Are you looking for safe and effective ways how to prevent knee injuries from your sports and everyday activities? Well, you’re in luck because we have exactly the information you need!
You will find that knee injuries and its corresponding pain can be prevented with these methods. Even when you have already injured your knee, you can speed up your recovery and reduce your risk for recurrence. You don’t have to suffer from reduced quality of life due to decreased mobility – truly, good news for active people.
Preventing Knee Injuries is Important
The importance of prevention of knee injuries cannot be overemphasized for many reasons. The knee is the most complicated and largest joint in your body formed by three interdependent parts – the knee cap, the femur, and the tibial plateau. As the joint connecting the upper and lower leg, its main function is to enable rotation and hinge movements in the limbs.
The result: You can rotate your foot and lower leg toward your upper leg, as well as bend your lower leg backward due to the knees’ unique design. Furthermore, your knees must not only be fairly flexible for everyday activities like walking, bending, and jumping. Your knees should also provide a strong and stable platform while you’re standing up.
Suffice it to say that when one or both of your knees are injured or ill, your mobility will be adversely affected. You may be unable to walk, for example, in a proper upright posture with an inflamed knee. Just imagine the negative impact on your sports activities when your knee muscles are weak!
Read on for more information about how to avoid knee problems now that you know the importance of knee health!
How to Prevent Knee Injuries in Sports
Athletes have an increased risk for knee injuries because of the higher amount of stress their knees are exposed to due to practice, training and competitive games. This is especially true for athletes who engage in activities that puts pressure on the lower limbs, such as running, jumping, and lifting.
But don’t let the increased risk put you off sports! Here are the best ways to prevent knee sports-related injuries.
- Strengthen your muscles in the legs and hips.
Be sure to perform exercises that will strengthen the muscles in your thighs, legs and hips particularly your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. These muscles are essential in supporting and stabilizing your knees so that these can withstand repetitive movements, especially jumping, and sudden changes in direction. The recommended exercises include barbell and dumbbell squats, diagonal and lateral lunges, and single-leg balance movements; ask your personal trainer about them.
- Always do your dynamic warm-up exercises.
Spending 5-10 minutes on dynamic warm-up exercises before your practice and games is a must for knee protection, partly because these stretch your muscles. These exercises include diagonal, Frankenstein walks, and reverse and lateral lunges.
- Do your static stretches on a daily basis.
Among the recommended ways how to prevent knee injuries in football is performing static stretches for the lower body. When the hamstrings, quadriceps, and gluteal and calf muscles feel tight, the knees become limited in their range of motion. The knees are also exposed to higher stress than what they are designed for.
This results in higher risk for knee injuries when punting, kicking, and jumping, which are common actions in football. But with static stretches, such as standing quadriceps stretch, seated butterfly stretch, and hip stretch, done on a daily basis, these injuries can be avoided.
- Wear the right athletic shoes.
Yet another way how to prevent knee injuries in basketball, football, and soccer, among other sports, is to wear the shoes designed specifically for your sport in general and for the surface you will be playing on in particular. For example, football players wear different shoes for natural grass and artificial turf playing surfaces. But for all types of sports shoes, the best ones have sufficient heel and arch support.
- Avoid overtraining.
Rest your body instead of pushing it too far, too fast with excessive training. Instead, rest your knees by temporarily replacing kicking, running and jumping with other non-weight-bearing activities like swimming and riding on a stationary bike. Your knees will still be in training yet aren’t exposed to excessive stress, known as active-recovery.
- Wear protective gear.
Since physical exertion cannot be avoided in sports, it’s important to wear protective gear like knee pads, guards, or braces. These may not be the be-all and end-all of how to avoid knee injuries but these will definitely reduce the risk.
Most important, you should work with a professional coach who knows the effective ways of reducing the risk of injuries in your sport.
How to Prevent Knee Injuries While Working Out
Keep in mind that knee injuries can happen even when you’re not into sports and exercise. In the following section, we will discuss the general ways to prevent knee injuries in everyday activities and when working out.
- Avoid carrying objects that are too heavy for your current strength level.
- Use a step stool or ladder when bringing back things from a height instead of standing on unsteady objects, such as chairs and pallets.
- Stretch before working out.
- Adopt the proper technique when lifting objects, such as bending your legs instead of bending at your waist.
- Use the exercise equipment appropriate for your size, ability, and strength.
- Avoid repetitive movements done for hours at a time or for successive days in a row. Schedule days for working out different parts of your body.
- Learn the ways how to keep knees healthy and strong, such as strengthening the muscles around them and adopting a healthy diet. The knee-specific exercises include knee-to-chest, hamstring stretch, straight-leg raises, and calf stretches.
- Limit wearing high-heeled shoes since these puts greater strain on your knees. In fact, it’s among the most effective ways how to prevent knee pain in women.
- Wear proper exercise gear. These include the right athletic shoes, as mentioned above, as well as knee sleeves that provide support for the joint.
We also suggest avoiding running downhill for prolonged periods as an effective way how to prevent knee injuries while running. Your knees will be less stressed when you limit your downhill routes.
How to Prevent Further Knee Injuries from Diseases
When you have tendonitis, arthritis, or osteoarthritis, you shouldn’t dismiss it as nothing. Your knees will be worse for your disregard for your medical condition so it’s best to consult with your doctor about proper medical and natural treatments to reduce the pain.
We suggest the following methods in how to improve knee health even when you have one of these diseases:
- Wear knee braces, if recommended by your doctor, to stabilize your knees.
- Perform isokinetic, isotonic, and isometric exercises, which have been proven to aid in strengthening the knee area.
- Adopt a healthy diet.
When it comes to your knees, you can never be too careful and too complacent! Take good care of them for, indeed, having your natural knees definitely beats getting knee replacement surgery.