From walking around doing errands to bending down to reach something, you don't usually give a lot of thought to how important your knees are — unless something goes wrong. The knee joint is a complex body part made up of bones, cartilage, ligaments and supporting muscles. Whether due to age, repetitive wear and tear or an accident, knee pain is just one misstep away.
Prevention is the best way to avoid the pain and inconvenience of a knee injury. Whether exercising or playing sports, here are 8 ways to keep your knees in tiptop shape and prevent a potential injury.
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Extra weight can put a strain on your knees and increase your risk of knee-related injuries and osteoarthritis. Your doctor can advise you about a weight that's appropriate for your height and age to decrease the amount of stress your knees experience.
2. Warm up Before Exercising or Playing Sports
Before participating in any sports or exercises, be sure to warm up. Stretching the muscles located in the front and back of your thighs decreases the tension on your knee's tendons. Ultimately, warming up relieves the overall pressure on your knees when you're working out.
3. Strengthen Your Knees
Strengthening your leg muscles is an excellent way to support your knees and prevent injuries. Incorporate some weight training into your workout to build your leg muscles. Be sure to consult with an expert on the right way to lift weights to prevent knee pain.
4. Opt for Low-Impact Exercises if You Experience Knee Pain
If you begin experiencing knee pain, you may think that decreasing your activity is the best way to prevent an injury. However, this decrease may only lead to weakness, increasing your risk of a knee injury. Instead, opt for exercises that will have a low impact on your knees. You might try swimming, walking or using a rowing machine at the gym.
5. Build up Your Workout Intensity
If you struggle with knee pain and start to experience relief, you may be tempted to go back to high-impact workouts immediately. However, a sudden change in the intensity of your exercise could put too much stress on your knees. Build up your workout intensity gradually to avoid knee pain.
6. Wear Properly Fitting Shoes
The right shoes can have a significant impact on maintaining proper leg alignment and balance. Whether you're working out or running errands, be sure to wear sensible shoes that fit correctly.
7. Consider Physical Therapy
If you're beginning to experience knee pain, a physical therapist can help you establish an exercise regimen that won't exacerbate your condition.
8. Consult With an Orthopedic Knee Specialist
The best way to prevent knee injury is to become familiar with your body and recognize signs that something's not right. Not all knee pain indicates an underlying condition. However, if you suspect that there is anything wrong with your knee, don't hesitate to ask a doctor.
Dr. Mufaddal Gombera is a board-certified orthopedic knee surgeon who specializes in the treatment of knee pain. He can assess your condition and come up with a treatment plan that addresses your unique needs.
Book your appointment today and allow our team to determine what's causing your knee pain.