What causes knee injuries and weakness?
Knee injuries can occur for countless reasons. It could be your age, exercises, workouts, the sports you play, falls, or other accidents.
We can’t tell you the cause of your pain because we have no idea. But you do, and you can figure it out for yourself by reading on.
Some factors that link to knee injuries include:
- Improper training
- Having osteoporosis
- Playing high-impact sports encompassing fast and sudden changes in direction
Without further ado, here are the three ways you can help prevent knee injuries and relieve knee pain
1. Wear fitting shoes
A quick and simple tip: wear comfy shoes made for running or playing your sport. Soccer? Wear cleats. Running? Get custom soft, absorbent soles. All these little things create the biggest difference in the long run! Your quads and knees will thank you.
Wear suitable shoes that fit perfectly and are right for the kind of sport or exercise you’re performing. Doing so will help your legs maintain proper alignment and balance. In the end, this helps prevent knee injuries.
2. Don’t forget to stretch
You should always stretch your leg muscles before and after engaging in any physical activity (whether serious athletic training or fun recreation).
We recommend trying these stretches
These are pretty easy stretches to do; you don’t need any fancy gear. Just your body! According to Doctor Jo, a Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy, these are three effective stretches to help relieve knee pain.
Stretch 1: Heel Slide
This stretch helps you flex and bend your knees, enabling you to loosen up your joints and muscles while strengthening your hips, leg, ligaments, and tendons.
How to do:
- Lay on the ground facing up and prop your knees up
- Slide your foot out
- Come back up
Stretch 2: Butterfly stretch
This stretch helps you stretch and relieve your groin area. Although your groin muscles don’t necessarily come across the knee joint, they can affect how you walk and cause pain in that joint when they’re tight and not functioning correctly.
How to do:
- Sit down, put your feet together and let your knees drop out to the side
- Keep your back straight and lean forward while pushing your elbows down to your thigh
- If you need to stretch better, bring your heels in
Stretch 3: Hip Flexor Stretch
This stretch helps out your quad muscles. Again, it doesn’t necessarily cross over the knee joint, but it affects how your body works and how you walk. If it’s tight, it can cause hip and knee tightness and pain.
How to do:
- Get in a lunge position
- The side you want to stretch is going to stay down.
- Bring your other leg forward (so it looks like you’re in a lunge), keep your upper body nice and straight.
- Then lead forward with your hips until you feel the stretch.
We could sit here and type out what you have to do in extreme detail, but it’d be a lot easier if you see live demonstrations with your own eyes.
Here’s a video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT85Ju0DuyU
The video is ten minutes long with ten different stretches. However, the marked times are down below, so you can skip ahead to the stretches listed.
You’ll see proper form and how to stretch correctly. Check it out after you’ve read this blog so you can relieve some knee pain!
Heel slide stretch begins at 1:57
Butterfly stretch begins at 7:45
Hip flexor stretch begins at 8:38
3. Warm-up before physical activity
These warm-up exercises are nothing out of the ordinary, but they sure work wonders!
Exercise 1: Take a walk in the park or around your neighborhood
You can help strengthen your leg muscles by going on a short walk and doing light exercises. A light walk can range from ten to twenty minutes.
Exercise 2: Single leg stance
Balance is important because it works those smaller, more delicate muscles not only in your hips but your knees as well. Not so great balance is usually a sign of weaker muscles. You can strengthen them by doing balance exercises. Stand next to something sturdy just in case you need some assistance.
How to do:
- Stand on one foot, then balance
Exercise 3: Step-ups
You can also help strengthen your knees by slowly walking up and down a flight of stairs. Try three sets of five reps each. You work your hamstrings, quads, and calves, which all work together.
How long should you perform these stretches and exercises?
It’s different for everyone depending on your diagnosis, how long you’ve had it, and how your body reacts. We can’t give you an exact, solid number because it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
But, in general, rehab exercises should be done every day.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, they recommend:
4 – 6 reps if you’re looking to gain back strength in your muscles
8 – 12 reps for general strengthening
10 – 15 reps for more for muscular endurance
However, these are based upon regular exercises, not considering injuries. You can break these exercises up two-to-three times a day in segments of five to ten minutes each, which comes out to about thirty minutes of exercises per day.
All of these tips are meant to relieve knee pain. If the pain persists, it’s best if you get an official opinion from your doctor or physical therapist so they can get down to the root of the problem!
Want more personal 1:1 care with exercises and workouts tailored just for you?
If you’re reading this, you’re likely dealing with some sort of knee injury.
If you’d like personal 1:1 care or want to learn more, please contact us at (410) 946-1672, or click here. We’ll get you in touch with one of our dedicated professionals. At True Sports Physical Therapy, your health is always front of mind! It’s our mission to help you get off the sidelines and back on your feet in the fastest and safest way possible.