Proper athletic conditioning may prevent knee injuries

May 15, 2012

Topic: knee pain

Keeping the muscles that surround the knee strong and flexible may prevent injury to the joint.

Today's baby boomers are more physically active than previous generations of seniors. While this may help keep individuals vital and independent, it may also make them vulnerable to knee pain.

Injuries in this joint may occur as a consequence of falls, improper form in sports, overuse or poor muscle conditioning, experts told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. On the other hand, sufficient training may help prevent problems.

"If you want to play a sport in which you have to jump, cut and pivot and change directions fast, that's fine," said sports medicine specialist Ed Laskowski, as quoted by the news source. "But first make sure the tissues (in your knees) are prepared for that."

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, strength in the quadriceps and hamstrings may help take mechanical stress of the joint, while flexibility may keep these muscles from beginning overly tight. When taking up an exercise regimen, it is important to start slow and space out routines in order to allow the muscles to rest.

Laskowski added that aerobic conditioning and stability/balance are also important. Tai chi exercises may promote the latter functions. For athletic runners, orthotic inserts or gait analyses from sports medicine therapists may help keep proper form.

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