Although knee injury can affect any person, athletes are more susceptible. Their careers involve strenuous activities that may end up straining the knee muscles and cartilages leading an injury. The injuries are more pronounced for runners and people who play contact sports such as football and rugby.
For swimmers, the number of knee related injuries are lower.it is also important to note that women athletes are more likely to injure their knees than their male counterparts. The scientific explanation behind this is yet to be fully explained, but some experts relate it to the wide pelvis in women which puts more pressure on their knees when they land on the ground during sport.
To prevent injuries which at times lead to diseases such as arthritis, an athlete should observe the following;
This may seem pretty obvious, but some athletes may get caught up in the pressure of performing and forget to eat the recommended food. Food that is rich in calcium, vitamin C, and vitamin D is always advised. Remember the knee is a joint that is made up of bones, a lubricant fluid known as synovial and cartilages. To strengthen the bones, proper diet is essential.
While still at diet, avoid food that causes joint inflammations. Most of these are the foods that contain saturated fats. Besides causing inflammation, they can also worsen arthritis. Rather, go for foods with omega three fatty acids as they have anti-inflammatory properties.
Strengthen your thigh and hip muscles
All the muscles surrounding the knee are very crucial, if they are weak, you may suffer from a knee injury. Thigh muscles, gluteus, and rectus femora should all be made stronger through exercise. Exercise such as weight lifting will increase your muscle strength. Lowering the chances of injuring your knees.
Always warm up before engaging in any sport
You may feel that a given routine has become a no-brainer and no hassle at all for your body. However, no matter how easy a task may seem to you, warming up saves your joint lots of pain. During a warm-up, the synovial fluid in your knees because less viscous. As a result, it offers better lubrication and smooth motion when you get to the main activity.
Muscles work best when they are warm. A warm up will increase the cardiovascular activity and the pulmonary activity as well. Enough blood will be supplied to your legs and other parts, and all the muscles and joints will have a higher temperature that is needed for efficient performance.
Aim at being flexible
A combination of flexible ankle joints, glutes, and hip muscles lower the risk of knee injury. This is because, with all the critical muscles and joints flexible, the knee joint will reach its full range of motion. To maintain this excellent performance, you should do exercises that aim at strengthening your ankle joint and hip joints as well. All the joints should be flexible because the failure of one may strain the knee as you strive to keep up.
Do not strain during intensive training
When you have overstrained, the pain in your muscles lasts longer than normal. Overtraining can lead to a more complicated knee problem. While being strong is a priority, focus on smaller less complex procedures and adhere to them for a while until you can progress to a more complicated routine. Overtraining may end up pushing your joints to a point where they cannot handle. If you had a previous knee injury, activities such as swimming and cycling are advisable.
Maintain a healthy weight and wear the right shoe
Excessive weight overworks your joints as they try to support you. To avoid a lot of unnecessary tension, keep your weight as per your BMI (Body Mass Index). Wearing the right shoe size reduces the problems of over- and under-pronation which in return reduces the risk of injuring your knee joint.
Do single leg work exercise and hamstring stretch.
The single leg work is simple and aims at strengthening knee stabilizers especially the VMO and the Gluteal. The exercise will also balance the strength of your left and right knees giving you more stability when playing or running. The hamstrings are the hip extensors that will enhance your posterior balance strength.
Do not stop instantly, slow down
Avoid sudden stops just because the last whistle has been blown or because you have touched the finishing line. Allow your body temperature to fall slowly as you pace down and the blood circulation to lower gradually. Sudden stops can cause your knees to stiffen up and cause a lot of pain.
Stronger and healthy knees mean that as an athlete you have a real short of winning a gold medal, becoming the best. So as you exercise, remember not to overdo it. Follow the above steps not just for the gold but better health.