From the monthly archives: "April 2004"

While flexibility is important for joint opening, strengthening the surrounding knee musculature contributes to improved stability, along with gains in power, speed and balance:

Knee strengthening
Knee strengthening

Wall squats and lunges (graduating from static to walking) can strengthen leg muscles (along with glutes and other surrounding pelvic muscles), as they are compound movements (groups of muscles working together).

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Finally if you have an underlying foot dysfunction (overpronation or over-supination) you increase your susceptibility to knee injury due to faulty biomechanics and diminished proprioception. Foot dysfunction can be helped immensely by a good orthotic shoe insert.

Custom made orthotics to help knee pain

Custom made orthotics to help knee pain

Custom orthotics are best, and for that you will need to visit a professional (like a sports chiropractor or podiatrist). Don’t let your knee pain or injury become chronic, as that can lead to irreversible damage requiring surgery. Follow these tips and keep your athletic performance pain free.

Flexibility is important to joint health, and never more true than with the knee. While undoubtedly every person is different, most people can benefit from some form of stretching, as it is the most effective way to preserve the ‘openness’ of the knee joint. Watch the video below to see four increasing levels of quadriceps stretches. Find the one that’s right for you, and gently open the knee by stretching this main knee extensor regularly:

Flexibility is not the same as instability, so over-stretching is not recommended. Light stretching of the muscles surrounding the knee—which includes the hamstrings and calf muscles (gastrocnemius & soleus)—will do your knees a world of good.

*Some athletes actually perform better in tightness (power sports or positions), so consult with your athletic trainer if you are uncertain about flexibility/non-flexibility needs.

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Many athletes have previous ligament injuries, not bad enough for surgery, but enough to cause pain and stability concerns. Since ligament tissue does not recover from deformation, any previous sprain can leave an athlete’s ligaments a bit looser than before. In these cases, a simple knee brace might make all the difference.

Knee brace

Knee brace

Watch the NBA or NFL and you will see loads of braces: Some athletes have even had complete tears repaired, and thus a brace can prolong a playing career.

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One of the most important things you can do to strengthen and stabilize the knee is to condition the proprioceptive system. One-legged balance is a great place to start, but you might want to learn the ‘short foot‘ beforehand.

Proprioception is a major part of our balance mechanism, and so conditioning it will improve your ability to cut, turn, jump and land without one part of your body going one way, while another goes the other way. Proprioceptive training is good prevention, period (and good rehab too!).

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When suffering a knee injury you want to ice the knee as soon as possible. Place an ice bag on the area of pain (use a paper towel between your skin and the ice) for fifteen minutes. Do this one to several times per day and visit a sports doctor ASAP

Ice knee pain

Ice knee pain

Ice breaks inflammation; in some cases it may be enough to remove pain completely, even if only for a few hours. You may still need to be evaluated by a sports chiropractor, however. If you are an athlete, the next step is for you:

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