How to avoid knee pain

No more knee pain

The number-one secret for happy knees? Stay at a healthy weight. Every extra pound you pack on puts about 4 extra pounds of pressure on your knees when you walk or take the stairs.

"Women often come in complaining of knee pain, and it turns out it started after they put on just 5 or 10 pounds," said Dr. Sara Edwards, an orthopedic surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Once you shed that excess weight, though, symptoms improve—and sometimes even disappear.

Read on for more great knee-saving tips.

Don't bound up and down stairs

Unless you're in great shape, his puts serious stress on your kneecaps: "If you weigh 150 pounds, that can mean as much as 600 pounds going through your knees," said Robert Gotlin, DO, director of orthopedic and sports rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Walk, and hold onto the railing for added support.


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Don't stroll on the grass

If you have osteoarthritis or have ever had a knee injury, choose sidewalks or worn paths instead of grass or cobblestone, which put more strain on your knees and up your risk of tripping.

Don't overdo squats and lunges

Don't bend your leg beyond a 90-degree angle; make sure your knee stays directly over your foot.

Work your inner thighs

Strong hip adductor muscles (a.k.a. inner thigh muscles) are crucial for absorbing stress while you walk, so you're not straining your knee. A simple way to start: Try squeezing your knees together whenever you're sitting.

Don't set the bike seat too low in spin class

Make sure you're sitting high enough that your knee straightens out when the pedal is at its lowest point.