Every year, about 11 million Americans complain to doctors about knee pain. Roughly 21 million American people have osteoarthritis of the knee (a degenerative disease in which the cartilage gradually decays and fails to provide the shock absorbing padding that cushions the bones). Orthopedic surgeons performed more than 1.2 million such surgeries in 1996 alone.
Many older people suffer from this painful arthritic condition, however this knee pain is not only restricted to older people but healthy young people are also getting effected by it, for example dancers, athlete for various reason.
Reason for knee injuries/ pain
Lets see what are the reason that people get knee pain. Most common risk factor for knee pain are old age, obesity, knee injuries because of hyperextension , misalignment of knee, inappropriate way of doing exercise, tight muscles or because of combination of above factors etc.
Hyperextension at the knee joint occur when the joints are overly flexible. In this case legs extend too far and move past the point of being straight. Some people may be born with this condition however most people develop it by habitually locking their knee.
Knee injuries can also occur because the way we stand and walk. For example when we stand straight we need to be aware that whether our body weight is distributed properly on both feet or not. It is not very uncommon to observe that one side of heals of people shoes is wearing out more than the other side creating imbalance at the knee joint.
Imbalance at knee joint also occurs because of underdeveloped inner quadriceps and strong outer quadriceps. In this case tendency of strong quadriceps is to pull the kneecap towards the outside of legs I. e. result in imbalance.
Knee joints in our body can be healthy if the muscles that support them are healthy I. e. both strong and supple. Tight outer hips and hamstrings put undue pressure pressure on knee joints. Athletic activity cause these muscles to tighten up and along with the aging process condition become worse (unless proper stretching are done after each workout when body is warm).
Yoga provide effective solution
Yoga is excellent for increasing strength and flexibility in knees. More and more doctors are recommending yoga to their patients who are rehabilitating after a ligament injury.
The benefit with yoga is that it helps to strengthen both the inner and outer quadriceps, which help to keep the kneecap in alignment. It strengthens the quadriceps, the hamstrings, the calves and the ankles- all fairly consistently. Strength in these areas all help to support a weak knee.
Another benefit that yoga give for the knees is the increase in blood flow and nourishment that it sends to the surrounding joints and ligaments. As with most poses in yoga, the action of squeezing a body part, and then releasing it, sends lots of nutrient rich blood to the area that was affected in the posture. Many postures do this for the knees in yoga.
Yoga posture like staff pose(Dandasana), Half downward facing dog pose (Ardha Adho Mukha Svanasana), Seat of power pose (Utkatasana Pose), simple balancing pose, Half frog pose (Ardha Bhekasana) etc can be very helpful for rejuvenating knee joints.
Practiced with care, yoga posture can contribute to the long-term health of your knees by strengthening your quadriceps, opening your stiff hips, and teaching your body improved alignment and movement patterns that transfer into your everyday activities.
Note: It is important to practice yoga with caution. Initially Some yoga posture for example, padmasana and yoga style like Ashtanga yoga mysore can be avoided. Yoga posture that are done incorrectly can actually injure the knee.
Remember most important rule in practicing yoga posture is that any slightest pain is indication from you body that something is wrong and come out of it. If starting yoga practice, it is strongly recommended that you begin in presence of qualified yoga teacher and do listen to your doctor advise.
Issued in public interest by Subodh Gupta yoga expert based in London.
Mr Subodh Gupta, Corporate Yoga Trainer has conducted more than 500 workshops on Yoga and Stress Management. He has been interviewed by various TV channels in India and London.
For more information Indian Foundation of Scientific Yoga and Stress Management http://www.subodhgupta.com London (UK)