Knee injuries are common, particularly in high-intensity sports. We expect a great deal from this complex and often fragile joint. Our fast and sudden movement through multiple planes of motion coupled with load-bearing can take the knee joint past its capabilities resulting in catastrophic damage. Injury to this joint can range from a minor sprain to so much damage that a total knee replacement is required. Preventing knee injuries is tricky, particularly if you participate in high-intensity sports like basketball and soccer. The knee action is crucial to sports performance, and it is often pushed to its physical limits. While one cannot completely guard against knee injuries, there are several steps that you can take to ensure that your knee remains as healthy as possible.
The knee is incredibly complex in its structure and has defined ways in which it can move the lower leg. This hinge joint is formed by joining the upper leg bone (femur) and the two lower leg bones (tibia and fibula). As a hinge joint, the knee performs flexion and extension, which means that we can bend and straighten the leg. Further, this hinge joint is known as a modified hinge joint, which allows for a small amount of medial and lateral rotation. In this rotation, injuries may occur, as we take the knee past that “small amount” and make it excessive.
We don’t have a great deal of control around the structure of our knee and its age-related or disease-related changes. Still, regular exercise, healthy nutrition, and maintaining an appropriate body composition can go a long way in keeping the knee joint at an optimal state. What we do have control over are the muscles that act on the knee. By keeping these muscles strong and flexible, we can protect the knee joint. The thighs front contains several muscles (quadriceps) extending or straightening the leg at the knee and stabilizing the patella or kneecap. Three muscles act to flex or bend the leg at the thigh’s back, known collectively as the hamstrings. Another essential muscle is located just behind the knee joint (popliteus), which rotates the thigh bone so the knee joint can allow for flexion.
Several critical exercises can be done with resistance bands to strengthen the muscles that act on the knee joint. Keep in mind that your Physix Gear purchase includes a free eguide, which will take you through a series of beneficial exercises. Use your loop bands to complete lateral band steps and squats to strengthen your quadriceps and hamstrings while focusing on the correct knee position. Consider the variety of squats available; each body position offers a range of enhancing benefits for your legs, which in turn supports your knee’s function. Squats can take the form of plies, sumo, one-legged, and split squats, also known as lunges. Use your loop bands to complete single-leg kickbacks, which will strengthen your hamstrings, as well as your gluteal muscles.Like any injury, consult your health care team for an accurate diagnosis and treatment recommendation. When performing leg exercises, proper knee alignment is absolutely critical. Knees should be in line with your toes during squats and always bend at the hip first (think about pushing your hips back). Try to maintain your center of gravity over the middle of your feet. If you are unsure about your exercise performance’s correctness, consult a physiotherapist or personal trainer for proper guidance. By exercising your legs correctly, you will be more effective, and your fitness gains will be maximized.