It's easy to take your knees for granted, despite the fact that they're responsible for supporting your entire body, and allowing you to take thousands of steps every day. For athletes, your knees are the joints that are expected to withstand the stress of sprinting, jumping, and suddenly changing direction. For everyday people, your knees help you walk to work, lift items, and bend to pick things up.
Although your knees are designed to remain healthy and stable, just like any other part of the body, they're vulnerable to problems. One ill-fated twist or wrong step could mean that you end up on crutches, wondering when you can get back to your daily routine.
Fortunately, knee injury prevention exercises might be able to help.
Preventing Knee Injuries
Although you might not be able to protect your body from every accident or injury-causing issue that you approach each day, you can take steps to strengthen the muscles, joints, and ligaments that hold your knee in place - reducing your risk of damage.
For some people, this means wearing knee compression sleeves around the joint while building up strength in the surrounding muscles, to ensure that the knee remains properly supported at all times. For others, it means speaking to your doctor about the kinds of things you can do to strengthen your legs, without doing further damage to a sore joint.
The following knee injury prevention exercises should help to build your muscles over time and improve your stability, so that you can protect yourself from the effects of long-lasting aches and pains.
1. Leg Press
Designed to build strength in your quads without placing any additional stress on your knee joint, a leg press can be done with the help of special gym equipment designed for knee injury prevention exercises. Your starting position should place your legs and torso at the perfect ninety-degree angle, and your aim should be to slowly lower the machine platform until your upper and lower legs make another ninety-degree angle. Push with the heels of your feet and quads to return to the starting position.
2. Hamstring Curl
If you strengthen your quads, then you'll also need to strengthen your hamstrings to avoid an imbalance. Adjust the machine you used for your leg press and lie face down, with the pad of the lever on the back of your legs, just beneath your calves. Keeping your torso flat, stretch out your legs, and grab the handles of the machine, then curl your lower legs up as far as possible without moving your thighs
3. Single Leg Stance
It may sound simple, but this easy balance helps to improve the strength and balance in your knee stabilizer muscles, making it crucial to any knee injury prevention exercises. Stand behind a chair or next to a wall, and slowly lift one leg away from the floor so you're balancing on just one leg. Try to stay balanced for as long as possible.
4. Calf Stretch
Strengthen your calves so that your knee doesn't have to take all of the impact every time you go for a run or workout. Keeping your right leg forward, and the foot flat against the floor, extend your left leg backwards, without bending the knee. Lean into the wall in front of you until you can feel the straight leg calf stretch, and hold the position for thirty seconds.