How to Prevent Knee Injury
The knee is probably the most injured joint among athletes and non-athletes. Although it is the strongest joint, your knee is prone to injuries because it bears 150% of your body weight when you walk and 80% standing still. Whether you are just curious to know how to prevent knee injury or are looking to know how your knee functions and how to keep it strong can help prevent a knee injury.
So, read on to discover how you can prevent knee injuries.
Common Causes of Knee Injuries
- Conditions and
- Sudden injuries contribute to knee injuries.
Other causes of knee injuries include:
- Sprains or strains of the knee ligaments
- Tear in the meniscus
Sprains or strains are caused by a sudden twist or blow to the knee. They are usually characterized by swelling, difficulty in walking, and pain.
How to Prevent Knee Injuries
Now that you know the significant causes of knee injuries, let’s look at some of the things that can protect your knees from injuries.
✅Shed Some Weight
As mentioned earlier, your knees bear a significant amount of your weight when you stand still or walk. Let’s say you weigh 160 pounds. In that case, your knee holds about 240 pounds of force when you walk and 192 pounds when you stand still. That means dropping as little as 10 pounds can significantly take some weight off your knees. It can also eliminate or lessen your joint pain.
Besides taking the force off your knees, losing weight can also help reduce inflammation. The fat cells in your body release chemicals that contribute to inflammation. By losing weight, you can eliminate some of these fat cells to protect your knees from inflammation. Not only that, but it also prevents arthritis later in life.
However, it’s highly advisable to talk to your primary care provider before trying to shed some weight. Medical practitioners encourage individuals to maintain a body mass index (BMI) of around 18.5 to 24.9.
✅Work on Your Technique
A minor change in your dribbling or shooting technique is enough to cause knee pain. Even if you are not an athlete, you should also pay attention to your techniques when lifting heavy items, carrying groceries, walking, and even jogging.
Good technique can help prevent knee injuries in many ways. Firstly, it reduces strain. Athletes with good technique can produce more power and accuracy without straining the knee. For example, a soccer player with good dribbling techniques is likely to put less strain on the body than one with poor dribbling skills. Athletes with poor techniques put too much unnatural force on their knees, increasing the risk of injuries.
✅Always Warm Up
Whether you are an athlete or a non-athlete, it’s always essential to warm up before any physical activity. Yet, many people assume that warm-up should be left to the athletes. Failure to prepare your ligaments, joints, tendons, and muscles for physical activity increases the risk of developing knee injury. So, always do five to ten minutes of warm-up to loosen up your body to prevent an injury.
Exercise can also prevent knee injury in several ways. For starters, strengthening exercises can strengthen your knee joint muscles, tendons, and ligaments. A stronger knee joint provides more stability. Additionally, it can stand up to torque better whenever you pivot, twist, or rotate. Resistance exercises can also help keep your knee stable and prevent injuries by strengthening your quadriceps, hamstrings, and other muscles around your knee joints.
Apart from strengthening your knee joint, exercises also help prevent chronic inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. In addition, exercising your knee is probably the most effective way of managing pain and improving knee functions if you already have osteoarthritis. Besides, you are likely to lose some extra pounds when you exercise. This might help keep weight off your knees.
However, you should talk to your doctor if you have a knee injury. Your doctor will assess your condition and recommend protecting your knee from further damage. In most cases, doctors advise people with knee injuries to avoid exercises that involve running downhill, bending, and kneeling.
Lack of exercise increases your risk of a knee injury. If you don’t exercise your knees, you might lose cartilage due to lack of use. Your muscles, tendons, and ligaments will also weaken. The best at-home exercises to prevent or reduce knee pain include:
- Stretching exercises like standing quad stretch, standing hamstring stretch, and inner thigh stretch can help increase your range of motion
- Resistance exercises such as lunges, push-ups, squats, bench presses, and weight lifting can strengthen the cuff muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps, and other muscles around your knee joint to keep your knee stable and protect it from injuries
- Aerobic activities like cycling, walking, rowing, and swimming can improve your endurance to help you withstand intense physical activities. Also, aerobic exercises prevent and lower inflammation.
✅Introduce New Moves Gradually
Learning new moves can help prevent overuse injuries. However, you should introduce the new activities gradually. Changing your intensity abruptly puts you at risk of injury.
✅Wear the Right Shoes
Wearing the right shoes for every activity lowers your risk of developing knee injury. The right shoes not only prevent overuse injuries but also reduce your risk of strains, sprains, and dislocation. So, always purchase shoes with adequate arc support. Above all, have shoes for different activities.
✅Use Well Fitting Protective Equipment
If you are an athlete, you should always wear protective equipment to protect your knee and the surrounding muscles, tendons, and bones from injury. Note that protective gear will only protect you if it’s the proper fit and size.
Physical Therapy Can Help Prevent Most Knee Injuries
While the tips we have discussed above can help prevent knee injuries, physical therapy is undoubtedly the most common way of preventing almost all knee injuries. With physical therapy, you will have a customized approach to lower your risk of developing a knee injury. Your doctor who does physical therapy will design an individualized plan based on your specific conditions, activities, and objectives. For instance, physical therapy can improve your golf swing if you are a golfer. Physical therapy also focuses on strengthening, plyometric, and dynamic stretches to improve your range of motion, endurance, flexibility, and strength.
Get the Highest Quality Physical Therapy for Knee Pain Today
Whether you are an athlete or a non-athlete, knee pain can significantly lower your quality of life. That is why you should turn to physical therapy to deal with your knee pain or prevent knee injuries. Get in touch with one of our doctors to schedule an appointment.