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Stop a Knee Injury Before It Starts:
What many people aren’t aware of is the fact that physical therapy is a proven effective way to prevent knee injuries. Research done on female collegiate athletes and ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury prevention has shown nearly an 80% reduction in knee injury rates in girls who completed the prevention program in comparison to those who did not. Females injure their ACL’s more frequently than men do because of our anatomy. Women generally have a wider pelvis than men and this places increased stress at the knee. However, knee injuries are common in men and women of all ages; to prevent an injury it is important to improve flexibility, strength, balance, agility, and your ability to jump and land safely.
First and foremost, it’s important to warm up and stretch before participating in any sort of athletic activity. You have to get your blood flowing and make sure that you are flexible enough to move freely in order to maintain ideal form. Next it’s important to build strength, agility, and body awareness. Squats and lunges are just a couple of exercises that can help you do this – having good technique is key! Strengthening the muscles that surround your back, chest, abdomen, and hips can help improve your overall form, make you more powerful, and reduce your risk for injury. Planks are a great full body exercise to help activate your core! The more agile you are the less risk you run for injury. Move in patterns that take you front to back, side to side, and diagonally. Start by running slowly so you can concentrate on good form. Pick up the pace and maintain good technique. (Remember: hips over knees over ankles!) One of the final things we like to instill in athletes is proper jumping and landing technique. Always jump, land, stop, and move with your knees directly over your feet. Never let your knees collapse inward. Keep your chest high and over your knees, your knees over your toes, your toes straight forward, and land like a feather! Finally, the most important part of this all is making sure you get adequate rest. Get enough sleep, incorporate rest days, and alternate easy and hard workouts in order to reduce your risk for injury and make yourself as strong as possible!
Core strength and back pain go hand in hand So how do you know if you are doing the right exercises to strengthen your core? Join Back in Motion Physical Therapy’s Mary Kroth-Brunet for this educational and interactive workshop through Gorham Adult Education. She’ll teach you the best core strengtheningmoves that give you the biggest bang for your buck. Appropriate for beginners to advanced exercisers. Register for this class at www.gorham.maineadulted.org
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