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Save Your Knees
It's an inevitable fact of life: the older you get, the more likely you are to develop knee problems. More than anything else, it's because your knees take an almost constant beating. There's really no way of avoiding it.
Because the knee joint is so complex, and because so many things can go wrong, we're going to focus on a very specific type of knee problem.
The technical term is ugly: Chondromalacia Patella. That's Latin & Greek for, "bad cartilage behind the knee cap." The knee cap, also known as the patella, serves as a way station for your quad. It disperses the force that your quad generates so its tendon doesn't rip away from your shin.
The undersurface is lined with cartilage so it can glide smoothly. Chronically tight quads make the patella track too closely to the rest of the joint. The result is grinding, pain, and eventually destruction of the cartilage. Obviously, stretching your quads can reduce this problem. Seeing your friendly neighborhood Active Release® provider to breakup scar tissue in the quads also helps.
There's one more thing you can do: Stay off the Leg Extension machine.
Wanna know why? Briefly, when you sit on the leg extension machine, and load your foot with weight, you create tremendous shearing forces on your knee. As you raise and lower the weight, you pull your knee cap against the rest of the joint as tightly as is physically possible, grinding away at the cartilage. One rep is no problem. A few sets? No biggie. Years of using this ridiculous contraption will add up to an arthritic disaster.
Here's a substitute. Of course, clear it with your doctor first. The Yoga Style Split Squat makes your front leg's quad work hard in a safe and functional way.
This is an excellent alternative to seated leg extensions. First, figure out your stance. If you've never done any yoga, or if you're not particularly flexible, this will challenge your groin muscles, so consider yourself warned.
Get down into a "warrior" yoga pose to space your legs properly. If you don't know what that is, check the photo:
Bottom: Thigh parallel to floor
Ok, now that you've figured out what a Yoga warrior looks like, you're ready for weights.
Obviously, do a set with one foot forward, then do the next set with the other foot forward. Move slowly, deliberately, and come to a full stop at the top and bottom of each rep. Prepare for soreness the next day, especially in the groin muscles.
By keeping your feet on the floor, you compress the knee joint. This protects it. The balance issue makes bouncing at the bottom of the rep difficult, another knee saver.
Try doing 3 or 4 sets of 8-12 reps with each leg. Stay away from the leg extension machine, and prepare for a long life with happier knees. Enjoy.
Top Position (front and side)
Bottom Position (front and side)
The information found on this website is not intended as medical advice. The information on this website is not intended to provide you a diagnosis or a plan of care. If you are not feeling well, please consult either us or your health care provider. If you are presently being treated by another provider, do not disregard that provider's treatment plan because of anything that you read on this website. If you have any questions, please call or email us. Your well-being is our primary concern.Copyright © Dr. Glenn, Inc. 2006-2007. Denver Chiropractic Center. All rights reserved. All other copyrights are the property of their respective holders.