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How to Avoid Knee Injuries

  Knee pain is a common complaint for middle-aged and older adults, and often results from persistent strains over many years or minor injuries early in life. Most knee injuries are caused by ligament sprains and cartilage tears, which result from certain types of movements that can be avoided. Other knee injuries are the result of consistent wear and tear on the joint caused from weak muscles around the knee or an irregular gait. In general, women are at a higher risk for both sports-related and non-athletic injuries to the knee, but anyone, regardless of gender or activity level, can benefit from behaviors that promote knee health.


  Avoid ACL or MCL tears in athletics. Tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or medial cruciate ligament (MCL) in the knee are common injuries in many sports. Avoid motions that may place you at high risk for tearing an ACL or MCL:

  Avoid twisting the knee while running or jumping, and crouch to avoid knee injuries while turning, pivoting and landing.

  Take care when slowing down from a sprint, or when making sharp changes in direction while running.

  Avoid contact sports in which your knee may be susceptible to blows, such as American football and rugby.

  Develop a healthy fitness routine for your knees.

  Do exercises that strengthen the leg muscles, such as stair climbing or uphill walking, to stabilize the knee and avoid placing too much pressure on the joint.

  Always warm up before exercising, and cool down afterward with light activity, such as walking.

  Stretch your quadriceps and hamstrings regularly, particularly after exercising, to alleviate tension on the knee.

  Avoid exercise that places too much strain on the knee. Increase the impact of your fitness routine gradually, particularly on high-impact activities, like running.

  Care for your knees in daily activities.

  Wear shoes that promote proper knee alignment. Well-fitting shoes should balance your foot and prevent the foot rolling inward. Check your shoe soles for normal wear, which should occur along the heel, outer edge and ball of the foot, and ask your doctor about orthopedic shoes if you experience abnormalities in your gait.

  Avoid hyper-extending the knee. Never stand with your knees locked, but instead allow a slight bend in your knee at all times when standing or walking.

  Adopt a plan for fitness and nutrition that helps you stay in shape. People who are overweight are at higher risk for knee injuries and other joint pain.

  Do well-rounded stretching of your legs regularly, even if you don¨t have a fitness routine. Daily stretching helps maintain healthy knees in your everyday activities.


  If you play a seasonal sport, engage in cross-training or weight training year round to maintain your knee strength and avoid injury during your usual season.

  If you feel knee pain developing, avoid further injury by resting, icing down your knee, using compression bandages and elevating the knee.

  Many adults think most knee pains in minors are just "growing pains" although we are sometimes correct, high school athletes can easily tear tendons and ligaments due to activity and stress put on there growing bodies. MRIs should be done if an athlete still has pain after a week¨s rest.


  Consult a doctor within 72 hours if you believe you have injured your knee. Take weight and pressure off of the knee immediately until you can receive professional consultation.

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