If you don’t have some sort of knee pain yet, you probably will. 15 million Americans visit their orthopedists every year for knee pain. A vast majority of athletes, regular exercisers, and simply middle-aged patients are diagnosed with a torn ACL, runner’s knee, or arthritic knee joints.With the knee being such a common place for injury, it’s important to know the best ways to prevent and treat knee injuries.
The first thing to understand is that it is much easier to adjust your daily routine to prevent knee injury than to deal with a continuously troublesome knee. The knee joint has a tendency to degenerate much more quickly after just one injury and will likely experience more issues in the future.
It’s important to keep active on healthy knees. Playing sports or running, which are normally thought of as high impact, are actually better for your knee joints if they’re already healthy. Running on already injured knees, however, is detrimental.
Keep all of your leg muscles strong, not just your quads and glutes. While squats are OK, squatting with large weights will definitely help degenerate your knee joint. Other exercises, like deadlifts, leg presses, or leg lifts, can work the same muscles without the negative impact on your knees. Remember, your knee joint is only designed to lift your body weight and they usually become arthritic after years of normal wear and tear.
Stretching after a workout, especially with a foam roller, will keep the tissues in the joint space from tightening and straining the joint. Though you may not realize it, muscles in your lower and mid back also can pull at your knee. Making sure your back is limber is important for avoiding stress on your knee joint.
Make sure you see an orthopedist as soon as you experience knee pain. Many athletes wait to come to NY Bone and Joint, believing that their knee pains are just part of their regular aches and soreness, but many end up needing surgery or long-term sports rehabilitation. ACL tearing, runner’s knee, and other common knee injuries will cause you discomfort before they become severe. Be proactive about your knee health.
Doing low impact workout routines will help rehabilitate already injured joints. Swimming and cycling are non-weight bearing, but intense workouts that could help preserve your joint’s cartilage. This will keep knee joints, particularly those that have experienced an ACL tear, from deteriorating. In this case, the bones may start rubbing against each other causing arthritis.
Dr. Leon Popovitz and Dr. Michael Mizhiritsky, along with their team of best-in-class orthopedic physicians, are known for their exemplary orthopedic surgical skill and best-rated physical medicine and rehabilitation program. This, along with their top in-office physical therapy and long-term sports rehabilitation processes, leads to athletes of all levels returning to their top physical potential. Contact us today to schedule a consult!