10 tips to avoid knee injury

Problems in this joint can seriously limit the functional capacity of the patient, due to pain and inability to move.

Thanks to the knees, the body can lift, walk, run, bend, jump or turn. It is a very complex joint, whose problems can be caused by various causes: from a blow or sudden movement, which can cause a sprain or strain, to age, obesity, some rheumatic diseases, wearing inappropriate footwear or the practice of some sports, such as soccer or skiing.

When doing sports, you should avoid running too intensely without adequate physical preparation, as it can seriously damage our knees, and rush long distances without carrying out proper training, which should always be gradual and according to our physical condition.

Among the most common knee injuries and problems are sprains, strains or tears of muscles or tendons, tendinitis -a pain in the front of the knee that worsens when going up and down stairs or slopes-, injuries from meniscus, possible bone fractures and dislocation of the patella. Neglecting the knees can have very negative and annoying consequences.

Here are some tips to avoid knee injury:

1. Pay attention to your diet. 

Your diet must be balanced and rich, especially in vitamins A, C, D, calcium and Omega-3 fatty acids. Also, drink plenty of water and rehydrate after exerting yourself.

2. Control your weight. 

Keep in mind that each extra kilo exerts approximately five extra kilos of pressure on the kneecap when going down or upstairs, and a loss of 5 kg reduces the symptoms associated with knee pain by 50%.

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3. Exercise, but with caution. 

The most recommended moderate exercise is swimming, pedaling or walking. But you should always do a good warm-up before starting, and stretching and cooling exercises when finished. When necessary, always wear appropriate protective equipment such as knee pads.

4. Maintain a good muscle tone. 

There are a number of physical activities such as cycling -also static- or swimming, which will allow you to strengthen the muscles, especially the quadriceps, without overloading the joints. It is better to avoid running and jumping sports; and in the case of choosing to run, it is advisable to do it for a smooth and smooth surface such as a grassy path, instead of cement. Wearing a compression knee sleeve might lower the impact on your joints and help control any pain.

5. Choose the right shoes. 

When doing sports, your footwear must support the foot well and provide the necessary cushioning for the activity you are doing. In daily life, it is better not to wear an excessive heel or too soft or worn soles, because, in addition to pain and deformity in the feet, this shoe can overload and damage the knees.

6. Use the knee pads. 

Knee pads are a very suitable therapeutic solution to prevent and treat injuries or pain in this joint. Go to the pharmacy, where the professional will guide you about the product that best suits your needs, pain, or the physical activity you are going to carry out or the support you need. Hot/cold therapies are also highly recommended to relieve pain and discomfort related to trauma, fractures, strains that affect the knee.

7. Take care of yourself on long trips. 

Get in and out of the car with caution to protect your knees, and on long trips - also on the bus, train, plane - make sure to get up every two hours to move and stretch your legs. And if you work sitting, take breaks every hour or make small leg movements to prevent muscle atrophy.

8. You can resort to certain medications. 

Painkillers, such as paracetamol, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen are also a measure against pain, but their taking should always be prescribed by a doctor.

9. Go to the doctor as soon as you feel pain. 

If your knee starts to hurt, see your doctor as soon as possible to prevent serious injury. Also, before doing risk sports, it would be recommended that you undergo a medical examination to make sure that your knees are in optimal condition. 

10. Do not resume your usual activities until the doctor allows it.