Did you know that knee injury is the most common injury that occurs while practicing sports? Quick changes of direction, jumping and landing; even just running as a separate activity may cause severe problems for your knee.
Do you know how to avoid knee injury? Regardless of age, you can partly protect your knees with regular and correct exercises to strengthen muscles. Nevertheless, there are many other factors we have to be aware of when talking about knee injury prevention.
When does a knee injury occur the earliest?
A knee injury most often happens to someone whose knee „buckles“ – it topples to the outside or inside (an injury of the side knee ligaments occurs) – or when the leg swiftly turns while the foot remains fixed. In those knee injuries cruciate ligaments, meniscus and cartilage are usually extremely affected.
Often, a patellofemoral pain syndrome can appear, when stress while running causes irritation of the spot, where the kneecap comes into contact with the tight bone. It occurs especially among those “fanatics” who suddenly decide to start running to recreate themselves and overdo it.
TOP 5 advices how to prevent knee injury
Choose the right sport
Rowing, swimming, cycling, organized training with an expert etc. all of these are good for your knee. Those sports activities do not cause any strain to the knee joint or encourage rotations of it.
It is also advisable to do exercises at home that are suitable for the knee, since they will further strengthen it and so lower your changes for a serious injury.
Do not forget to correctly set the seat when cycling, since a too low seat is not good for the knee. Do you still remember how? When the pedal is at its lowest point, the knee has to be straight.
Weight means higher load
Do we have to especially underline that quickly gained weight or excessive weight increases the pressure on the already loaded joints? You probably know this, right? Moderate and supervised weight loss will definitely relieve the symptoms. Again – moderate and supervised.
It is important to know!
Especially women like to lose weight; especially women aged between 45 and 65 years. Due to hormonal changes at this stage of life, they are often part of the critical group prone to arthritis or osteoporosis.
If you keep your weight constant and even though it is just a little, but really just a little, over the “normal” weight, then weight alone is often not the reason for knee injuries (if you exercise regularly of course). Extreme dieting will cause you much more problems, since your body will lack key vitamins and minerals and will therefore be more prone to muscle and bone injuries.
Strengthen your muscles the right way and under supervision
Exercises to strengthen muscles, stabilisation, and stretching have an important impact on the stability of the knee joint. Muscles that play an important role in the stability of the knee joint are: stretching muscles (extensors), bending muscles (flexors), adducting muscles (adductors) and abducting muscles (abductors) of the knee as well as calf muscles.
Did you know that the power ratio between the front and back tight muscles in of key importance for knee pain? Most often the ration between front and back tight muscles should be 3 vs 2 in favour of the front muscles (Lat.: quadriceps) in order to have good motion control and consequently lower risk for knee injury.
Be extremely careful when doing squats, where the knee must not reach over the toes, since this causes overload for the anterior cruciate ligament.
Don’t skip the warm‑up
Are you late for group training and then just join in the middle of the training? Without warming up? Let’s not forget that you sometimes need to finish your training at a certain time because you have a meeting? Of course it is the easiest to skip the warm-up.
When the body is not warmed up, stretching and contracting of our muscles is more difficult. Before activity, you have to ensure a sufficient blood flow to the muscles and warm them up to a working temperature. Choose warm-up exercises as well as a bicycle, treadmill and stepper to activate your body. Always do stretching at the end!
Hydrate your body
It is imperative that you drink water before, during, and after training, exercising or any other physical activity. As you know “water is the most important substance in our body and there is no life without water”. Water is the building block and medium of all reactions in our body.
If we don’t consume enough water, our strength and endurance decrease and the possibility of experiencing cramps increases. The knee joint in surrounded by a joint capsule that supplies the joint with liquid and hydrates it.
You go all-in
You have been moving from the couch to the bed, from the bed to the chair at work, and afterwards again to the couch, and have been repeating this “exercise” for a long time. Then suddenly, you got the will to be active and you wanted to make up for lost time.
Don’t overdo it. Your body needs a boost, work, motivation, regular activity, however, this often goes beyond the healthy limit. If you haven’t developed your physical condition slowly and in a smart way, you cannot be fit and by putting too much strain on your body you can bring it to the brink, which often leaves consequences – injuries.
Cooling knee injury with ice
During the first phase of a knee injury, you can act yourself. This means 24 to 48 hours after the injury. By cooling it you stop irritation, since the veins shrink, which causes less blood flow in the area. It also helps soothe the pain because it reduces nerve end sensibility.
Cool your injured knee by wrapping a bag of ice in a towel and putting it on the injured knee several times per day for 20 minutes. You should also lift your injured leg until the heart height in order to prevent blood accumulation and consequently to reduce the swelling.