What you can do to keep your leg-bending apparatus in tip-top shape.
On the field and in the weight-room, there are all kinds of ways you can cause severe injury to one or both of your knees. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to protect your knees from getting hurt.
Warm It Up
Performing appropriate stretches and warming up your knees and connected muscles and ligaments are key to keeping your knees in good shape. A few good stretches to get started with include the following:
- Calf Stretch – Stand with your palms flat against a wall, one leg a foot from the wall, the other another foot or so behind that one. Force your back heel to stay flat on the ground, and begin to straighten your back leg. Once you feel the stretch, hold the position for 15 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
- Knees Up – Lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Next, grab one knee with your hands and pull the knee to your chest. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
Open Your Inner Ears
Whereas some pain leads to gain, knee pain never turns out good. When your knee begins to hurt, pull the plug on exercise immediately. Otherwise, you could push your knee too far and wind up with a prolonged injury. Some of the most common causes of knee pain are exercises such as downhill running or anything that requires deep-knee bends. If you have the tendency to experience knee pain, do your best to avoid these exercises and others that seem to trigger your knee problems.
Know What You’re Doing
It’s been said a million times, but it continues to ring true: Use the wrong technique, and you’re putting your body in harm’s way. Want to lend yourself a little extra buffer against knee injuries? Make sure you’re working out with proper form. Otherwise, even a slight problem in your movement can cause significant damage over time. Not sure if your form is right or wrong? Ask a personal trainer, exercise physiologist, or someone else who knows all about form and how to protect against knee pain.
Work Your Way Up
In the event you’ve not been working out, running, or playing basketball in a while, you should be careful not to overdo it. While your body may be begging for you to push it longer and harder, going too far before your body has had time to adjust to your newfound exercise passions is another way to wind up with a knee injury. Instead of getting on the fast track to knee injury, pace your progress. This will allow your body to slowly grow stronger and enable your knee to become more able to handle the demands of whatever workout you throw its way.
Get Thin (And Stay That Way)
Being overweight or obese is a major cause of knee injury for people who are sitting around the house or working out in the gym. As extra pounds mean extra pressure on the knees, obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to fend off knee injuries. If you’re pushing yourself hard in the gym to shed the pounds, you’ll certainly help your knees in the long run. Just make sure your extra long workout doesn’t mean your knees will be at extra risk for injury in the meantime.
From Foot to Knee
Even if you do everything right in the gym or on the court, you can still wind up with a knee injury if you’re not taking care of your knees elsewhere. To help your knees stay their strongest no matter where you are, you’ve got to wear the right shoes.
Ideally, this means wearing supportive tennis shoes at all times. However, as that is virtually impossible in many professions, you should do your best to wear shoes that provide as much arch support as possible. And despite how great they may make your legs look, keep your distance from high heels, as they put you at a much greater risk for knee injuries.
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