Being fit and active is essential to maintaining healthy knees, but knee pain can limit the ability to garden. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, author of FrameWork: Your 7 Step Program for Healthy Muscles, Bones and Joints, offers the following tips for maintaining healthy knees while enjoying gardening:
Motion is lotion. Motion helps reduce the risk for osteoarthritis. It both lubricates and nourishes knees.
Drink plenty of water. Drying out reduces flexibility. On average, you should drink eight glasses (8 oz. each) per day. Active gardeners need substantially more to balance fluid loss.
“Good” pain is good for you. Minor discomfort will lessen after regular activity. But stop gardening if you feel severe, sharp pain, especially a limp.
Get strong. Do leg lifts that strengthen your quadriceps (front thigh) muscle, which is the main protector of the knee.
Warm up, then stretch. Break a light sweat, then stretch to help maintain mobility and reduce joint stiffness.
Get cushioned. Wear a good supportive sneaker to take stress off of knees.
Chill out. Ice knees for 15 minutes after activity or exercise if you tend to develop soreness.
Eat for healthy joints. Lose any extra pounds to take stress off knees. Avoid sugary, processed food and those high in saturated fat to minimize inflammation.
For more tips about managing knee pain, visit www.instepwithsynvisc.com