14 Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries
Walking, sitting, jumping, standing—your knees are at the center of it all. And as major joints, it’s no surprise that they’re among the most easily injured and worn-down areas of the body. Whether it’s an unexpected ACL tear or osteoarthritis that’s been developing over the last twenty years, there are a variety of factors that contribute to knee problems.
When it comes to these types of joint issues, however, they can be just as easy to prevent as they are to get. From properly stretching before your evening run to weight training other crucial areas of the body, we can take little steps to avoid big injuries.
To help keep your knees in tip-top shape, you can:
- Stretch before an activity to warm up your muscles.
- Exercise and use proper techniques. Weight-bearing (such as walking) for at least two hours a week in addition to resistance exercises (such as swimming) are both great for strengthening your knees and core body muscles. You may also want to consider wearing a knee brace during your workouts or activities.
- Strengthen your hip joints so they can carry more of your body’s weight instead of your knees. Aim for working your hip adductor and core muscles.
- Use exercise equipment that’s appropriate for your size and strength.
- Stay at a healthy weight. Even five or 10 pounds can lead to knee pain; every additional pound you gain leads to four extra pounds of pressure on the knees.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet that includes plenty of calcium and Vitamin D.
- Walk on sidewalks or worn paths instead of grass or cobblestone, which can strain your knees and increase your risk of tripping.
- Avoid carrying extremely heavy objects.
- Identify daily activities that involve repeated knee movements and try to limit them if possible.
- Wear shoes with good arch support. Running sneakers should be replaced every 300-500 miles or every three months.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Drinking more than the recommended amount (one drink per day for women and two drinks for men) can increase your risk for weak bones.
- Quit smoking, which can also increase your risk of osteoporosis.
- Use the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) when your knees are sore.
- Address problems in your hip or foot since they force the knee to adjust accordingly and can ultimately lead to knee problems. It’s all connected. Be sure to discuss treatment options with your doctor to relieve pressure on the knee.
Crozer-Keystone Health System offers comprehensive musculoskeletal care. From conservative approaches to managing pain to spine and hand services, rehabilitation, and joint replacement surgery, the physicians of the Premier/Crozer-Keystone Orthopedics Partnership can help determine what plan works best for you. Appointments within 48 hours; call 1-877-CK-MOTION (1-877-256-6846) or visit www.ckmotion.org.