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How to prevent knee injuries

Traumatic knee injuries are most common among athletes, young and old. Knees take the brunt of high-impact exercise over a lifetime, so it is important to take a good look at form and strengthening techniques before hitting the gym, field or court.

Susan Jordan, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon at Piedmont, recommends focusing on using proper technique when exercising or playing sports. Working on form and strengthening target muscle groups helps prevent injury to the knees. Professional fitness trainers and coaches can also provide guidance in this area.

Exercises to help prevent knee injury

Dr. Jordan recommends the following to prevent knee injury:

Core and abdominal muscle strengthening. The body’s core encompasses a large variety of muscle groups, including the stomach, lower back, hip flexors and buttocks. They all play an important role in keeping the body strong and stable. Options for core strengthening include sit-ups, crunches, planks, yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi

Hip and quadriceps strengthening. The hip flexors and quad muscles play a key role in walking, running and even standing. Keeping these muscles strong will help with balance, speed and endurance. Squats, lunges and leg lifts are great ways to strengthen these big muscles groups.

Dr. Jordan says there are specific ACL injury prevention programs being implemented across the country for athletes that teach proper jumping, landing, strengthening and stretching techniques.

Are knee braces helpful for preventing injury?

Dr. Jordan believes knee braces are not necessary for most people as a preventative measure.

“Some patients find that a compressive knee sleeve feels comfortable, but it is not usually a necessity,” she says. “Stretching, weight training, and cardio exercise are really the key to musculoskeletal health.”

For more information on bone, muscle and joint health, click here

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