Everyone should strengthen their ankles!

Everyone should strengthen their ankles!

Injuries of the ankle are common among athletes and amateurs in many different sports and exercises. Working out at the gym, enjoying summer jogs, or playing any type of sport are typical ways to injure your ankle. Unfortunately, spraining, rolling, or fracturing your ankle is easy to do and will often occur again without the proper rehabilitation and strengthening of your ankle joint. Strengthening your ankles is also a great way to do thing outside of sports – such as wear high heeled shoes without wobbling!

There are many exercises and stretches you can do to strengthen your ankles, which can help to prevent future injury or help to recover from a previous ankle injury.

Balance Training

Working on your balance strengthens your ankles, as they are the joints that hold your weight steady on your feet. Try holding your weight on one foot, grabbing your opposite ankle behind your back. Work toward increasing the amount of time you balance on each foot. Eventually, work up to catching and throwing a ball while standing on one foot, or doing one-legged squats.

Band Exercises

You can purchase the resistance bands you would find at your physical therapy gym for very little cost. Wrap them around the top of one foot and curl your toes to stretch your foot and ankle. Make sure to match the number of repetitions on the other foot. These bands can be used to stretch the foot and ankle is a variety of ways and directions – consult your physical therapist for proper form and technique.

Jumps and Skips

Another way to strengthen your ankles is to do exercises that require jumping or skipping. These work the muscles in your foot and your ankle. They get your ankles used to landing and absorbing that impact, as well as aiding your balance.

You can do jumping squats, scissors kicks, or do skips or bounds if you are exercising in a large area.

This Weight-Loss Strategy May Not Help Your Knees

This Weight-Loss Strategy May Not Help Your Knees

Weight loss from dieting can slow the progression of knee arthritis in overweight people, according to a new study.

But losing pounds from exercise alone will not help preserve those aging knees, the researchers found.

Obesity is a major risk factor for painful knee osteoarthritis — degeneration of cartilage caused by wear and tear. Weight loss can slow the disease, but it wasn’t clear until now if the method of weight loss made a difference.

Apparently, it does.

“These results add to the hypothesis that solely exercise as a regimen in order to lose weight in overweight and obese adults may not be as beneficial to the knee joint as weight loss regimens involving diet,” said lead author Dr. Alexandra Gersing.

Gersing made her comments in a news release from the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). She’s with the University of California, San Francisco’s department of radiology and biomedical imaging.

The study included 760 overweight or obese adults who had mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis or were at risk for it. The participants were divided into a “control group” of patients who lost no weight, and a group who lost weight through either a combination of diet and exercise, diet alone, or exercise alone.

After eight years, cartilage degeneration was much lower in the weight-loss group than in the control group. However, that was true only of people who lost weight through diet and exercise, or diet alone, the investigators found.

Study participants who exercised without changing their diet lost as much weight as those who slimmed down through diet plus exercise or diet alone, but there was no significant difference in cartilage degeneration compared to the control group.

The study was scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the annual meeting of the RSNA, in Chicago. Research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more on knee arthritis.

SOURCE: Radiological Society of North America, news release, Nov. 28, 2017

Even a Little Exercise Can Help With Arthritis, Study Says

Even a Little Exercise Can Help With Arthritis, Study Says

Just a little physical activity seems to go a long way toward helping older adults with arthritis remain able to do daily tasks, a new study finds.

Older adults with arthritis-related joint pain and stiffness need to keep moving to remain functionally independent. But only 10 percent of older Americans with arthritis in their knees meet federal guidelines of at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, the researchers said.

However, this Northwestern University study found that doing even about one-third of that amount is still beneficial.

The study involved more than 1,600 adults 49 or older who had arthritic pain or stiffness in their hips, knees or feet.

Those who did a minimum of 45 minutes of moderate activity — such as brisk walking — a week were 80 percent more likely to improve or sustain physical function and gait speed over two years, compared with those who did less activity, the researchers found.

“Even a little activity is better than none,” said study first author Dorothy Dunlop.

“For those older people suffering from arthritis who are minimally active, a 45-minute minimum might feel more realistic,” said Dunlop, a professor of rheumatology and preventive medicine at Northwestern’s School of Medicine in Chicago.

She said the federal guidelines are important because the more you do, the better you’ll feel and the greater the health benefits.

“But even achieving this less rigorous goal will promote the ability to function and may be a feasible starting point for older adults dealing with discomfort in their joints,” Dunlop said in a university news release.

The study was published online recently in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s Knee

What is runner’s knee?

Runner’s knee means that you have dull pain around the front of the knee (patella). This is where the knee connects with the lower end of the thighbone (femur).

What causes runner’s knee?

Runner’s knee may be caused by a structural defect, or a certain way of walking or running. Other causes may include:

  • A kneecap that is too high in the knee joint
  • Weak thigh muscles
  • Tight hamstrings
  • Tight Achilles tendons
  • Poor foot support
  • Walking or running with the feet rolling in while the thigh muscles pull the kneecap outward
  • Excessive training or overuse
  • Injury

What are the symptoms of runner’s knee?

These are the most common symptoms of runner’s knee:

  • Pain in and around the kneecap that happens when you are active. Or pain after sitting for a long time with the knees bent. This sometimes causes weakness or feelings of instability.
  • Rubbing, grinding, or clicking sound of the kneecap that you hear when you bend and straighten your knee
  • Kneecap that is tender to the touch

The symptoms of runner’s knee may look like other conditions and health problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is runner’s knee diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider can diagnose runner’s knee by looking at your health history and doing a physical exam. X-rays may be needed for evaluation of the knee.

How is runner’s knee treated?

Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment based on:

  • How old you are
  • Your overall health and health history
  • How much pain you have
  • How well you can handle specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
  • How long the condition is expected to last
  • Your opinion or preference

The best course of treatment for runner’s knee is to stop running until you can run again without pain. Other treatment may include:

  • Cold packs
  • Elevating the leg
  • Compression knee wrap
  • Medicines such as ibuprofen
  • Stretching exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Arch support in shoes

Can runner’s knee be prevented?

Preventing runner’s knee includes not overstressing your knees. You can do this by:

  • Losing weight if needed
  • Stretching before running
  • Increasing your activities gradually
  • Wearing good running shoes
  • Running leaning forward with your knees bent

Key points about runner’s knee

  • Runner’s knee is dull pain around the front of the knee.
  • It may be caused by a structural defect, or a certain way of walking or running.
  • Symptoms include pain, and rubbing, grinding, or clicking sound of the kneecap.
  • Treatment includes not running until pain goes away. Also using cold packs, compression, and elevation may help. Medicine such as ibuprofen can lessen pain and reduce inflammation. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help prevent runner’s knee.

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:

  • Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
  • Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
  • Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
  • Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
  • If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.