Warmer temperatures are finally here, and that comes with spending more time active and outdoors! An active lifestyle is always a great idea, but it’s important to exercise safely and within your limits to prevent injury. Getting back into sports or regular exercise can be invigorating, but it can also cause some problems, especially to your knees, if not done properly! This is how to stay active this summer and prevent the most common knee injuries.
The knee is integral to staying mobile. It’s easily one of the most complex joints in your body taking into account the overall size and the unique way it’s structured. For the same reasons, it’s also one of the most frequently injured joints in the body. The most common knee injuries we see at OrthoManhattan include fractures, dislocations, anterior cruciate ligaments, posterior cruciate ligaments, collateral ligament injuries, and injuries to the meniscus and tendons.
Injuries, pain, and discomfort can all hold you back from doing the things you love. This is how to keep your knees healthy, especially when it comes to summertime activities like running, playing sports at any level of competition, getting back into the gym, or just upping your overall activity levels:
If you’re coming back from any form of hiatus from activity, it’s vital that you take it slowly upon returning! For example, If you’ve taken a few weeks to a few months off of running, then it’s important that you ease yourself back in gradually rather than pick up right where you left off distance or pace-wise. Worst case, you can end up injured right away, and best case, soreness and fatigue may hold you back in your next workout. When it comes to preventing common knee injuries, starting slow is the way to go.
Speaking of starting slow, going through a warm-up routine before exercise can do wonders when it comes to preventing injury. A good warm-up prepares your body for more intense activity. It gets your blood flowing, raises your muscle temperature, and increases your breathing rate. Warming up gives your body time to adjust to the demands of exercise. Not only does this help prevent injury, but it will also help improve your overall performance and help get you the results you want out of your workout.
Stretching can be incorporated into a pre-workout warm-up, or done entirely separately, and both can help to prevent common knee injuries! Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. That puts you at risk for pain in your joints, a variety of strains, and possible muscle damage. Stretching both before and after exercise can help with soreness and prevent injury while stretching in general over time can help increase flexibility.
Wear The Right Gear
While it might seem tempting to go out and exercise in whatever shoes you have around the house, using the wrong footwear can lead to some major problems! Running in shoes not made for running can cause a variety of issues, all the way from your feet and ankles, up to your back. The same goes for playing sports like basketball, or even just walking a longer distance than normal. You always want to wear shoes that are designed specifically for the purpose you’re going to be using them for, and if you’re going to be using them often, it’s a good idea to find a shoe store that can analyze how you walk and help you find the right shoe to fit your needs!
Don’t Ignore Pain
You may have heard “push through the pain” or “pain is the body getting stronger,” but that’s not always the case! If you’re feeling pain in your knees, that’s generally a major red flag that something is wrong and that you should, at the very least, ease up on what you’re doing. Pushing through knee pain is an easy way to end up with a knee injury, something that can hold you back for weeks or even months at a time. If you’re experiencing pain, talk to a doctor to find the cause.
More About Common Knee Injuries
At OrthoManhattan, we see a variety of knee injuries and conditions, with some of the most common being fractures, ligament injuries (including the anterior cruciate ligament and the collateral ligaments,) arthritis, and injuries to the meniscus, You can learn more about the common knee injuries we treat here, along with some of the knee treatments we offer. If you have recently suffered a knee injury or have been living with knee pain for any length of time, please reach out to us through the form on the right side of this page or by making an appointment here. We’d love nothing more than to get you back to pain-free living. Happy Summer!