Made up of the femur, tibia, and patella, the knee is one of the more complicated joints in the body. It’s also a part of the body that is subjected to a wide range of use during physical activity. This puts the knee in a vulnerable position and increases the risk of suffering an injury.
When it comes to protecting the knee from high-risk situations or simply preventing yourself from suffering an injury, it’s important to understand the current health of your knee and to know when measures should be taken.
Listed below are several ways to protect those injury-prone knees.
One of the most common knee injuries is one that affects the IT band. Also known as the iliotibial band, it is the area on the outside of the pelvis that connects to the outside of the knee. This part of the knee is integral to your health because it helps to stabilize the knee when you are participating in physical activity such as running, hiking or bike riding.
The easiest way to prevent this type of injury is simply by stretching the band itself. Prior to engaging in physical activity that will put the band to use, find the time to stretch and prepare it for the activity that is ahead of it. To begin the stretch, stand with your left foot crossed over the right foot and stretch your arms above your head. Next, challenge yourself by leaning your body to the left as far as you feel comfortable without bending your knees. Then, mirror the second step by crossing your right foot over your left while leaning your upper body to the right side.
The next part of the exercise involves sitting on the floor. With your legs stretched out in front of you, cross your legs and pull your knee as close to your chest as you can and hold it in place for a few seconds. Then mirror this move by crossing the other leg.
It’s important to be aware of your flexibility when working to improve knee support. By understanding your limitations, you allow yourself to know which exercises are necessary and which ones may place your knee at risk.
Lunges are an exercise that provide a wide range of benefits that extend far beyond the knees. When done properly, you can strengthen your back, quadriceps, lower leg muscles and core. You can also increase the strength in your knees all while addressing flexibility.
The key to a successful lunge is to be conscious about your body so that it is done properly. With your chin up, chest lifted, one knee tracking over the top of your foot while the toe on the other foot is planted and your knees, hips and shoulders are facing forward, lower your body down at a 90-degree angle to perform a lunge.
This will allow you to build muscle strength in your quadriceps which will serve as an outstanding benefit to your knees.
It may be universally known and to some, it may seem like a generic exercise to help strengthen your knees, but to others it may produce great dividends.
Squats are another exercise that address many areas of the body. It’s one of the reasons for its popularity and has successfully helped many people recover from injuries of all sorts. It can help strengthen your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, which are all areas of the leg that should be strong in order to maintain strength in your knees.
The key is to keep your knees bent and your back straight for the full effect.
Aside from exercises and stretches to help strengthen the knees, it’s also important to fit the knees with protective wear when possible.
For a lot of people, it can become a daunting task to choose which sleeves or braces are best. Much of the focus can be placed on support and comfort, while some may address other concerns. By being aware of your own individual needs, the decision of choosing the right knee brace or sleeve can become much easier.