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SPORTS MEDICINE · PHYSICAL THERAPY · PHYSIATRY

Protect Your Knees During Workouts

Protect Your Knees During Workouts

Some of your favorite exercises may be more harsh on your knees than others. While you may
not realize their effects, exercises that have a lot of repetitive motions or require swift
movements can leave you prone to injury. The nature of such workouts can wreak havoc on the joints and the surrounding structure around your knees if you do not take the necessary safety
precautions. Which exercises may be contributing to your knee pain, you may ask? They include
the following:

Spinning. Spin classes have gained great popularity over the past few years. With so many
boutique studios putting their “spin” on these classes, many are partaking in this form of
exercise. The constant peddling required by cycling provides for great cardio exercise and helps
you tone your muscles. You can also add resistance to imitate riding up a hill and really build up
your workout. All this repetitive motion, however, can wreak havoc on your knees and leave
you susceptible to injuries if you don’t take certain safety precautions.

knee pain

Running. You probably know many who have enrolled into a marathon or 5k this past year.
Running provides for great cardio workout and helps you lose weight. Due to its repetitive
nature, however, the stress of running can also be harmful on your knees. The shock absorbed
by your joints can impact your knee, especially if you are a long-distance runner, run every day
or run on hard surfaces. Runner’s knee is a common condition in which there is irritation where
the kneecap, otherwise known as the patella, rests on the thighbone.

TRX. This probably comes with no surprise given the high-intensity nature. Jumps, lunges and
deep squats can hurt the knees if they’re done in such swift motions as performed in TRX.
These types of activities done repetitively and intensely can put high stress on your body and
joints.

You probably like to partake in at least one of the aforementioned activities. If so, protect your
knees with these tips:

Increase your workout slowly. It may be tempting to push yourself to hit high goals. In doing
so, you are putting yourself at high risk for injuries. Build up your workout in increments. Ease
into hill training, whether its outdoors or on an elliptical, to ease the pressure off your patella.
Increase your workout by 10% every week to safely increase your workout. Ensure you have a
rest day once a week so as to not overextend yourself.

Minimize the impact on your knees. Running is a very high impact activity. Your feet and knees
absorb all the shock as your sneakers hit the pavement, which places a lot of stress on your
joints and can eventually cause wear and tear. When you can, run on softer surfaces, such as
grass or a dirt track, to ease the pressures off your body. Also, try running “softly,” a technique
where you are lighter on your feet by landing midfoot and take longer strides to reduce the
shock on your body. Additionally, minimize your time running downhill or uphill as it places
extra stress on your knees and opt for flat surfaces instead. If you have an injury, ensure that
you have properly healed before getting back out for a run. Do not push through the pain as it
will cause further injury.

Stretch often. Minimize your risk of your injury by stretching before and after every workout.
You want to ensure that your muscles properly warm up prior to your exercise and afterwards
to reduce muscle fatigue, soreness and stiffness. Stretching can also be seen as a period of
relaxation after an intense workout as you can focus on your breathing as well. Target your
hamstrings and quads and hold your stretches for 30 seconds to ensure you are adequately
giving your muscles enough time to warm up.

Watch your knees. Do not overextend them. Make sure that when you are bending your knees
for exercises such as squats, your knees do not go past your toes; doing so will place extra
pressure on them. Avoid lunges as they can add extra stress to the knee and exacerbate the
pain. On the flip side, when you don’t have an injury or pre-existing condition, lunges are
actually quite helpful in preventing knee pain.

Slow Down. Don’t push yourself outside of your comfort zone – literally. If you are
uncomfortable and whatever activity you are engaging in is causing you more pain, stop. Pain is
your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Slow down your walking pace,
especially if you are rushing to work. Allot yourself more time to transit to your final
destination. This way, you don’t have to overextend your stride to walk faster to get to where
you need to be.

Ensure you are wearing the proper shoes. If you’re wearing the same running shoes as you
were a year ago, you are putting yourself at risk of injury. Depending on how hard you land
your strides, your weight and the surfaces you run on, your running shoes should be replaced
once they’ve hit a maximum of 500 miles – sooner if you land hard on your feet. If your shins
are sore after a run or if you’re feeling pain in your knees, it could be time to swap them out
and replace them for a new pair. Another good indicator? Look at the treads on the bottom of
your shoes. If they look worn, they are worn.

Monitor your weight. Extra weight on your body will increase your risk of knee pain and place
extra stress on your frame and joints. In fact, every pound of excess weight places
approximately four pounds of extra pressure on your knees. Shedding even as little as ten
pounds can make a difference in alleviating your pain.

If you are still experiencing knee pain after following the RICE method (rest, ice, massage and
elevation), it is important to see a physician for a proper diagnosis. Call us at (646) 665-7109 to
schedule an appointment today and get to the roof of your discomfort.

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