Whether you run marathons, play an occasional pick-up game of basketball, or just enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride, it’s easy to become one of the nearly 50% of knee pain patients that see their doctors due to sports or recreation-related injuries annually, according to the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The knee is the largest joint in the body and operates under intense force at all times, so factors like poor conditioning, structural imbalances and improper movements can easily lead you to the couch instead of the court, ending your play with an injury. What are some of the most common knee injuries sustained during sports and workouts, and how can you prevent them?
Knee Health 101
One of the most important things to understand about taking care of your knees, according to expert exercise physiologist Pete McCall of the American Council on Exercise, is that “the knee is a stable joint that functions and exists directly between two very mobile joints—the hip and the foot. If either the foot or the hip loses mobility, then the knee has to start moving in a different plane of motion.” Foundational exercises like core stabilization, and planks and glute raises will be a great warm up and strengthen the hips, which will support the knees and prevent common injuries:
Jumper’s knee is a common workout injury that develops through excessive jumping movements, and factors will include overuse of the joint and poor conditioning of the surrounding support muscles. Symptoms are pain on the front or bottom of the kneecap, pain while flexing the quads, or stiffness after a workout. Using the RICE method (rest, ice, compress, elevate) is a great treatment method here, but preventing this common knee injury can be accomplished by using proper technique during motion and avoiding exercises that stress that joint until healed, and strengthening muscles in the legs, hips, and core.
While Runner’s Knee is typically an injury of overuse experienced by distance runners, a direct blow to the knee, weak quad muscles, flat feet, and other factors can also cause it. Symptoms will include pain around or behind the kneecap, most often while bending the joint. This condition will develop from poor muscle stability in the front of the hip, so doing exercise moves like a “step-up balance” will help.
IT Band Syndrome
The illiotibial band is a tough, fibrous tissue that runs from the hip down to the shin on the outside of the leg. When the band becomes irritated from a sudden increase in activity (more miles, improper transitions between gaits, overuse, etc.), it can result in pain above or on the outside of the knee, or even meniscus tears down the road. The RICE method can help ease some irritation, but in order to prevent this common knee injury, stretches that work on the hip flexors, the outside of the leg, the gluteal muscles, or that use a foam roller are essential.
Does a Workout Injury have you searching for relief?
The team at Flexogenix® is proud to provide quick and effective pain relief and professionally customized treatment and conditioning plans to keep your knees supported and healthy. Our safe, non-surgical alternatives will treat your joint pain at the source. Contact us today for your complimentary consultation!