Common Exercise-Related Knee Injuries and How to Avoid Them
An exercise-related injury can happen to anyone, regardless of your experience or fitness levels. Even walking or running on the treadmill can cause injuries to your knee. With proper care during exercise, you can sometimes prevent accidental damage to your knee joints.
Listed below are some common knee injuries related to exercises that you should know about:
1. Knee-joint Dislocation
Injuries sustained in accidents and falls can easily dislocate the patella. Usually, your knee will recover with rest, but in severe cases, an orthopedic doctor may need to perform a reduction, which returns the knee joint to its proper place, or surgery to prevent repeat dislocation.
2. Knee-bone Fractures
Knee anatomy shows that the knee joint is protected by the patella, commonly known as the kneecap. When you fall, your kneecap takes the first impact to shield the other knee parts, thus making it prone to fractures. Treatment of knee fractures includes surgery or immobilization of the area to heal the bone.
3. Knee-ligament Injury
This is the most common form of sports injury where your knee accidentally moves in an awkward or unnatural way that the ligament is unable to support such an extended movement. This causes the ligament to tear or stretch, which depends on the varying degree of seriousness of the injury.
4. Tear to the Knee Tendon
Another common knee injury is a tear of a knee-tendon, caused by activities such as jumping or running. It is primarily observed in middle-aged people restarting/starting their exercise routine. Improper landing after a jump can cause this injury to your knee. Such falls cause overextension in the tendon and a direct force to the front of the knee.
5. Meniscus tear
Meniscus tears occur most frequently in sports that require extensive knee-twist ranges and jumps. For example, soccer or football players regularly experience meniscus tears due to quickly changing directions while running in the field.
While it is good to stay fit and exercise, keeping the overall health of your knees in mind is essential to prevent minor/major accidents.
Here are a few tips for you to prevent knee injuries:
1. Wear shoes that fit comfortably! Good shoes help maintain proper leg alignment and provide overall balance, thus avoiding some injuries. If you have arthritis, your cartilage and joints are suffering from progressive damage, so use cushioned shoes that absorb the shock of hard surfaces. Finding the best shoe for you can take some trial and error.
2. Do warm-up exercises before starting. It is important to do easy stretches to prepare your muscles for intense movements. Practice leg-muscle stretches before intense activities to decrease the tension in the tendons.
3. Starting with low-impact exercises such as rowing or elliptical machines, rather than running, which can be a strong workout. Avoid over exertion to prevent a potential knee injury. Walking and swimming are good to begin exercising as they are low-impact. The stronger muscles will help your joints handle the stress by acting as shock-absorbers.
4. Choose a variety of exercises and alternate between your workouts to prevent the overuse of your knee joints.
5. Start your journey with core-strengthening free-hand exercises, where you start training with your own body weight instead of using weights. This can help build up your body’s endurance and prevent any knee injury when you gradually move up.
6. Maintaining a healthy body weight is extremely important to prevent knee injuries and conditions such as osteoarthritis. It has been proven that losing weight reduces knee pain and also slows down the rate of cartilage degeneration.
7. If you already have sustained an injury, take sufficient rest and seek physical therapy for relief.
If you are experiencing intense joint pain, stiffness, or discomfort, get in touch with Dr. Matthew D. Barber, M.D. by calling us at (251) 410-3600 or through our website. We would love to help you discuss your options, both surgical and non-surgical, and find out if joint replacement is the right option for you.
****While Dr. Barber focuses exclusively on the management of knee and hip problems with a focus on joint replacement procedures, he is proud to be a source of information for patients and has several specialist partners at ALABAMA ORTHOPAEDIC CLINIC who are available to treat any orthopedic condition.