You Need Exercise to Protect Your Knees and Hips

Your knees and hips are your largest joints. They support your body’s weight and must work in close coordination to provide the mobility most people take for granted, until injury, arthritis, or other problems interfere.

Joint replacement surgery is a popular treatment option for those with severe, debilitating arthritis that causes significant pain or greatly limits their ability to move.


As we age we become more sensitive to and aware of the functioning of our knees and hips. The word age here is context sensitive. If you are above 35 it applies to you.

Exercise is more than just a good health habit; it’s also a specific and effective treatment for many knee and hip problems. Strength in the muscles around a damaged knee or hip can help support that joint by taking over some of its responsibilities. For example, your hips have to do less work to support your body weight if your quadriceps, gluteals, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles are stronger. A strong quadriceps can take over the shock-absorbing role usually played by the meniscus or cartilage in the knee.

Harvard Healthbeat said that the proper balance of strength in the muscles can hold the joint in the most functional and least painful position. With any knee or hip problem, the first muscles to lose strength are the largest antigravity muscles, the quadriceps and gluteals, so an exercise plan for any injury is likely to focus on these.

WebMD said, “Using data from joint replacement cases in the U.S. from 1997 and 2004, researcher Sunny Kim, PhD, with the Robert Stempel School of Public Health at Florida International University, analyzed the increase in the number of surgeries and their cost.

Her research shows: 
• Hip replacements increased 37% and knee replacements increased 53% in 2004 compared with 2000.
• Hip and knee replacement increased significantly among those aged 45-64.
• Medicare paid for most procedures.
• Private insurance payments had steeper increases

Attending a joint-replacement conference in Florida recently, Dr. Tom Mulvey was struck by one particular statistic. “There are now more than 1 million hip and knee replacements per year in the United States,” said Mulvey, a hip and knee reconstructive surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedic Center in Peoria. “Unbelievable.”

In all likelihood, the numbers will only continue to climb, as reported in

Depending on the cause of your pain, the solution might be a set of exercises, pain relief medication, minor surgery, or some combination of these. But for many people, knee and hip problems become so intractable that the best solution is to replace a worn-out knee or hip with a mechanical joint.

Harvard Medical School has put out a Special Health Report that will walk you through the most common knee and hip ailments, discuss the symptoms you’re likely to experience with each, and describe how your doctor might diagnose your condition. Inside Knees and Hips: A troubleshooting guide to knee and hip pain, you’ll discover:
• Why joints hurt
• How to deal with overuse injuries
• Solutions to common problems
• Exercises for pain relief and prevention
• Indications for surgery
• Knee and hip replacement options

Once again, exercise comes to the rescue! I hope these repeated examples of the benefits of exercise are prompting more readers to integrate an exercise plan into their lives. I don’t think you can afford to ignore it.




1 Comment

Filed under aging, Exercise, knees and hips, life challenges, walking

One response to “You Need Exercise to Protect Your Knees and Hips

  1. Pingback: What about Knee and Hip Pain? | Bad knees

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