How to Protect Your Knees During Exercise

How to Protect Your Knees During Exercise

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body. Whether you’ve stayed injury-free or you suffer from aches and pains in your knees due to injury or disease, you can take steps to protect your knees during exercise so you maintain a healthy body.

You may not think of a chiropractor when you think of your knees, but the chiropractors at McGowan Medical Centers specialize in helping people heal after surgery, injury, or an accident. They also treat patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Here, our team offers some helpful tips to ensure you protect your knees while you exercise.

Choose the right cardio

Regular cardiovascular exercise is great for maintaining a healthy weight and heart. However, running is tough on your knees and can put unnecessary stress on them.

Opt for cardio such as swimming, rowing, cycling, or walking. These exercises are low impact and do not put direct stress on your knees. Make sure you adjust your rowing and cycling machines for the optimal position; otherwise, you can put undue stress on your knees.

If you have your heart set on running, try to limit knee stress by only running on flat surfaces. Wearing the proper shoes also helps protect your knees.

Avoid awkward twists in your hips and knees

Knee injuries can result from doing a running/jumping/slowing down combo. This type of movement is common when playing basketball, tennis, soccer, football, or even downhill skiing.

Posture is important. During exercise, you want your hips centered over knees and your knees centered over your ankles. If you do a twist while in motion, you risk tearing your ACL, one of the major ligaments in your knee. Be mindful of your posture during your workout, and avoid sudden twists or jarring movements.

Work all of your muscles

Focus on working all of the muscles that connect to your knees. This gives you the greatest amount of support and shock absorption. Make sure you incorporate exercises that work these muscle groups:

To work your quads, lie on your back and bend one knee so your foot is flat on the floor. Keep your other leg straight while raising your foot off the floor. Repeat this leg raise motion with each leg 10-15 times for three sets.

You can gently work your hamstrings by standing behind the back of a chair to steady yourself. Bending at your knee, raise one heel back and up toward your buttocks. Repeat on the other leg. The goal is to bring your heel as close to your buttocks as possible.

Doing side leg raises can work your hip abductors and adductors. Lie on your side and bend your bottom leg for support. Keep your top leg straight as you raise it up to a 45-degree angle. Switch sides so you work both legs.

Buy new shoes

If you can’t remember the last time you bought new gym sneakers, you’re overdue for a new pair. Following the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine’s guidance on signs of wear, here are a few signs you need to look for.

First, look at the outer sole. If it has worn away to the midsole or there is more than a 4mm difference in wear across the sole, it’s time to replace your shoes. A worn away outer sole cannot provide you with a flat and stable surface. This puts you at risk of unexpected rotation.

Next look at the midsole, which provides you with support and cushioning. Typically midsoles last 300-500 miles of running, or 45-60 hours of basketball or aerobics.

The heel counter — typically a plastic insert that reinforces the heel cup — is what helps hold your foot in place and provide support. If it feels flexible or collapsed to one side, it’s time to replace your shoes.

Help your knees feel better

If you’ve previously experienced a knee injury, you need to be even more vigilant in protecting your knees during exercise. Before and after you start a new workout routine, it’s a good idea to partner with a knowledgeable team.

The chiropractors McGowan Medical Centers in Jacksonville, Florida, can evaluate your injury and current condition. They work with you to create a treatment plan that can include physical therapy, massage, pressure treatment, and gentle manipulations. Schedule a consultation today by calling the office or booking online.

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