50 years old when they died.
  2. Early industrial skeletons from Cleveland and St. Louis, from people who died between 1905 and 1940 and whose bodies were used for medical education and research.
  3. Postindustrial skeletons from Albuquerque and Knoxville, from people who died between 1976 and 2015 and donated their bodies to medical research.

The results showed that knee osteoarthritis occurred with roughly similar frequency in the prehistoric and early industrial skeletons, but was much more common in the postindustrial skeletons.

Of course, that’s exactly what you’d expect if you subscribe to the old-age-and-obesity theory. Fortunately, in many of the early industrial and postindustrial skeletons, age and body mass index (BMI) at death were recorded, which allowed the researchers include those factors in their analysis. The surprising result: Even accounting for age and BMI, knee osteoarthritis was still roughly twice as common for people born after World War II than it was for people born before it.

 

So if it’s not obesity or age, what explains the apparent rise in osteoarthritis rates? This study can’t answer that, but the researchers do float a few hypotheses in their discussion.

Another possibility is shoes—and they’re not talking about trainers. They cite a 1998 study showing that high-heeled shoes generate abnormally high forces on the knee joint, and note that, in their analysis, women were about 50 percent more likely to have knee osteoarthritis than men.

But the biggest factor, they suspect, may be physical inactivity. Joints, like muscles, have a use-it-or-lose-it aspect. If you sit at a desk all day, you end up with thinner, lower-quality cartilage in your joints, and weakness in the muscles that would otherwise take some of the load off your joints. The problem, in other words, isn’t too much running; it’s not enough running.

  1. 6:40Inside the Doctor’s Office: Runner’s Knee

    Dr. Metzl breaks down what “Runner’s Knee” is, how to prevent it, and how to cure it.

  2. 6:59Inside the Doctor’s Office: How to Beat Hip Pain

    Dr. Metzl teaches you how to recognize, prevent, and treat 3 common types of hip pain.

  3. 3:28Inside the Doctor’s Office: Kinetic Chain

    Dr. Metzl invites you into his office to show you what the Kinetic Chain is and tell you how strengthening it can help your running.

  4. 8:33Inside the Doctor’s Office: Cut Out Cramps

    Dr. Metzl shows you how to put a stop to muscle cramping, including side stitches.

  5. 7:10Inside the Doctor’s Office: Stay Healthy With the Right Shoe

    Dr. Jordan Metzl tells you how stay healthy by picking the best shoe for you.

  6. 8:41Inside the Doctor’s Office: Keep Shinsplints Away

    Dr. Metzl invites you in his office to show you how to keep shinsplints far away.

  7. 7:29Inside the Doctor’s Office: Achilles Tendinitis

    Dr. Metzl shows you how to treat and prevent the dreaded Achilles Tendinitis.

  8. 7:58Inside the Doctor’s Office: Overuse Injuries

    Dr. Metzl tells you how to prevent & treat overuse injuries to keep you on the road.

  9. 7:29Inside The Doctor’s Office: Pain in the Back

    Dr. Metzl shows you how to deal with three different pains in the lower back.

  10. 7:34Inside the Doctor’s Office: Plantar Fasciitis

    Dr. Metzl breaks down what “Plantar Fasciitis” is, how to prevent it, and how to cure it.

  11. 9:59Inside the Doctor’s Office: Stress Fractures

    Dr. Metzl tells you how to diagnose, treat, and prevent the dreaded stress fracture.

  12. 6:44Inside the Doctor’s Office: Pain In The Neck

    Dr. Metzl shows you how to recognize, prevent, and treat 3 types of neck pain.

In real life, of course, things are never that neat and tidy. As the authors are careful to point out, there’s lots of work remaining to explore some of these hypotheses. And even if the theories are confirmed, the fact remains that some runners, despite doing everything “right,” will still get osteoarthritis.

Still, the results are significant because they join a growing body of evidence that argues against osteoarthritis as a wear-and-tear disease, in which your knee are delicate instruments that will wear out if you use them too much. Your knees were made to be used, and are healthiest when used regularly. So use them!

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7 Products That Help Get the Stink Out of Your Shoes

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THIS IS FUN CLICK HERE!

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How Do I Find the Right Training Pace? ​When moving up to longer races, dialing back your runs will be important.

beginners-pace

Amy asks: I have been running consistently for about a year now. I have run two 5Ks and am now thinking about training for a half marathon and maybe even a full marathon, but I am intimidated by the longer runs. I know I cannot maintain the same training pace I use on shorter runs. How do I know what run pace I should be doing when I’ve never run a half or full before?

Good job challenging yourself with something different. Mixing things up is a good way to boost fitness and stay engaged with your training.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE!

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Rave Runs: Beautiful Places To Run

 

Nothing beats a Fall Run in Upstate NY when we have peak foliage.

Let’s get Beautiful Slingerlands, NY on this list!

Beautiful Places To Run

#UPState #NYRUNS #5K #RACEFORHOPE

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37 Mistakes Runners Can’t Stop Making Yeah. We Know Better. It Doesn’t Matter.

 

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Click HERE TO FIND OUT!  

 

REGISTER NOW FOR RACE FOR HOPE!

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