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Knee pain? Exercise it away

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Whether your goal this winter is to swoosh down the slopes, maneuver icy sidewalks, or get up from a chair without pain, healthy knees are important to you.

If you’ve got knee pain of any kind you will naturally compromise your gait to avoid it. That can cause a domino of other aches and pains elsewhere eventually.

In fact, your knee pain may not even be your knee pain. It may be from a weakness or lack of mobility in the hip or the ankle. Did you catch that? If you have joint pain often it’s the joint above or below where you feel that pain that is the culprit. So let’s start this new year by fixing or preventing a common weakness in those of us who sit too much during our workday and potentially extend that sitting into our time off.

The single leg squat, or even balance for you who are unable to move due to a lack of cartilage in the knee, can be a big vitamin for your lower body. That is, it can help prevent injury by enhancing alignment much like your daily vitamin helps prevent illness by keeping you nutrient sufficient.

To perform the single leg squat with proper technique, use the following tips:

  1. Stand with your weight shifted back to your heel
  2. Lift one leg up
  3. Slowly lower 2-3 inches with an emphasis on taking your hips back
  4. Allow the knee to go forward over the toes but not beyond
  5. Looking down knee to toe ideally you’ll be able to see the toes at all points of motion
  6. All motion should be pain-free. If you’re unable to move without pain simple try a balance in a slightly bent knee position for 15 – 30 seconds
  7. Perform 15-20 repetitions per side
  8. Add a second and third set after a week or two at each new progression
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