What is the best way to prevent a recurrence or new knee injury?
The human knee is not only the largest joint in the body, but also the most complex. The knee joint itself is a technical masterpiece – a highly efficient machine with countless components, connections, gadgets and functions. The rotational hinge joint connects the thigh bone (femur), the kneecap (patella), and the shin bone (tibia). In addition to the bones and the cartilage covering the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments are needed for ideal interaction.
The most common injuries to the knee joint include meniscus tears, strains and tears (ruptures) of the ligaments, especially the anterior cruciate ligament (Lig. cruciatum anterius), as well as the medial and lateral collateral ligaments (Lig. collaterale mediale/tibiale and Lig. collaterale laterale/fibulare), cartilage, injuries to the patella and arthritic changes of the joint.
Restoring injured knees to full function requires technology, an understanding of physics and mechanics. To prevent injuries from occurring in the first place and what is important to avoid knee injuries or recurrence, read below.
Tip 1: With a well-trained musculature you protect your knee
Weakly trained hip and knee muscles can cause the pelvis to tilt and the knees and feet to buckle inward. They not only stabilize the leg axis, but also provide improved coordination and can thus prevent injuries. Those who exercise regularly and in a targeted manner are significantly less likely to injure their knee. The rule here is variation and regularity. With simple exercises that can be easily incorporated into everyday life, you not only reduce pain, but also prevent injuries and wear and tear in the knee joint.
Tip 2: Choose appropriate footwear for sports
Incorrect footwear can often be a possible trigger for discomfort in the knee. Pain in the knee can have many reasons, often they start from a foot or leg malposition. Flat feet (pes planus), but also bow and knock-knees (genu varum or genu valgum), for example, can lead to complaints that can be treated well with possible insoles or the right footwear. This requires a precise clarification by a specialist in orthopedics. If pain persists, a running analysis can also help find the right shoe.
Tip 3: Integrate exercise into everyday life
Many people, especially people with osteoarthritis, avoid sports and exercise because they are afraid of putting strain on the joints and wearing them out further. The opposite, however, is the case. Too little movement damages the joints and thus your knee. Regular exercise stimulates metabolism and blood flow and supplies the synovial fluid with nutrients.
In addition, movement in the knee joint ensures that synovial fluid reaches the articular cartilage. With every flexion and extension, the cartilage first compresses somewhat, like a sponge, to release waste products so that it can then absorb nutrients from the joint fluid again. Regular exercise in everyday life can not only relieve pain, but also improve joint function.
Tip 4: Warm up sufficiently before exercising
Warming up during sports is of great importance. It is little known how it affects the muscles and is unfortunately often underestimated. But even with a few simple warm-up exercises, such as swinging your legs, circling your arms or hips, you improve blood flow to your muscles and let them know that they need to work now. This not only reduces the risk of mechanical strain or stretching. You also prevent the carbohydrate reserves in the muscles – the glycogen stores – from being rapidly emptied, the muscles from entering the anaerobic, oxygen-deficient zone and becoming over-acidified due to the increase in lactate, lactic acid. With the right exercises, you prepare muscles, ligaments, joints, but also the cardiovascular system for the load and can thus significantly reduce the risk of injury. Ten to fifteen minutes of warm-up can be enough to prevent muscle and tendon injuries such as sprains or strains.
Tip 5: Simple home remedies can help you in the therapy of knee pain
In the acute stage of a knee injury or pain in the joint, a procedure according to the PECH rule helps first. The knee should be relieved(rest), cooled if possible(ice), bandages or dressings may help to stabilize and reduce swelling(compression), and to remove tissue fluid as efficiently as possible, the knee should be elevated(elevation).
Another proven remedy for swelling and inflammation in the knee joint are curd compresses. The ingredients casein and lactic acid inhibit inflammation and relieve pain. When osteoarthritis pain occurs, cabbage compresses can help, they contain flavanoids and mustard glycosides and also have an anti-inflammatory effect and stimulate blood circulation.
For stabilization and support of the joint, a bandage or preformed bandages can help as mentioned. However, after a few days you should try to put weight on the knee again without support.
Conclusion: Prevent knee injuries and protect knee joints
Knee injuries are painful, sometimes prolonged and troublesome in everyday life. With a few tips, you can reduce the risk of injury and prevent pain or progressive wear and tear in the knee joint. A well-trained musculature serves as a basic prerequisite and protection for the knee joint. With the right footwear and regular exercise in everyday life, you ensure pain relief and optimal distribution of synovial fluid in the knee joint.
Warming up during sports should not be underestimated and reduces the risk of injury many times over. Additionally, simple home remedies can help with minor aches and pains. If there are still complaints and pain in the knee joint, a comprehensive diagnosis and clarification by a specialist in orthopedics is recommended in order to find a course of treatment together with you. Feel free to contact me!