Did you know the knee is the largest and most easily injured joint in the body? Complex joints, to say the least, they take on two and half times your body weight, so it’s easy to see how they could be feeling stiff, swollen or bruised. Add to that any sport or exertion and you place even more strain on the complex joint. However, don’t despair, even with spring sports underway, follow these preventative tips to keep not only yourself but the rest of your family feeling healthy and strong all season long.
Too much of a good thing can be bad for your health
We know this to be true, as youth sports which account for an estimated 2.5 million annual injuries happen primarily because of overuse. Overuse injuries are largely preventable which is why we recommend cross-training and strengthening exercises that are kind to ever growing growth plates. *According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, growth-plate injuries, account for 15 percent of all childhood fractures.
Strength training is all about the proper form, but did you know how you plant your feet during pivotal sports is just as important? Whether you lose your balance, are being held by an opponent, or standing with feet placed wide – these stances can be considered unfavourable to your lower extremities. The reason being are they put you in what we physiotherapists like to call, “The position of no return,” where the knee falls medial (inward) to the hip and foot. [ii]
Go beyond the knee
Weak quadriceps can cause general pain to the patellar region otherwise known as your knee cap. If your medial quad (interior) lacks strength, it can allow the patella to track too far laterally. Strengthening the area of muscle inside your thigh known as the Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) can help this condition. A tight iliotibial band (IT), hamstrings, calf muscles, and weak hip flexors can also be to blame. Pain-free exercises such as leg extensions and pillow squeeze exercises can help alleviate pain and strengthen the surrounding tissues. Alternatively, you can visit your physiotherapist who can set you up with a full conditioning program.
Have questions about your knee pain? Visit our knee pain treatment page or book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists.