Patrick A. Meere, M.D.

Surprising facts about your hips and knees

When we’re running around, working, playing, and completing errand after errand in fast-paced New York, it can get so easy to take our knees and hips for granted. That is, until something happens, like a fracture or strain, and we can’t rely on them like we are used to doing. Hips and knees are fascinating and important components of our bodies, and we should certainly give them the respect that they deserve. Here are some interesting (and perhaps even surprising) facts about our knees and hips.

They are powerful

Hips and knees are what make humans mobile. According to anthropologist Craig Stanford, this definitely sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. “Of more than 250 species of primates, only one goes around on two legs,” Stanford explained in a recent interview with Reader’s Digest. And that’s in large part thanks to our knee and hip joints. Since they carry the weight of our body, they are incredibly strong and able to move in a variety of unique ways, too. It’s hard to argue, then, that this access to movement has not aided in our development as a society.

But they need protection

Despite their durability, you shouldn’t take your knees and hips for granted if you want them to last as long as you do. Preventative care is essential to their longevity, but, thankfully, it is relatively simple to make that happen. For example, just switching up your workouts to include cross training and easier repetitive motions can make a big impact on the strain placed (or rather not placed) on your joints. Issues like arthritis and inflammation are incredibly common in our hips and knees as we get older, but they are also incredibly distracting and can cause chronic pain and reduced mobility. Nothing is 100 percent preventable, but you can aim to combat these aging processes through proper nutrition, exercise, and stretches, and an understanding of your family history and connected risks for developing them.

Joint replacements have significantly evolved over the years

Sometimes, in order to feel like your best self, a knee or hip replacement might be in order. You’ll be thankful to know that this doesn’t have to put an end to your activity, though. Surgeries that used to take months of recovery can now have you moving in as little as weeks. Don’t be surprised if you are even up and walking the same day or just a few days following a modern joint procedure. Technology has advanced to make the surgeries as minimally invasive and precise as possible, meaning you’ll also have less pain and scarring compared to the surgical methods that were used only a few years ago.

Hip and knees are so important in the average person’s day-to-day life. Their unique properties, including structure and abilities, make them fascinating to work with, and I have devoted my career to doing just that. If you are having trouble with knees or hips, or if you want to prevent trouble down the line, I would be happy to talk with you about your options for care.