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Lower Limb Injury Prevention

Lower Limb Injury Prevention

Many years ago I decided to squat without warming up or going light to begin my workout. As I bent my knees and lowered my body for my first rep I felt an immediate sharp pain follow by a deafening ‘pop’. From that day on, I joined the many who deal with consistent knee pain with exercise. As I worked my way through my Chiropractic education I took a special interest in conquering knee injuries. I spent additional time thoroughly going over the anatomy, biomechanics, and common knee injuries. I researched rehab principles, the efficacy of surgical intervention, and the new cutting edge protocols.

Here are some great tips to keep knee pain at bay:

1) Proper Warm- Up

Sometimes the simplest advice is the most effective. In our busy lives often the gym or a run is squeezed into an already packed day. At times, a warm up is by-passed to hit our work-out quota. However, our bodies aren’t designed to jump right into full effort. Our muscles and joints need time to adapt and warm up. If we don’t allow time for our muscles to become pliable and our joints to warm up it can often lead to injury. A warm up can lubricate the joints, which activate the synovial fluid (fluid within the joint) to allow smoother gliding with our movements.

2) Fire Important Muscles

Many studies have found the importance of proper and efficient gluteal firing in decreasing knee pain. Research on Patello-femoral pain syndrome has found a decrease in strength and firing rate of the Gluteus Max and Gluteus Medius in association with general knee pain. ‘Turning on’ these muscles prior to maximal training effort can both decrease pain and increase athletic performance. Monster band walks and glute bridge are fantastic ways to get the Glutes firing in a way that won’t aggravate the knee.

3) Don’t forget about the hip and ankle

The knee on its own is a very simple joint. It moves in only one plane, flexing and extending the leg. Both the hip and ankle permit far greater range of motion which greatly increase the mobility of the lower limbs. If the hip/ ankle is injured or tight it may alter the normal movements of the lower body. The knee’s lack of ample mobility will take the brunt of this change and its inability to adapt creates many knee injuries.

4) Listen to your body

If the knee hurts consistently with a specific movement or activity stop that activity. It may seem very simple but often individuals don’t want to give up the sport they love. Taking a short break from the gym, basketball court, or ski hill doesn’t mean hanging up the sport for good. Rather, your body may need some time to allow for the inflammation to subside.

5) Muscle work

Muscular tightness is a huge culprit in most athletic injuries. Finding a professional who can properly locate and treat the aggravated tissue can be the catalyst the body needs to permanently heal a nagging injury. Treating the correct injured tissues is imperative to stop the knee pain at its source.