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Surgeon: How to give your knees some TLC
January 21st, 2011
06:29 PM ET

Surgeon: How to give your knees some TLC

Watch as Dr. Shervin Oskouei performs knee replacement surgery on a special edition of "SGMD," Saturday-Sunday, 7:30 a.m. ET

Knees help us stand, sit, walk, dance, kick a field goal and escape a predator. They bend, bounce, straighten and lift. Is it any wonder that at some point in life, knees may just wear out?

But, there are a few things you can do in order to keep your knees in the best possible working condition throughout life.

Athletes in any sport, professional or leisure, should take time to learn how to protect the knees from injury.  Athletic trainers can provide assistance in learning those techniques.

Varying workouts and putting limitations on the number of hours in practice can also be helpful in protecting the knees from overuse and injury.  Always be certain to take 5-10 minutes to warm up and cool down.

Wear appropriate footwear for your profession. Beware of spiked heels. Wearing spiked heels causes alignment problems, putting strain on the knees, as well as the back.  Studies have shown that spiked heels put stress on the part of the knee where osteoarthritis usually develops.

Very flat soles can also present a problem with alignment.  Comfortable and practical shoes do not have to be expensive.  Choose carefully.

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Keep your weight in check.  Extra pounds put extra pressure on the knees.  Every extra pound you carry can add up to three pounds of pressure to your knee joints when you walk, and even more when you run.

Exercise regularly. Choose low-impact activities you enjoy that build strength and flexibility such as yoga, walking, swimming or weight lifting.  When exercise is done properly and consistently, it can help with range of motion and circulation as well as building muscle.

Practice good posture.  Just like mama said –shoulders up, abs tight, head centered, knees slightly bent and don’t rest on one hip.  Be aware of your posture whether standing or sitting.

Do not ignore pain.  Stop the activity that is causing you discomfort and do something else.  If the pain persists for a couple of weeks after you have discontinued the activity, check with your doctor.

We consider the knee to have three compartments, the medial or inner part of the joint, the lateral or outer part of the joint, and the patellofemoral or front part of the joint.

Acute pain in the medial or lateral parts of the joint should especially be reported to your physician.

Some frontal knee pain or soreness is not uncommon with new and strenuous activity.  Of course if pain persists in the front of the knee, this too should be reported to your physician.  Chronic pain may be a sign of plain ‘ol wear-and-tear.  X-rays and other imaging will reveal the severity of the process.

Shervin Oskouei, M.D., is an orthopedic surgeon at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.


soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. unbelievable

    My hubby had a bi-lateral knee replacement at the age of 50. He had worn out his knees palying football & running/jogging. Take care of your body & LISTEN to what it is telling you. His recovery was painful & time consuming & if he doesn't take care of this new set he'll probably have to have the surgery again in 15-20 yrs or be confined to a wheelchair.

    January 21, 2011 at 20:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Ute

    Done all of the above, then went on deployment and tore up my meniscus carrying an extra 50 pounds. It took a few visits and insisting that something was not right until I finally got an MRI and the surgery I needed. If you don't show any obvious symptoms such as knee locking they'll likely tell you to wait for a few weeks/months to see if it heals on its own. Go back to your doctor if it doesn't. You know your body best.

    January 21, 2011 at 23:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Warren Eichhorn

    Before you have knee surgery check out http://www.getprolo.com the treatment works, I have had it done.

    January 22, 2011 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • scott

      This is a relatively new and unproven technique and more research is needed before your conclusion can be drawn.

      March 16, 2011 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
  4. David R. Smith

    Your segments are very informative for the public to take the mysteries out of the operating room. I watch your segments so I can talk to my patients about what they have seen. It would be very helpful to my profession if you would mention that the anesthetic may be done by a Certified Registered Anesthetist . We are 40,000 strong and provide quality anesthesia care nationwide. National Nurse Anesthetist week is January 23-29. We have a wonderful web site to provide information to the public . It is aana.com

    January 22, 2011 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. David Alan Arnold

    I practice and teach T'ai Chi Ch'uan and firmly believe that it Instills harmony in the tendons and ligaments that compose our the joints of our knees, hips and shoulders. This harmonizing affect of T'ai Chi permeates the body and has profound implications on all systems, causing them to come into healthful alignment. I would love to discuss some of the finer points of this with Sanjay and Soledad, because it truly is the best path to strength,vitality and resilience.

    January 23, 2011 at 08:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. kmcg

    Most of this is written in low literacy.. and then you throw in "We consider the knee to have three compartments, the medial or inner part of the joint, the lateral or outer part of the joint, and the patellofemoral or front part of the joint.

    Acute pain in the medial or lateral parts of the joint should especially be reported to your physician."

    That's confusing! Why not just say middle (like in the center), outside, inside, front, etc.?

    February 1, 2011 at 21:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. GrindingKnees

    Both of my knees are bone on bone(X-ray confirmed) Shoulder spur, pinched L5-S1. I am addicted to 5 pain meds that are no longer working as they once did. FIVE doctors have told me NO knee replacements for me. My PCP says 'Get a wheelchair'. My reply. Hell NO! But lately, I am in worsening pain and wondering what is left? What can I do? What pain management is left?

    March 17, 2011 at 06:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Lorenzo Peru

    The pain neutralization therapy is a totally more advanced method for healing trigger points and areas of pain than earlier systems (e. g. deep muscle massage, nimmo or myofascial release). The goal of pain neutralization, isn't to manage trigger points and painful areas in the body, it is by applying pressure on them or utilizing mechanical force to manage them as do other systems, but applies neurological reflexes to switch them off.^

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    February 7, 2013 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.