Preventing Knee Pain

Injuries can be a real buzz-kill!  Not only do they set you back on your exercise routine, possibly hurt quite a bit, but they can mentally set you back as well.  In my experience, knees are one of the most common kinds of injury.

The best way to protect yourself from this injury or joint deterioration is to make the knee as strong as possible. That seems fair enough, but to achieve this you must work smarter not harder.

While your legs contain some of the biggest muscles in your body, they are only as strong as your knee. Knees are really nothing but little tiny joints with no apparent muscle. While your legs can be strong and oversized, they are nothing without their partners-in-crime, the knees.

To keep your knees strong, let’s always consider these points before running or doing intense cardio:

  1. Are you wearing adequate shoes? Do they have more than 500 miles on them? If so, replace them!
  2. Don’t over do it.  Consider taking a couple days off a week from running or your intense cardio.
  3. Add stretching to your daily routine. Only stretch after you have warmed up and your body temp is elevated from your activity. When you stretch cold muscles, you are more likely to contribute to muscle strains, tears, and other injuries.
  4. Never Bounce while stretching, this will do only damage.

Now let's go over some basic daily stretches you should do to help alleviate or avoid that bothersome knee pain.

Quad standing stretch: While standing on one leg, bend your opposite knee and hold your ankle behind your body.  Keep your standing leg straight (without locking out your knee) and slowly pull on the opposite ankle until you feel the stretch in the front of your thigh/hip/knee area on that leg.

Basic Full Leg Stretch: Sit on the ground with both legs straight out ahead of you and slowly lean forward with your chest until you can go no lower. Hold this stretch as long as you can comfortably, release up, then repeat again.

Hip flexor stretch: This one is important and quite easy. Get in lunge position, while making sure upper body is straight. Push your back leg straight while maintaining form and stay as low as possible. This opens and stretches your hip flexors, this will help prevent injuries!

You should allot 15 minutes a day to stretching. Remember to breath while stretching to help increase blood flow to the muscle, relax your body, and allow your body to reap the full benefits of the stretch.

While there are many other stretches you can do, in my opinion these are the easiest to start incorporating into your daily schedule while still being very affective. Injury prevention is just as important as training…because as you know you can’t train when you’re injured!

You can apply these injury prevention techniques to other sensitive areas like shoulders or elbows by finding warm up stretches and exercises to help keep your joints in good working order. Take this “pre-workout” strategy seriously and incorporate it as a regular part of your training and your results will come a lot faster! Working smarter is just as important as working harder!