At Radiant Physiotherapy we often go on and on about how exercise is so amazingly fantastic for your health; and it’s true, it is.
Today, however, we’re going to address some of the perils of exercising, and discuss how to prevent exercise related injuries - especially in the knees. 3 things you need to prevent your next knee injury:
Develop your core control. Your core is the link between your upper and lower body and significantly impacts your coordination and the way movement forces are handled in your lower extremities. Keep your exercises functional, and consider planks and wood choppers to develop your core, instead of sit ups and leg lifts.
Develop your ankle mobility. For proper alignment and gait we need proper ankle movement. Ideally we want to see a symmetrical distance between your left and right ankle that is greater than 10 cm. If you’re coming up short, try stretching your calves. A great calf stretch is using a yoga block to stretch your calf in standing-its a passive stretch which means you get a deeper stretch.
Develop your hip strength – test yourself with a single leg squat. Can you keep your hip, knee, and ankle lined up? If not, consider exercises to strengthen your gluteal muscles, and practice that single leg squat motion - a vital component to running, stair climbing, and many sport activities.
Strengthening quads directly can sometimes be too much if you have existing knee pain. If you are completely pain free then I recommend doing knee extensions in sitting (with or with out resistance) then progress to squats, Lunges and Burpees. Our Physiotherapist can help customize which exercises are a good for you so if it feels painful don't do it, listen to your body and ask us we know ;)
A few principles:
Variety is not only the spice of life… it’s the spice of movement! An assortment of exercises is a great way to go; if you love the stair climber, for instance, change it up with the rowing machine. Big fan of the cable machine? Try working the same muscles with free weights or just plain old body weight – you’ll be surprised at how many “new” muscles you discover! In each case, listen to your body and don’t overdo it.
Consult with your Physiotherapist. Your Physiotherapist can help you identify those areas of mobility and stability that need to be improved for your specific body and activity. They can also help with some great hands-on techniques to speed up the process, decrease pain, and improve performance.