They say that prevention is better than cure and looking after your knees is no exception. Some of the best things you can do to ensure you don’t injure your knee in the first place include the following:
- Warm Up Properly. This should go without saying but a proper warm up not only primes your muscles and joints for optimal performance, but it also goes a long way to preventing injuries. Warming up your quads and hamstrings will get your muscles ready to take the load off your tendon. Trying starting out slow, walking and then jogging.
- Strengthen the Leg Muscles. Strong muscles help reduce the likelihood of injury by helping to stabilize and support the joints. The best way to get stronger quads is to to basic lunges and squats. Not only will stronger quads help prevent injury, they will also help you jump higher.
- Ease into your Training Program. If you are starting a new training program, especially if it requires a lot high impact jumping or running, take it slow.
- Adequate Recovery. Ensuring that you don’t train too frequently can go a long way to avoiding knee injuries. plenty of rest between sessions, 24 hours, gives your muscles plenty of time to fully recover so that when you train or play again they are performing at maximum capacity to do their share of the work.
- Wear Proper Footwear. To minimize the impact on your feet, knees and other joints, make sure you’re wearing good shoes, with proper support, when you are exercising. It is a good idea to have 2 different pairs of shoes that you switch back and forth.
- Stretching and Mobility Work. Regular stretching and foam rolling sessions help relax and lengthen the muscles and tendons and enables the body to function optimally. Having a reduced range of motion in some of the muscle groups used for exercising can impair movement efficiency placing undue stress on the patellar tendon.
- Rest. Getting plenty of sleep is one of the most anti-inflammatory things you can do. Aside from the fact that while you are sleeping your joints are not moving much, you also have the hormonal responses of reduced cortisol and increased GH helping to aid your recovery process. Sleep and rest will help you heal, recover and get your body ready to exercise again.
If you find yourself struggling with knee issues, or know someone that may be suffering please feel free to contact one of our patient care coordinators at 908-754-1960 or you may contact us online.
About the Authors:
Joseph Mejia D.O., F.A.A.P.M.& R, is a graduate of University of Michigan and West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. He is Board Certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine. Dr. Mejia received his Fellowship Training in Interventional Pain Management from University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ). He has advanced training in Regenerative Medicine and is the Medical Director and Partner of Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine.
Jonathan Crawford, PT, DPT, FSMA, earned his BS in Physical Education: Exercise Physiology at William Paterson University and his Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) from UMDNJ. Dr. Crawford is also certified in SFMA (Selective Functional Movement Assessment). The SFMA is a comprehensive assessment used to classify movement patterns and direct manual therapy and therapeutic exercise inventions. Dr. Crawford is a Physical Therapist at Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine.