Thursday, December 22, 2011

How to Prevent Knee Injuries


The knees are among the most vulnerable joints of the human body. This vulnerability mostly stems from frequent use as we constantly engage them daily when walking and exercising. Knee pain is a very common condition that affects as much as 19% of the population. While knee pain tends to be more common in women, its occurrence increases steadily with age in both genders.
Some of the common causes of knee pain often come in the form of sprains, strains, and fractures, most of which can be avoided. To prevent knee pain or injuries from some of the most common causes, here are a few tips:
  • Wear good shoes that provide adequate support for your arches. Ill-fitting shoes increase the incidence of pronation which puts extra stress on your knees and may eventually result in pain and even injury.

  • Carrying heavy objects puts a lot of stress on your knees; ask for help if you suspect that an object may be too heavy for one person to move.

  • It is important to maintain a healthy weight. Not only does extra weigh put a lot of stress on your knees, it also increases your risk of developing osteoarthritis.

  • Exercises like walking or swimming can strengthen your knees; however, controlling your intensity level and alternating days with other exercises is good practice to avoid hurting yourself in the process.

  • Weight training is also a good way to strengthen your knees, and there are several low impact exercise machines in the gym that will engage your knees and keep them strong, making them less prone to injury.

  • Protect your knees by wearing guards during recreational sports like soccer, and don't forget to stretch before engaging in physical activities. Be mindful of the correct techniques and positions when exercising, and always use them.
Engaging in exercises that improve strength and flexibility is one of the surest ways to prevent the common causes of knee injuries. Some of the benefits that come with such exercises are mentioned below:
Strengthening exercises: Strengthening exercises engage your hamstrings and quadriceps. Strengthening them will reduce stress and aid your knees in absorbing shock.
Flexibility exercises: Flexibility exercises stretch the muscles that support your knees, while strengthening them in the process. Gentle stretches improve flexibility and reduce soreness, while vigorous stretching can cause pain and muscle tightening.
Keeping your knees healthy and preventing injury starts with developing strong and flexible supportive muscles. A qualified physician can give you a customized exercise plan as well as specific tips to help keep your knees in good condition.