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George Demirakos is the author of Fix My Knee, a guide for preventing and healing injuries to the knees.
There are two types of injuries that can cause pain in the knees. George identifies these two types as traumatic and non-traumatic. Traumatic injuries are those that occur from a hit or fall, which can include sprains, or pulled ligaments, or strains, which are pulled muscles and/or tendons. Tendonitis, an irritation of the tendon, can also occur.
For those who like to run, George recommends warming up properly by jogging in place for 5 to 10 minutes. It is also important to stretch out the muscles by holding for about one minute each time. Some people prefer to run barefoot, which can be beneficial for knee health since more foot muscles are being used and strengthened as a result.
For those who like to lift weights, George explains the importance of using good form during lunges, deadlifts, squats, and hack squats to preserve knee health. The number one mistake made during squats is letting the knees fall in, which changes the body’s alignment, puts stress on the knees, and can cause injury. Having too little of an arch in the lower back and lowering to 90 degrees or less are two other common mistakes. With deadlifts, use one overhand and one underhand grip, which will help improve grip strength. With lunges, make sure your knee does not go past the front of your foot. In any exercise, it’s important to first get the proper form and then add more weight over time.
In regards to food and promoting knee health, fatty fish such as salmon and tuna are great options. Pineapples and papayas have enzymes that help with healing an injured tendon. Green leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin D, which can reduce inflammation. Conversely, sugar is not recommended, as it can promote inflammation in the knee. Olive oil is preferred over other oils such as sunflower oil. Smoking and alcohol should also be avoided.