The knee is a complex joint made up of bone, ligaments, cartilage and tendons, and whether due to sports activities or simply the natural aging process, our knees can be particularly susceptible to injury. At Austin Sports Medicine, our physicians and physical therapists treat knee conditions every day and would like to offer up a few basic considerations for preventing that type of injury.
Warming up before exercise
It’s always wise to properly warm up before any exercise. Doing so prepares your body for the physical activity you are about to take part in and can also help improve performance. Even a few minutes of a low-impact warm up activity can decrease your chance of knee injury.
Stretching to increase flexibility
In addition to warming up, stretching both before and after your exercise activity can be important. Doing so, creates added flexibility in the calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and hips, which can help improve movement and keep the knee from injury.
Wearing the proper footwear
Wearing the “right” shoe can be important in preventing knee injury by helping maintain the correct leg alignment and balance during exercise. And while there are many types of shoes available, the best choice is probably the one you find fits best and is most comfortable.
Strengthening muscles around the knee
Increasing the strength of the muscles surrounding the knee creates additional support and is a good way to prevent injury. There a variety of methods for increasing strength including exercises like walking lunges and proper use of exercise machines.
Minimizing high-impact exercises
Exercises such as jogging on hard services can place a lot of stress on the knees, though if you’re a runner, there are steps you can take to protect your knees. As an alternative, you can take part in exercises that are easier on the knee, such as swimming, walking, biking and others.
Maintaining your weight
It won’t surprise you to lean that every extra pound of weight we carry creates additional stress on our knees. That, in turn, can increase our chance of knee injury. Studies also indicate that the extra stress on the knees can increase a person’s risk for developing osteoarthritis.