Knee injuries, or even just sore, stiff and weak knees are far more common than you might think – in fact, it's one of the most common complaints I hear from people who are interested in health and fitness.
And it’s not just the older generation! People of all ages can experience discomfort, pain, and weakness when moving or bending their legs, especially when there is some force or strain applied to the knee joint, like lifting weights or running. Most of the time, knee weakness can be helped by strengthening the surrounding muscles, but unfortunately in other cases there can be an underlying medical condition like arthritis or injury. It’s best to seek professional help in this case to find the most appropriate way to go about treating your condition.
If you suffer from daily knee weakness or discomfort, I have some tips to help strengthen and protect your knees.
Runners, trainers, joggers, kicks... whatever you call them, there is a pair that suits your feet and the type of activities you will be doing. It’s important to have the right support for your feet – your shoes should act as suspension by absorbing the impact during movements like running or jumping. This will save your knees, and help keep your joints in alignment, avoiding unnecessary pain and injury.
Try to avoid any high impact exercises like jogging or jumping. Try not to avoid exercise entirely. If you limit movement around your knee, it will only become weaker. Instead, go for exercises that will still give you a complete range of motion, but reduce the impact on your joints, like swimming, cycling, yoga or pilates.
If you have stiff knees or pain during movement, use some stretching techniques to help stimulate blood flow, maintain flexibility and increase the range of motion. Staying still will only make your knees seize up and become less mobile. After workouts, make sure to cool down by doing some stretches and light movements to reduce swelling. Yoga is another great way to gently increase mobility and strength.
Having strong glutes will support hip rotations and stabilize your knees. Strong supportive muscles will help to decrease the force absorbed by the knees while running, jumping or carrying out any other high impact movement.
If you injure yourself, or pain persists and you just can’t seem to fix it yourself, then the best solution is to seek medical attention. A physiotherapist or physical therapist (depending on which part of the world you're from) can work with you and your specific circumstances to find an appropriate exercise regime and treat the source of pain directly.
Emily Skye is a strength training expert and the face of FIT, the digital fitness app that helps women worldwide build strength and confidence, stay active through pregnancy and rebuild post-pregnancy. Emily holds a Certificate IV in Fitness and Master Trainer qualification from the Australian Institute of Fitness. She is also co-founder of James Cosmetics and a mother of two.
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