Cartilage, bone, fluid, tendons and ligaments—your knees take you from crawling across a nursery to racing at full sprint. They’re meant to run and dance. Even bad ones can at least predict the weather. Take a few moments to reacquaint yourself with two of your biggest supporters.
Making up the largest joint in the human body, the knee is a set of cartilage-covered connective tissue and bones. It allows not only standing and walking, but also serves as a key point for cushioning impact. Ligaments join the femur with the tibia and protective patella, or kneecap, and encircle the “joint capsule” containing lubricating synovial fluid. Meanwhile, the quadriceps, hamstring, and patellar tendons affix some of the body’s strongest skeletal muscles to the knee, enabling complicated motions like jogging or jumping.
Maintaining the health and quality of knees can be as complex as the joints themselves. With every step, overweight individuals can place hundreds of additional pounds of force on their knees. However, exercise or stress from manual labor can also wear out vital cartilage. Even worse, plenty of sports and normal physical activities can result in injuries when accidental twisting tears ligaments or cartilage.
Fortunately, when knees demand even more support, glucosamine and chondroitin have both been shown in clinical studies to improve joint function. Glucosamine, an amino sugar made of chains of protein and carbohydrate, helps promote joint flexibility. Sought after on its own, Glucosamine is also frequently partnered with Chondroitin in supplements as it supports healthy joints and bones.
Fortunately, healthy lifestyles including exercise, stretching and rest in balanced amounts contribute immensely to joint health. Planning and sticking to a healthy diet not only decreases stress from unwanted body weight, it helps ensure you get the nutrients your joints need. But if you’re missing a stride—or pausing mid-morning bike ride to second-guess how strong your knees are—there’s no better time to consider glucosamine and chondroitin. Talk to a professional. Ask what you can do for your joints.