Exercise is more than one smart health habit for hip and knee problems; it is often used as an effective
treatment. For example, strengthening the muscles around a damaged hip or knee can help support that joint by taking over some of its responsibilities. The hips are a good example and will do less work when supporting the weight of the body if the gluteals, quadriceps, abdominal muscles and hamstrings are stronger.
The proper balance of strength in the muscles is important and keeps the joints in the least painful yet most functional positions. Muscles work in pairs, meaning one relaxes while the opposing muscle contracts. Imbalances in between paired muscles is an invitation to injuries and joint problems. When the quadriceps are tight, the hamstrings can’t fully stretch and may weaken; therefore, exercise the quadriceps and hamstrings equally.
Balancing while strengthening muscles surrounding the knee takes pressure off the joint and decreases the amount of total weight absorbed by the cartilage, ligaments, and meniscus of the joint. Maintaining both stability and strength is important because the knee only moves in a single direction and is called a hinge joint.
The hip joint is a ball and socket joint that works at its best when it has full mobility in addition to strength.
The hip is a much more complicated joint and needs to be exercised in a variety of directions, including rotation, in order to increase overall stability. If the muscles that support the hip joint are strong and allow appropriate mobility, the amount of pressure and wear and tear on the hip joint, as well as the knee joint, decreases.
Source: Dr. Nakul Karkare is an orthopedic surgeon highly specialized in limb reconstruction and joint replacement surgery. Contact him at 212-951-0182 or find out more about him at NewYorkHipKnee.com.