Alternatives to Knee Replacement

Scalpel is Last Resort

Noticing that my legs slightly bow back­wards while standing, a mature gentle­man warned me as a teen to bend them slightly—not letting them lock all the way back to avoid knee problems later. His passionate plea stemmed from personal experience. I greatly appreciate that advice. We may not realize how useful knees are until they become painful to use.

When working properly, we feel no pain. A knee is more than a simple hinge. Knees can bend and twist with much support from the quadri­ceps (front thigh muscles). Cartilage, tendons, muscles, and synovial fluid balance and support an order of magni­tude more than our body weight. Climbing stairs increases patello­femoral force to 3.5 times body weight; jumping multiplies such force 10 times body weight. So depending upon the level of exertion, a 200-pound person exerts between 700 and 2000 pounds of force on his knees.

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