The knee – figuratively speaking, we associate it with what can be considered the most important or, at least, consuming aspects of our lives: hard work, prayer, atonement and marriage. Each one, thanks to tradition, history, adages, imagery and stories, begins, in someway, on our knees. The knee’s emblematic dominance seems fitting, since in reality, we rely heavily on it. It enables us to move, take steps, bend and climb. It lifts us and lowers us. It is our support system, but sometimes, that support system buckles, literally.
Knee buckling is the sudden loss of bearing across the knee during an activity such as stair-climbing. Often, it results in a fall that could easily send the sufferer tumbling down a flight of steps. It has traditionally been associated with knee arthritis – those who have the latter experience the former – but a recent study found that more than half the people who experience knee buckling have no signs of arthritis. They do, however, tend to have knee pain, and they tend to buckle more than once. This can be extremely detrimental, not only because of the increased likelihood of a fall (and subsequent fracture) but because once a person is aware of knee-vulnerability, they limit their activity. They stop doing what they used to for fear of a buckle, becoming more and more sedentary. This is not the answer.
The best way to prevent a knee buckle is to strengthen your knee. Exercising your quadriceps is a great way to start. However, don’t rule out other methods. Research has found that heart-healthy workouts, such as walking, will protect your knee as well. And since you’re already in your gym clothes, do a few balance exercises. That way, if you start to fall, you’ll be more likely to catch yourself and remain steady.
The knee is one of the most important parts of your body. It supports you; you should support it.