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Knee exercises to gain strength, ease pain

September 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Often overlooked and taken for granted, our knees are needed for overall mobility. But once they start aching you're not likely to forget them. One experts' answer is "KneeHab."

"Your knee is this hyper mobile joint in between two really important structures - your hip and your ankle," said fitness expert Jill Miller. "Everybody needs to take care of what's uptown of the knee and what's downtown of the knee.

"If we're compensating overtime, that compensation adds up and that leaves us more vulnerable to injury on both sides for different reasons," she added.

The L.A. instructor created KneeHab as a way to prevent or delay physical therapy, even surgery. Many of the exercises, such as knee cap lifts, can be done in a chair.

"You can do this on the plane, at work, at the movies, in the morning first thing before you take your walk," said Miller.

She uses soft yoga tune up balls to roll away and break up tension in myofascia, or connective tissue that tends to tense up when stagnant or overworked.

There is KneeHab for rehabilitation and KneeHow for those without pain wanting to keep it that way. They reinforce the need to strengthen glutes, inner and outer thighs and ankles to stay balanced.

Of course, if your knees hurt, leaning on them is painful. So one company created knee doughnuts to protect your very vulnerable patella, along with wrist wedges because many of the exercises today are done in a prone position.

"You need a little layer of insulation between your fragile knee joint and the floor. So those pads help to prevent you from smacking skin and bruising bone," said Miller.

Towels and soft mats can help but the patella is a floating bone so it appreciates protection and the preventative measures.

Miller also has a KneeHab DVD that sells for about $20 to help you prevent pain and improve posture and performance in the comfort of your own home.

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