Achy, Breaky Knees

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Don't neglect sore knees: More than two-thirds of the nearly half a million Americans who have knee-replacement surgery every year are women -- a number expected to jump 673 percent in the next 25 years as boomers age.

Wider pelvises make women's knees less stable. Even young female athletes are likelier than men to injure their anterior cruciate ligaments, which stabilize the knee joints, says Jo A. Hannafin, MD, director of orthopedic research at New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery.

What's more, more than two-thirds of people with osteoarthritis are female. For knee pain from arthritis, three physical therapy techniques may help: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation offered relief for two to four weeks, electroacupuncture for eight, and low-level laser therapy for up to eight. These can be used alone or with prescription or OTC medication. Also: Ask about exercises for the muscles that support knees, says Dr. Hannafin.

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, November 2007.


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