Flexibility Strategy

Your Flexibility Strategy

By: Karl Zarse, MD

Working on your flexibility is the most common area that my patients do not engage in. I think it stems from the perception that flexibility is about keeping our muscles loose, and if you don’t notice it in your activities, then why do it?

The biggest reason is that as we age, our joint capsules remodel over time with our joints. Meaning the capsule itself that holds it in place becomes tighter and narrower over time, leading to joint space narrowing, damage to the joint surface, and arthritis over time.  When people get a total knee replacement the surgeon has surgically elongate the ligaments on occasions in order to get the knee straight and the implant in. The capsule has remodeled into a shorter structure on that side. 

It is an absolute must that you work on your flexibility everyday in order to keep your joint capsules limber, and open enough to have the synovial fluid lubricate and nourish the joints. Joints stay healthy by moving, and having a restricted joint literally limits the health of the joint. 

I had the cartilage removed from my knee at 21 years old. Statistically I should have a total knee replacement by now. But I have been militant about stretching that knee everyday, often twice a day, and kept that joint capsule loose as possible. It cracks and pops, looks deformed, but it doesn’t hurt as long as I don’t pound on it. I can bike, ski, golf, snow board, etc, just no high impact running or jumping. I’ll talk later about why that is so important. 

Follow the guidelines in this website to find out more tips on how to stay flexible an age fit.


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