Exercise is one of the most effective ways to keep our knees healthy and strong. However, it’s vital to strike a healthy balance as you strengthen the knees through physical activity. Exercising without proper preparation risks damaging the muscles, tissues, and ligaments in your knee. At the same time, too little exercise may do more harm than good.
Whether you’re a professional athlete, a regular at your gym, or just looking to stay healthy, exercise is a key component in keeping your knee joint in top shape. Here are some handy tips to help you maintain healthy and active knees without sustaining an injury.
Warm-Up and Cool Down Properly
If you’re not used to exercising but suddenly engage in high-intensity physical activities, you risk hurting yourself. Make sure to warm up properly as a way to ease into a workout. A warm-up slowly increases your body temperature and promotes blood flow to the muscles. It can also help reduce muscle soreness after exercise and reduce the risk of injury.
Try some light walking or jogging for a few minutes to get your heart rate up. Once you’ve warmed up, you can proceed with stretching. Stretching can improve flexibility and range of motion. Here are knee-specific exercises that you can use to warm up and cool down:
- Knee bends
- Thigh contractions
- Straight leg raises
- Hamstring stretches
A cool down is a slower and less intense workout that may incorporate some slow stretches. Once you finish a run, walk briskly for five to ten minutes to cool down. If you completed your walking route, a ten-minute leisurely walk counts as a cool-down exercise.
Listen To Your Body
Don’t attempt to soldier through intense pain. If you feel any intense or sharp knee pain during a workout, it’s safer to stop the exercise. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. If you experience pain, your form or technique may be incorrect. In some cases, you may be trying to perform too far above your physical activity level. Improving your physical body is a gradual process, and trying to rush it may result in injuries.
If you have an underlying condition like osteoarthritis or a past injury, you may need to adjust your workout to reduce pressure on your knee. Instead of high-impact activities like running or contact sports, consider swimming and other low-impact exercises. It can also help to consult a sports medicine physician to get a better understanding of what exercises are safe for you.
Wear Protective Gear
If you participate in contact sports or winter activities, it’s wise to wear protective equipment, like an elastic compression sleeve or knee pads.
A nasty fall can damage the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your knee. In extreme cases, it can result in a fracture. These protective devices provide extra support to your joints during movement and reduce the risk of a career-ending injury. It’s also best to wear shoes specifically designed for the type of sport you play.
Visit A Doctor
A sports medicine physician or orthopedic doctor is in the best position to help you take good care of your knee. If you sustain an acute injury, they can diagnose and treat you with ease. They can also teach you how to administer first-aid during emergencies and recommend easy fixes for mild injuries.
Beyond administering treatment, a sports medicine physician can recommend specific exercises based on your needs and fitness goals. Since they already know your medical history, your primary healthcare provider is one of the best people to help you. They can determine which workouts are suitable and craft a personalized exercise program. If needed, they can work with other specialists to design a comprehensive plan covering nutrition and exercise.
Knee Experts In Naples, FL
Given its importance in overall mobility and stability, knee pain can create a setback in your life in many ways. If you sustain a knee injury or struggle with pain management, it’s best to seek medical help right away.
For state-of-the-art joint care, visit the experts at Joint Replacement Institute today. Our orthopedic specialists can diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions affecting the knee. We can also devise a physical therapy program to get you back to the life you enjoy.
Should you require surgery, our knee surgeons can perform minimally invasive procedures to get you back and running in no time. We take pride in using innovative technologies and techniques to speed up the recovery process.
To schedule an appointment with our providers, call us today at (239) 261-2663 (BONE) or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to keeping your knees in top shape!