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Knee-Deep in Sports, Part 2: Preventing Knee Injuries

Preventative Care for Health Knees

Maintaining strong and healthy knees is key for anyone active in sports or regular physical activity. Strength training focusing on the quadriceps and hamstrings, like squats and lunges, enhances knee stability. Regular flexibility exercises, including stretching and yoga, improve joint mobility.

A thorough warm-up routine is essential to prepare the knees for exercise. Proper technique during sports activities helps avoid undue knee stress. Using knee compression sleeves can provide support and stability, reducing the risk of injury. Balancing training with adequate rest and recovery, including sufficient sleep and hydration, alongside a nutrient-rich diet, is also crucial for knee health.

Three effective yet lesser-known exercises to strengthen the knees is crucial for both athletic performance and everyday mobility.

  1. Terminal Knee Extensions (TKEs): TKEs focus on the quadriceps, vital for knee stability. This exercise requires a resistance band attached to a stable object at knee height. Standing with the band around the back of your knee, you gently extend the knee against the resistance, hold briefly, and then return to the starting position.

  2. Sliding Heel Bridges: This variation of the bridge exercise engages the hamstrings and glutes. Lying on your back with knees bent and a towel under your heels, you slide your feet away from your body while lifting your hips to form a straight line from shoulders to knees. Then, slide back to the starting position.

  3. Copenhagen Adduction Exercise: This exercise targets the inner thigh muscles. You support your body sideways, elevated on your elbow and foot, with the top leg resting on a bench and the lower leg hanging. Lift your lower leg to meet the bench, hold, and then lower it.

Consulting a professional, such as a doctor of acupuncture, manual therapist or sports medicine expert, can provide personalized guidance and care, ensuring that your knees remain healthy and functional throughout your sports career. Their expertise in injury prevention and tailored exercise plans can be invaluable in sustaining long-term knee health and athletic performance.

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