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How to prevent knee problems

A runner on a track moving away, shown from the thighs down

You count on your knees for a lot. A bit of extra attention can help keep them in top shape.

Knee problems are one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor.

Some of these problems result from wear and tear. Others result from injury during sports and other activities.

Follow this advice to keep your knees safe:

  • Warm up before exercise or sports by walking or riding an exercise bike. Do stretches that work the fronts (quadriceps) and backs (hamstrings) of the thighs. These stretches reduce tension on tendons in the knees and relieve pressure on the knees during activity.
  • Exercise leg muscles by walking stairs or hills or by riding an exercise bike. If you're a member of a health club, ask a fitness trainer for advice on weightlifting routines that strengthen the knees and legs.
  • Don't overdo it when exercising. Build up intensity and duration gradually as your body becomes stronger.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly and provide support and balance when walking or running. If you have feet that are flat or overpronated (roll inward), shoe inserts can help provide support. Ask your doctor for advice.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases wear and tear on the knees.

Reviewed 3/20/2024

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