As we ramp up for spring and summer, how can we prevent knee injuries before and during our workouts? When active people experience knee pain the choice to stay in becomes more attractive… but that isn’t the best for your health. So, how can you strengthen your knees, prevent injury or re-injury and stay active? This week the OA team takes a loot at a joint-friendly, pre-workout routine.
What types of knee injuries do you suffer from that could benefit from this regimen?
- Post-surgery: Knee exercises are often recommended post-surgery.
- Bursitis: Bursae outside your knee can become inflamed and painful.
- Knee osteoarthritis: A top cause of disability, knee exercises can often help increase mobility and decrease pain caused by osteoarthritis.
- Injuries: Injuries can affect many different parts in and around your knee, including the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
- Patellar tendinitis: Thick, fibrous tissues that attach muscles to your knee can become irritated and inflamed.
Is it safe to perform knee exercises regularly with knee issues?
Check with your doctor and/or physical therapist to find out which knee stretches and exercises are safe for you. Although you may be reluctant to stretch, strengthening the muscles that support your knee can help keep them flexible – which helps keep the pain away and keeps you safe.
Warm-up your body, warm up your knees
Get your blood moving before you get into your exercises or stretching. Ride a stationary bike, run in place or take a brisk walk. This can lower the risk to new or further knee damage.
What types of pre-exercise stretches may help your knees?
Seated Figure four stretch
The seated figure four is a modification of the figure four yoga pose, typically done while standing. This pose can be done anywhere, and is a good stretch to help open your hips, particularly if you have a job that involves sitting at a desk for extended periods of time.To do a seated figure four, find a stable chair where you can place both feet on the floor. Once you’ve perfected the seated figure four, you may want to try other hip-opening poses.
Lunging hip flexor stretch
Start in tall kneeling with both knees on the ground. Use a pillow under your knee for protection if you would like. Keep the knee of the side you want to stretch on the ground. Bring the other leg forward putting your foot on the ground in a lunge position.
Sitting hamstring stretch
Sit on the floor with both legs out straight. Extend your arms and reach forward by bending at the waist as far as possible while keeping your knees straight. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Relax back into the starting position. Repeat three times.
Standing hamstring Stretch
Stand tall with your left foot a few inches in front of your right foot and your left toes lifted. Bend your right knee slightly and pull your abdominals gently inward. Lean forward from your hips, and rest both palms on top of your right thigh for balance and support. The standing hamstring stretch targets your rear-thigh muscles. The standing hamstring stretch targets your rear-thigh muscles. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed; don’t round your lower back. You should feel a mild pull gradually spread through the back of your leg. Repeat the stretch with your right leg forward.
To learn more about what stretches are joint-friendly for your knees, as well as other forms of prevention and treatment for knee pain, make an appointment today with Orthopedic Associates. We specialize in many areas, including knee pain and our team is dedicated to getting – and keeping your active lifestyle.