Knee injuries account for more than 40 percent of sports injuries. Whether you are an athlete, a sports enthusiast or just someone who enjoys exercising, preventing these problems can be an important part of staying active. The good news is that proper training and maintenance can keep knee injuries away. Here is a look at some of the proper training techniques and maintenance activities that can best support your knee health.
Best Training Techniques
When you are working out, participating in a sport, or preparing for an activity, the right techniques can give you added flexibility and strength to accomplish your tasks without injury. Here is a look at some of the best training techniques to follow in order to prevent knee injuries.
Warm up effectively
Warming up appropriately is an important part of knee injury prevention. This means taking the time to engage in exercises that prepare your knees for the activity in which you are about to engage. Warm ups have been shown to help these joints in the following ways:
- Increase synovial fluid that prevents friction within the knee
- Improve neuromuscular control of the joint
- Increase blood flow around the knee
- Reduce soreness
Certain exercises work better than others at targeting the knees and preparing them for activity. Focus on warm ups that exercise the muscles around the knee, and that encourage you to use your knees throughout the activity. Here are some suggestions:
- Step Ups
- Hip Thrusts
- Leg Lifts
- Hamstring Curls
Gradually build up workout intensity
Do not try to reach your physical fitness or recovery goals in one day. Rapidly going from no activity to high-intensity sports can increase your chances of experiencing knee injury. Whether you are getting over an injury, or simply looking to improve your activity level, the best technique is to build up slowly to the intensity level you desire.
Your knees (and the rest of your body) need to acclimate to the stress that high-intensity exercises put on them. By gradually working up to the high-impact activities you desire, you can gain the strength and flexibility necessary to withstand even the most rigorous sports or exercise.
Use the right movement patterns
The way you move while you exercise can make a big difference in whether or not you experience a knee injury. Prevent problems by following the right techniques when throwing, catching, lifting and exercising. Even daily activities as simple as walking or going up and down stairs, can prevent injuries when done correctly. Here are some tips for following the right form for your activities.
- Learn how to complete exercises such as squats and lunges correctly.
- Achieve proper running mechanics
- Wear supportive and well-fitting shoes
- Consult with a chiropractor or physical therapist on your movement mechanics
Maintenance of Healthy Knees
If your knees are currently healthy and pain-free, you can take steps now to prevent injury in the future. Here is a look at some of the most important maintenance steps you can take to keep yourself moving comfortably throughout all of your activities.
Maintain a healthy weight
Excess weight can strain your knees and limit your mobility. By keeping your weight within a healthy range, you increase the chances of having strong and healthy knees for the long-term, even when you regularly engage in sports or demanding physical activity.
Stretching can play an important role in knee injury prevention by improving range of motion and increasing flexibility. In order to protect your knees, focus on stretching your calves, quadriceps and hamstrings. Here are some additional tips to get the most benefit out of your stretches:
- Complete low-impact activities to warm up before stretching.
- Stretch regularly, especially before physical activity.
- Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds.
- Prevent soreness by stretching after physical activity.
Engage in strength training
Strengthening the muscles around the knees can give the joints much-needed support that can prevent injury. For example, try making weight training part of your regular exercise routine. Strength training can also strengthen the cartilage in your knees and prevent related issues. In order to achieve your desired results, focus on exercises that benefit the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.
As its name suggests, foam rolling consists of rolling a cylinder of foam over the muscles around the knee. This practice has been proven to increase the flow of blood into the muscles, assist in muscle recovery after workouts, and increase range of motion.
By using a foam roller on your legs, you can loosen up tense muscles. The looser your muscles are, the better nourished they are with active circulation, the less chance you have of suffering injury during your physical activities.
If you want to prevent knee injuries, consider consulting an experienced body mechanic like Dr. Roy Nissim. Trusted by top athletes and dedicated to minimizing your time in the office, he uses state-of-the-art tools and techniques to help you get and stay healthy and active. Contact us today to learn more about how we can improve your knee and your overall health.