In a person’s daily activity, the knees perhaps are the most abused. This part of your body accounts for walking, running, exercising, going up and down and other movements that might need range of motions on your lower body part.
Knowing the anatomy and functioning of your knee can be one of the key components on preventing knee injury. But before this article will provide you with tips on how to prevent knee injury, here’s a quick discussion on its anatomy and function as well as the common causes of knee injuries.
Anatomy and Function
The knees are considered to be the most vulnerable joints in your body. They function not only to help you bend, run or walk but also wear the weight of your entire body. Picture it as a hinge that connects your upper and lower bones. They twist and rotate so that your body’s weight is well supported.
Your knee’s composition includes four bones that are placed together through ligaments. Your tendons connect the muscles of your bone to your knee while the cartilage is the soft cushion on your joint. In addition to your cartilage, Bursaes also serve as cushions so that no bone or muscle will tear when you’re moving especially during strenuous activities.
Causes of Knee Pain
Knowing the causes of knee pain will help one gauge on how to prevent and heal it. Most knee pains are caused by sudden injury, arthritis or overuse. Overstretching usually performed by runners is also one of the common causes of knee pain. Pressure on the knee caused by grabbing the ankle of your knee and flexing it behind your leg will also cause you knee pain. Habitual performance of such will often soften the patella of your knees hence, injuring it.
Twisting and turning, actually too much of it, will also put you at high risk of knee injury because of the possible strains and injuries you might do on your tendons. Sudden twisting movements will likely dislocate your bones and your knee as well as lifting and bending in an improper position predisposes you to knee injuries.
You see, knee injury and pain is the end result of how you make use of it. If you don’t like the way how the pain feels on your lower body, then you have to take extra precautions to take care of it.
How to Prevent Knee Pain
It’s imperative that if you want to live long, you better take care of your body. Avoiding pain is no exception.
Knee pain is excruciating in that it’s the bones that rub against each other. Although pain relievers can help you get through it, it doesn’t always guarantee permanent relief. If you don’t want to linger to such unbearable pain, here are some tips to help you prevent it:
- Shed off those extra weight. Remember that your knee holds your body up. They support your weight and if you’re a little bit too heavy to bear then there’s definitely a good chance that they wear and will eventually give up.
Eat the right food at the right amount. Those extra calories that you take goes to your knees so you better try that with close to your ideal weight. More than knee pain, obesity can also lead to osteoarthritis.
- Exercise and get in shape. When keeping your weight right, one of the courses you should take is to get in shape – do exercise. Exercising will not only help you shed off that unnecessary weight but also helps you to strengthen your muscles. Weak muscles are one of the leading causes of knee injuries. So when you rather feel like lounging on your couch watching tv or surfing the net all day, why don’t you turn it to a more productive and healthy one by exercising your muscles and bones.
- Wear the right shoe. A well-fitted pair of shoes will provide support on your arches. Also they help you maintain proper leg alignment and balance.
Unfortunately, many people prefer wearing shoes that doesn’t fit well with their shoe size or perhaps they’re wearing shoes that are not fitted for the activity they are in. Shoes that are not fitting for your size will increase the likelihood of pronation that’ll put additional stress on your knees which in the long run will cause you injury and pain.
- Carry objects using the right body mechanics. Just because your knee is able to carry and support your own weight doesn’t necessarily mean that it can sustain all the weight that you have to hold. It has its own limits as well.
If the object is too heavy, don’t push yourself to carry it because it will definitely put a lot of strain on your knees. Do ask for help should you wish to move a heavy object. Use the right body mechanics when carrying objects. Don’t stand on unsteady chairs.
- Warm up. Before doing any exercise, warm up and do some stretches. Stretching ease out the muscles in front and back of your thighs decreasing the tension on your tendons thereby relieving pressure on your knees. Here are some exercises that will help in preventing knee injuries and pain:
- Squats – when you do this, make sure that your feet are apart while standing. Then slowly bend your knees and hip as if you are about to sit down. Keep on bending down towards the floor until your thighs are parallel. If you can’t make it that far, just bend your knees and hips to the point where you can. Just ensure that your feet are firm on the ground during the entire course.
- Leg Extension – This exercise targets either your hamstring or quadriceps. To perform this, you have to make use of an extension machine.
- Leg Curl – to do this you have to lie on your stomach with your legs extended. Flex it to a 90-degree angle and keep it in that position for a second. You will need a curl machine or a bench to help you with this exercise.
- Stretches like hamstring stretch, knee-to-chest exercise, calf stretch and straight-leg raises.
- Cool down after exercising. Gradually decrease the intensity of your workout as soon as you are about to stop your exercise. Slow down until your heart beat and breathing returns to normal rate. Cooling down after exercises will help your body to recover after the strenuous activity and at the same time the risk of injury and pain.
- Walk for at least 5-10 minutes until you feel that your heart rate and breathing has returned to normal. If you’ve been swimming, swim with less effort for 5-10 minutes the same goes when you’ve been cycling.
- Perform walking lunges. When you perform walking lunges you step one foot forward and then transfer your weight to the front and then bend both legs until your back leg is just an inch away from the floor. Then push forward using both legs. Repeat this for ten times for two sets.
- Perform exercises fit for you. If you’re range of motion is limited due to some ailments such as arthritis you don’t have to perform exercises that exceeds beyond your capacity to do so. However, having such illnesses should not stop you from being active. Find other exercises that will suit best your current situation – those that won’t cause you more trouble. There are plenty of exercises for you, it’s pretty sure you’ll find the right one.
- Wear protective gears such as knee braces. If you are doing physical sports like soccer or basketball, it’s best that you wear a knee brace to protect your knees from possible trauma. If you’ll be kneeling for long hours, wear knee pads. When driving, wear your seatbelts. It has been noted that a lot of knee injuries are caused by auto accidents.
- Keep your activity level still or increase it if you are able. Don’t decrease it unless you’ve been told by a professional or if your body says it’s too much to bear. If you’ve been accustomed to doing something that a certain level, don’t change gears. If you are to decrease your activity level do so gradually. A decrease in activity will make your body feel weak thereby increasing the likelihood to pain and injuries.
- Physical therapy. If there’s an existing injury, it is always advisable that you adhere to what you’re physician has told you. If you’re advised to under physical therapy, do follow. Physical therapists will provide you with appropriate exercise regimen for your injury.
Your knees are considered to be the largest joint in your body. It helps you move, lets you do the things you love like dancing, playing, running, walking and bending. When it’s properly functioning you won’t notice its importance but when it starts to ache you’ll later realize that you had the best your knees have to offer but took it for granted.
Don’t wait for time to let you realize what you have lost. Do take care of your body just as you wanted to take care of your figure. Maintain your weight, avoid stressing it too much and exercise.