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Dr. Stone's Tips on Knee Health

April 2010

The knee is an amazing and complex joint. It's one of the major weight bearing joints so it's very important to keep healthy and strong. This article, from Kevin Stone, M.D., the founder of Joint Juice, should help you understand how your knees work and how to keep them healthy.

The knee is made up of four bones: the femur (thigh bone), the tibia and fibula (shin bones), and the patella (knee cap). It's held together by four ligaments that stabilize and allow it to bend and flex. Knee ligaments are flexible enough to allow the knee to bend, extend, and rotate; and when healthy are the major sources of knee stability.

Special cartilage, called articular cartilage, covers the ends of knee bones. When articular cartilage is healthy it allows for smooth movement of the knee, with less friction than even ice on ice. It's truly remarkable stuff. Two additional pieces of cartilage, called the meniscus cartilage, serve as major shock absorbers.

Three tips on how to keep your knees healthy:

  • Keep Active. It's important to keep the muscles in the legs strong to help protect your knees. Exercises that promote balanced strength between the thigh and hamstring muscles are especially important.

  • Watch your weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is critical to knee health, as excess weight increases the stress and strain across the knee during all activities.

  • Take Supplements. Proper nutrition, including supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, gives your body the building blocks it needs to maintain healthy knees.*

For more on the knees and other joints check out the Healthy Joints section at Remember to talk with your doctor about how you can maintain your ideal weight, before starting a new exercise program, and which supplements are right for you.

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