Keep your knees in shape - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Keep your knees in shape

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Our knees are our body's built-in shock absorbers. Every step, every turn, every twist puts pressure on the knees. It's no wonder they start to ache or give out over time! Wellness Expert Peggy Hall shares her favorite ways to keep those hinges "bullet-proof and rust-free."

1. Stretch: Peggy says it's important to keep your knee joints supple and flexible. Here's a great way to do it: Knee circles: Stand with your feet pointing straight ahead and place your hands right above your knee caps to keep them tracking. Circle slowly a few times in each direction. This lubricates the knee joint and helps increase circulation to bring down pain and inflammation. It can also break up old scar tissue that could be impeding your mobility. Only go in the range of motion that feels suitable for you.

2. Strengthen: To help your knees function correctly, Peggy recommends you need to strengthen and stabilize the muscles around the knee, like the quadriceps (front of the thigh). Try this wall squat: Press your back against a wall and bend your knees about 45 degrees. Hold for one minute, rest and repeat. Only bend to the range of motion that is suitable for you. Do this three times a week for best results.

3. Support: Peggy swears by using a supportive sports tape when she was healing her own knee strain. It's called KT Tape (kinesiology tape) and you can find it at most sporting goods stores for about $10. [online at www.kttape.com]  This works by offering more support and stability, decreasing inflammation and increasing circulation to speed healing. Of course, always check with your doctor to make sure any aches and pains don't require medical attention.

Ill-fitting shoes can also contribute to knee pain. Peggy says to make sure you have shoes that offer enough support without being too thin-soled, or too high-heeled. Every step you take jolts your knees, so make sure your shoes -- and your feet are in good working order!

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