Five Ways to Prevent One of the Most Common Injuries

Ever have that feeling of wanting to head to the gym, go for a long walk around the neighborhood or just play with your kids in the backyard only to be limited by knee pain? You’re not alone. Frequent knee pain affects more than one-third of adults. And according to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, about 150,000 ACL injuries occur in the United States every year and account for more than a $500 million in U.S. healthcare costs each year.

Your knees are the longest joints in your body and are complex, making them susceptible to injury. But you aren’t stuck just waiting for knee pain to flare up! Take steps now to protect your knees and keep you in action.

  1. Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight puts extra stress on your knees and can make an existing knee injury worse. Maintaining a healthy weight will decrease stress on your knees and help you avoid potential injuries. And even a little bit of weight loss helps: One pound off the scale relieves four pounds of stress on your knees.
  2. Warm up before exercise: Before working out, make sure you stretch your quadriceps and hamstrings. Stretching these muscles will help warm up your tendons, which relieves pressure on your knees.
  3. Focus on low-impact exercises: Avoid running and other high-impact exercises by using a rowing machine, exercise bike or other low-impact cardio workout to decrease your risk of injuring your knees. If you just can’t give up running, do it with a slight lean forward to help relieve stress on your knees.
  4. Start swimming and power walking: These two activities strengthen your leg muscles, which ultimately decreases your risk of a knee injury. (These can also double as low-impact cardio workouts!)
  5. Gradually increase intensity: Jumping right into a vigorous exercise regimen is a recipe for knee disaster. Start out easy and gradually push yourself to do longer, tougher workouts.

How do you prevent knee pain and injuries? Let us know in the comments section below. And for other tips on reducing pain, check out these blogs:

 

Photo credit: iwona_kellie

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