The health of your knee and keeping injuries at bay

By Eliana Viali. 30 October 2022, 4:00PM

Talofa Samoa and welcome back to your weekly health column! This week in the clinic I have seen and treated quite a few knee injuries this week. This week’s article will look at some simple exercises to keep your knees healthy and strong, as suggested by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

There are points to remember when doing strengthening exercises: To get stronger, you need to feel like the exercise was ‘hard’ or ‘very hard’ when you did it. If it felt ‘easy’, you may not be gaining strength. If you have trouble performing any exercise, talk to your health professional on your next visit so that the exercise can be reviewed and modified if necessary. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to get the right set of exercises for you.

Bridge: Start by lying on your back with your knees bent towards the ceiling and your feet on the floor hip-width apart. Rest your arms by your sides with your palms down. Consider laying down a yoga mat to make yourself more comfortable. Lift your pelvis off the floor by pressing into the soles of your feet until your lower body is in line with your knees. Squeeze your glute muscles and keep your stomach flat to avoid overextending your spine. Hold the position for a few breaths, remembering to keep drawing your belly button down to keep your core activated, then slowly lower back to the starting position. Repeat these steps for a few reps, then rest and do an additional set.

Sit-to-stand: Sit toward the front edge of a sturdy chair without armrests. Your knees should be bent and your feet should be flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart and underneath your hips. Place your hands lightly on each side of the seat. Keep your back and neck as straight as possible, with your chest slightly forward. Breathe in slowly. Lean forward and slightly shift your weight to the front of your feet. Breathe out as you slowly stand up. Try not to support any weight with your hands. Stand and pause for a full breath in and out. Breathe in as you sit down slowly. Tighten your core and abdominal muscles to control your lowering as much as possible. You should lower yourself back to the chair slowly, not just drop back into the seat. Breathe out slowly.

Wall squats: Stand near a wall. Lean your trunk and buttocks against the wall and keep your back straight. Step feet away from the wall until your feet are approximately 30 cm (1 ft.) away from the wall. Stand with feet apart. Slightly turn your feet outwards. Keep your trunk and buttocks against the wall and keep your back straight. Slowly slide down the wall (as if to sit), keeping your trunk and buttocks in contact with the wall as you do. Keep your knees moving over your toes. Stop when your knees are bent to about 60 degrees (or less if it is painful). Slowly slide back up keeping your trunk and buttocks in contact with the wall as you do.

Step ups and step downs: To perform the step up, place your leg onto a step that is in front of you. Be safe! Use a hand support (back of chair or handrail) for balance. Step up onto the step slowly, carefully controlling the movement of your knee. Your weight should be on your leg that’s on the step through the whole exercise. Concentrate on the alignment of your leg – hip, knee and ankle – position your knee over your foot throughout. To perform the step down, stand on the step. Taking care to control the movement of your knee, reach your other foot towards the floor in front. If you can reach the floor, just touch it lightly. Return to the starting position. Your weight should be on your leg through the whole exercise. Concentrate on the alignment of your arthritis leg – hip, knee and ankle – position your knee over your foot throughout.

The author is a physiotherapist at the Health Specialist Centre (Alec’s Building) in Moto’otua. For information & inquiries call 28303.

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Health
By Eliana Viali. 30 October 2022, 4:00PM
Samoa Observer

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