Suffering from knee pain or injuries? You’re not alone.
Knees are one of the most problematic areas of the body. Injuries can creep up on you or happen suddenly. Thankfully there is plenty you can do to reduce problems occurring.
Whether you’re recovering from a knee injury or trying to prevent one, the same training philosophy applies. There are 3 key points you need to focus on – flexibility, strength and not over training.
This forms the basis of our 3 step knee injury prevention plan:
To prevent injuries, stretching the muscles surrounding the knee is crucial. You need to focus on the hip and thigh muscles: the gluteals, hip abductors, knee flexors and extensors. Here are some good stretching exercises for the glutes, abductors, and knee flexors.
Follow the usual guidelines of stretching i.e. warming up before exercise until you break a sweat, stretching each muscle group at least twice, and stretching after your workout to cool down. You could also use a foam roller to get your quads and glutes back to functioning their best.
As flexibility naturally declines with age, and can be tricky to regain, it’s worth making stretching a key part of your regular workout programme.
Strengthening the muscles surrounding the knees is very important in preventing knee injuries. Concentrate exercises on the hip muscles and hip abductors, knee joint, knee extensors (quadriceps), and knee flexors (hamstrings).
Strengthening these muscles should involve resistance exercises, such as utilizing weight machines, or resistance bands.
Perform each exercise in reps of 10, working up to three sets, resting for at least 30 seconds between each rep. Remember performing the exercises correctly is more important than the weight you’re lifting or amount of reps.
Also consider using bodyweight exercises such as lunges and squats. These utilize multiple muscle groups and can be done anywhere.
3. AVOID OVER TRAINING
The final key to preventing knee injuries is to avoid overtraining. Decisions here can be obvious: for example, if you have knee pain, running will exacerbate the problem.
Choosing a low-impact exercise such as swimming or using an elliptical-trainer will be a sensible choice for a few weeks.
Aiming for variety or ‘cross training’ will help, as well as alternating between weight-bearing and non-weight bearing workouts.
Finally, check your shoes. Running shoes should be replaced every 300 miles, as the shock absorption is usually insufficient by then.
Ensure you use proper equipment, and speak to a doctor or sports physio if problems persist.
I would definitely agree with stretching. Stretch loads after every workout. Also think about using foam rollers. They worked really well on my quad strain, though I know it might be more tricky to roll on your knees.
Thank you - a good guide. i suffer from bad knees and found that changing my trainers helped, as well as stretching before and after running. I never thought to strengthen and will add some exercises in.
this is really useful - the knees have been suffering for a while and I've been trying to ignore it. I will be taking some action.