Orthopedic Conditions

Delay Ageing of Your Knees with These Expert Tips by Apollo’s Orthopaedician

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By Dr Manabendra Nath Basu Mallick, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Apollo Multispecialty Hospitals, Kolkata- 19 April 2023, Updated on - 19 June 2023

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Just like greying of hair, weakening eyesight, and slowing of reflexes, tender knees are also a part of our natural ageing process. Medically called knee arthritis, swelling and pain in the knees is a distressing yet inevitable orthopaedic issue. However, it is different from other forms of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory arthritis as they cause joint degeneration, and affect other joints as well in conjunction with the knee.

Why Do The Knee Age Faster Than Other Joints?

Knees have a flat joint (in contrast to the ‘ball and socket’ design of the hip), allowing it to twist and turn easily. However, this design exposes the knees to a lot of ground over time. To reduce the grind on a flat joint, nature has installed special sponges in the knee called meniscus. You’ll be amazed to know that the meniscus is unique to the knee and not present in other joints of the body. Nature has also installed special tie ropes in the knee called ligaments which reduces the grind.

Unfortunately, the ligaments and meniscus have poor blood flow and hence poor healing potential. Their health and strength come from activity. Hence, the more we use the knee through activities like walking, running, jogging, climbing, and cycling, the stronger these meniscus and ligaments become. Furthermore, the earlier we start these activities, the better the quality of knee meniscus and ligaments, and the longer the life of healthy knees.

Why Is Knee Arthritis Prevalent In Modern Urban Populations?

As we grow from childhood to adulthood, the amount of time we spend being physically active reduces significantly, leading to obesity. This causes the soft knee sponge to wear away, resulting in arthritis. The proof of this lies in the fact that knee arthritis is less common in hilly areas, where daily life involves plenty of climbing up and down slopes, and few cars and bikes ply. Similarly, knee arthritis is also uncommon in rural areas where daily life involves plenty of walking, cycling, and everyday activities.

Can We Delay Knee Ageing?

It’s possible to delay the ageing of your knees, and your body in general, if you understand what makes it healthy. Well, the answer is simple, “EXERCISE”. Exercise helps in several ways such as:

  • Makes your knee cartilage, ligaments and meniscus strong, thus preventing wear.
  • Makes your bones stronger, so they support the meniscus well.
  • Makes your muscles better, so they support the knee well.
  • Reduces your body weight, so the knees undergo less grind.
  • Releases endorphins that reduce pain. 

What Exercise Is Best For Knee Pain?

One should choose something that is comfortable yet effective. Start with walking, brisk walking, cycling (pedo-cycle if you don’t know how to cycle) followed by low-impact sports like badminton, swimming, and Zumba dancing. You will start to notice the difference it makes to your body, mind and knees in a matter of weeks.

If you have more questions,

Consult Dr Manabendra Nath Basu Mallick


Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.


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