We often hear that women are more prone to knee problems than men, is it really true?
Well yes, it is. The reason is our anatomy and hormones. Women have relatively large hips, which puts extra stress on the joints and our hormones are known to weaken the ligaments. Especially during pregnancy, the high levels of estrogen producted makes our ligaments lax and hence more prone to knee problems.
What are the other causes?
Extra pressure in the forms of obesity or excess body weight hastens wear and tear and can also cause early osteoarthritis. Then there are age-related degenerative changes caused by deterioration between the joints and thinning of the knee cartilage, which causes increased friction between joints and hence pain. Over-use syndrome can also be the reason for pain, for example house maids who constantly sit, stand and bend for long durations or for people with jobs like marketing where you're contantly on the go, over use of muscles can cause problems. It could also be sports injuries, different kinds of arthritis or even incorrect footwear. Flat footwear leads to improper weight transmission, which inturn affects the knees. A slight arch is required for everyone and for those with flat feet need a special one for support.
Is there any way to prevent it or strengthen your knees?
The most important thing is to reduce weight with a good protein and dairy rich diet. Although diet does not have direct relation to joint problems, a healthy diet can help combat early oesteoporosis with calcium and Vitamin D 3. Proteins are great because they strengthen your cartilage, but if you're suffering from gouty or other kind of arthritis, decrease your protein consumption would be advisable. Wear the correct footwear and workout regularly to ensure good joint health.
Are there any specific workouts that can help?
#1 Static Quadriceps: Lie down, keep a roll of towel under your knees and press the knees down on it.
#2VMO: Lie down with both knees bent, keep a pillow in between the legs and press both knees towards each other, on the pillow.
#3Straight Leg Lift: Lie down with one leg bent and lift the straight leg upto 30 degrees and hold.
#4 Sitting Dynamics Quadriceps: Sit on a back supporting chair, lift your leg up straight and hold.
#5 Squats, lunges and taking a walk regularly will also help.
Note: Different people suffer knee problems for different reasons and hence the solutions will also vary. If you have a knee problem, consult your doctor before doing anything.