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      Taking the pressure off your knees

      We can all push the limits when it comes to our health and fitness. This is especially true for athletes and knee injuries.

      Is it any wonder that at some point our knees may just wear out? There are a few things you can do in order to keep them in the best possible working condition. We spoke with a sports medicine doctor to find out how. Dr. Gina Pontius is a sports medicine fellow through the SIU Quincy Family Medicine Residency Program, now practicing at the Blessing Health Center.

      "I would start first with wearing the appropriate footwear for your particular sport," said Pontius.

      Beware of spiked heels. Wearing spikes causes alignment problems, putting strain on the knees and back.

      "If you have a flat foot, meaning your arch kind of drops, it would be good to wear more supportive shoes. You shouldn't be wearing sandals, but more of a regular tennis shoe," said Pontius.

      Most types of pressure on your knee can lead to osteoarthritis.

      "If you're overweight, long term that can cause problems with arthritis, so we recommend that people try to drop some pounds to prevent the progression of arthritis," said Pontius.

      Every extra pound you carry can add up to three pounds of pressure to your knee joints when you walk, and even more when you run.

      "Exercise can help as well, not only to lose weight but just to provide fitness level to protect against arthritis and varying types of exercises you do. Not just walking but trying some cross training like swimming or riding a bike," said Pontius.

      But don't forget your initial warmup. That should take about 5-10 minutes.Your posture and the way you stand is also a variable.

      "Especially with running type activities which you do a lot in sports, some people tend to do this and some people tend to do that, and that can affect the compartments of the knee," said Pontius.

      Pontius says whether you're an athlete or not, these are all good tips to take the pressure off your knees.