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A User's Guide to Healthy Knees

Image of seniors running.

Healthy knees require continuous motion. However, our generally sedentary lifestyles are at odds with the maintenance of robust knee joint architecture. Left motionless throughout large portions of the day, over time knee cartilage will break down and knee ligaments will become lax. These chronic changes are frequently associated with other degenerative alterations in knee joint architecture often resulting in pain in one or both knees. Increasing discomfort may cause a person to become even more inactive, creating a feedback loop of lower levels of activity and higher levels of knee pain. Paradoxically, the solution to many of these knee problems is to begin a program of progressive and rehabilitative activity that incorporates repetitive knee motion.

Continuous passive motion is a primary modality used in rehabilitation of knee mechanics following total joint replacement. Importantly, similar rehabilitative concepts may be applied in the management of many painful knees. The primary principle followed by such rehabilitation is "use it, or lose it." Healthy knees require a continuous flow of synovial fluid throughout the joint structure. This lubricating substance provides oxygen and nutrition to the knee joint, aids in shock absorption, and reduces joint friction. Inactive knees have diminished flow of synovial fluid throughout the joint structure, ultimately resulting in deterioration of joint surfaces and painful arthritis. Thus, surprisingly, chronic knee pain results from insufficient physical activity.

As is the case with every physiological process, activity creates a demand for nutrients. Biomechanically, increased motion increases blood flow, which provides oxygen and nutritional building blocks that are required for bearing weight and movement. Increased circulation also facilitates removal of metabolic waste, the byproducts of physical work. The entire process increases the robustness of the local system. Specifically, in the case of knee joints, increased workloads improve the capacity of the knees to do work, creating a new, positive feedback loop. As your knee joints adapt to increased activity, the physiological momentum shifts, in a sense, from a trend toward painful arthritis to a trend toward improved function, greater tolerance for physical loads, and diminished pain.

Beginning a daily walking routine will launch this entire process of knee rehabilitation. Start gradually, at a slow, comfortable pace, and walk for 10 minutes. After a few days, your body will begin to adapt and you will be able to gradually increase the duration of your walks. Add a minute or two every few days until you're walking a total of 30 minutes. Then gradually increase your pace, over a period of 3 or 4 weeks, until you're able to walk briskly for 30 minutes. Doing a brisk 30-minute walk 5 times per week will provide you with a substantial baseline from which to begin to pursue additional forms of exercise. Overall, for most of us physical activity is the best method for returning to good health.

Regular chiropractic care will provide significant assistance in your return to peak levels of health and physical performance. By detecting and correcting sources of nerve irritation and spinal joint dysfunction, regular chiropractic care helps ensure that your body is functioning at maximum capacity and protects your ability to get the most out of your exercise activities. In this way, regular chiropractic care helps you and all the members of your family obtain and enjoy ongoing health and well-being.


Fransen M, et al: Exercise for osteoarthritis of the knee. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Jan 9;1:CD004376. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004376.pub3

Ferber R, et al: Strengthening of the hip and core versus knee muscles for the treatment of patellofemoral pain: a multicenter randomized controlled trial. J Athl Train 50(4):366-377, 2015

Gilbert AL, et al: A randomized trial of a motivational interviewing intervention to increase lifestyle physical activity and improve self-reported function in adults with arthritis. Semin Arthritis Rheum 2017 Oct 5 doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2017.10.003

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  • "Dr. Potts is amazing! He is patient and kind. He fixed my upper back pain in one session! He is one of the best!"
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  • "What a patient and kind man. I went in as a walk-in after attempting to do a summersault and really hurting my neck. He got me in quickly and was very nice and helpful. He works very quickly and I was shocked by how many people he could get through in the matter of a couple minutes while still giving everyone a personalized experience and answering everyone's questions with a caring and very professional demeanor. He is very respectful of other chiropractors you have gone too and very welcoming of a team approach to healing. He is very well educated...He fixed an injury I have suffered with for four years in seconds because of some post doctoral training he had taken that all the other chiropractors and doctors I had been to for it had no knowledge of. He is also very gentle and explains everything he is going to do before he does it. If you want a personalized experience from a very knowledgeable doctor with an impeccable bed side manner, this is the place for you!"
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  • "Dr. Potts is a great guy. I was totally comfortable with him and the way he treated me from the first time I visited him. Amazing how much better I feel after an occasional visit with him.

    He's not the first chiropractor that I've been to in Reno, but I do get the sense from him that he wouldn't 'over treat' you as some chiropractors try to do. So, I go back to him as needed."
    JR F.
  • "Went in for serious pain and extreme difficulty breathing he immediately could tell I had a rib that had popped out, he popped it right back in with no pain and I could finally breath again. His prices are affordable and he is very descriptive with what he is doing to fix the issue which I completely appreciate, I believe it I have walked out of plenty of doctors offices not realizing what they did to fix the problem. Thank you!"
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  • "I had one of those irritating, painful pinched nerves that just wasn't going away. Decided to go to a chiro for help. Got referred to Dr Potts by a friend and frankly, liked the 'deal' he offered for first time customers. Happy in my selection! Not only did he take care of making me feel better quickly...he was professional, highly courteous and no bs (you some chiro's tell you you need to come back 4 times a wk for months to fix your 'serious' problem? (My past experience anyway!) I did go back a couple of times to get back to 'normal' mobility...and will go back again next time I need a good back crack! Felt 100% comfortable w/Dr Potts skills and expertise!"
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