The knees are one of many unsung heroes of our body; we rely on them every time we move our legs. Naturally, this means keeping our knees healthy is of utmost importance.
Unfortunately, it also means our knees are constantly at risk due to the literal weight they bear. These range from the dreaded torn ACL—a threat to any athlete whose sport requires sudden changes in direction—to inflammation of the bursae or tendons (a danger to cyclists, runners, and any athlete who jump frequently). With such a complicated but necessary body part, how do we keep it in working order?
Stretching is one of the tried-and-true ways to prevent injury, and is just as important to the knees as anywhere else. With increased flexibility, the knee is less liable to injury. The knee relies on several muscle groups to avoid injury: stretch out your glutes, hips, and thighs, as well as your quadriceps and hamstrings. Remember to stretch both before and after a workout!
Flexibility is part of the equation; strength is another. All the above-mentioned muscle groups should be strong as well as flexible, so that they can help absorb shock on the knee’s behalf. When improving strength, remember to focus on control—procedures for improving strength and advice for building muscle are different plans entirely.
Your knee, like all of your body, should have free range of motion when you are exercising, so stay away from skinny jeans and the like. Your shoes are important too. Even if you cannot afford shock-distributing shoes, at least make sure your shoes fit properly, so that you avoid twists, turns, and tumbles.
There are many health risks to being overweight, and here is yet another: it increases your risk of knee injury. The stress put on the knees while running, jumping, turning, climbing, and pretty much any other locomotion is compounded by extra weight. The less you weigh, the less extra strength your knees have to deal with.
If you are at risk for knee injury, aim for low-impact machines to work out, such as ellipticals. Choose sports such as swimming where less stress is placed on your knees.
If you’re still worried about knee injuries, schedule an appointment with us. We’ll look at your form, your exercises, your stretching, and more to make sure all your joints are at minimal risk to injury. Click on the “Locations/Contact” tab and set up a time for us to improve your safety and your performance.