Weekly Wellness: Knee Health
COLUMBIA — I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you to learn that knee injuries are one of the most common injuries a person can experience. Men, women, children, elderly – everyone can be susceptible to knee injuries.
Sprains, strains, bursitis, dislocations, fractures, meniscus tears, and overuse injuries - these are all types of knee injuries. Knee injuries are generally caused by twisting or bending force applied to the knee, or a direct blow, such as from sports, falls, or accidents. Risk factors for knee injury include overuse, improper training, having osteoporosis, and playing high-impact sports that involve sudden changes in direction.
So how can we protect our knees? Here are some exercises you can do to help keep your knees healthy:
Keep your hips strong: to work on your hip strength, you can do single-leg raises while lying on your side, as well as side-lying clamshells.
Keep your glutes strong: performing glute bridges are a great exercise to work the glutes, hamstrings, and the lower back.
Work on balance: stand like a flamingo! Standing on one leg for a specific amount of time (starting easy with 10 seconds and then working up from there). Once you find balancing on one leg while on the floor for :45 or :60 relatively easy, try standing on an unsteady surface like a balance pad or pillow. Do the same balancing progression with time.
Perform dynamic exercises: most of our movements tend to be forward/backward. Try incorporating lateral movements (like side steps) into your exercise routine.
Plyometrics: performing plyo drills like hopping in place, then hopping over a line, then progressing to box jumps, are all great for your knee strength.
Agility drills: perform quick steps/movements in all different directions (especially laterally). Focus on landing on each leg independently.
I cannot stress enough how important form is when performing any and all of these drills. Use mirrors, watch what you’re doing. Have someone else watch what you’re doing. When a client breaks form, there is a real concern that an injury may occur.
Humans are living much longer lives these days. Your knees need to last you a long time. Keep them healthy.