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A DRIVING TIP FOR ACHING KNEES

Have you ever noticed a dull ache in your knees while driving in stop-and-go traffic? It's always right in the front, and seems to gnaw at you, just under your kneecaps. This is especially common in people who have long legs, because they're driving with their knees deeply bent and nearly touching the dashboard.

What I'm describing is a condition called chondromalacia patellae, a degenerative softening of the protective coating of cartilage under the kneecap that can occur from injury, age, or misalignment of the kneecap (from anatomical variations or muscle imbalance around the knee). It is also the most common cause of pain when climbing or descending stairs, kneeling, squatting, running, or jumping.

One simple way to get some relief while driving is to change your car seat to the "European sports car position." Slide your seat way back, until your legs are as straight as you can make them while still being able to reach the pedals. Pivot on your heel, between the accelerator and the brake, and bend your ankle, rather than your knee, to operate the car. Your arms will be straight out from the shoulder as you grasp the wheel. Once you get used to it, it's pretty comfortable.

In this extended position, with your knees straight, the kneecaps "float" above the rest of the joint, without any pressure, thereby relieving your pain. Try it. You'll feel the difference immediately.




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