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Avoiding and Treating Knee Injuries

Elam Sports O`ahu Explains How

Many people don’t even think about their knees until something happens to them. The team at Elam Sports O`ahu is particularly skilled at helping people recover from knee injury. However, prevention is the best medicine, so they want everyone to be aware of the movements and actions that can cause injury and should be avoided.

Lifting

People have been taught to avoid back injuries when lifting by keeping the back straight and bending at the knee. However, if a knee is already at risk, picking up items from the ground can cause injury. If lifting from the ground is necessary (but do you really want to take a chance on a bum knee?) use the one-knee-on-the-ground method — place the bad knee on the ground and transfer the weight to the good one. Or better yet, call a friend to do the heavy lifting for you.

Sideways Motion

When scooting items on the floor with the leg, people tend to use a sideways motion that can be dangerous to the knee. Don’t push items using the side of the foot, which stresses the knee unnaturally.

Kneeling

Kneeling, especially on hard or rough surfaces for prolonged periods, stresses knees, so kneel on a pad for protection.

Slips, Stumbles and Falls

When stumbling, slipping, or falling, the impact on knees can be devastating, so:

  • Walk like a duck taking small steps on slippery surfaces.
  • Use care when walking on rough terrain.
  • Fully place your feet when walking on steps.

Twisting

Twisting or turning from the waist adds stress on the knees, especially if carrying a heavy object. Instead of twisting, move the feet using “baby steps” to face the new direction.

Stair Climbing

         Use hand rails for ascending and descending stairs. Since descending can be harder on the knees than ascending, try descending backwards, using both hands on the handrail to ease the increased force through the knees.

Walking for Knee Health

Weight-bearing exercises help maintain bone health. Here are some tips for walking that will help avoid injury. (Consult a doctor or physical therapist before starting any exercise routine. If pain worsens while walking, stop.)

  • Choose Shoes Carefully: Flat and flexible shoes are best for the knee (such as athletic shoes for walkers). Choose ones with a wide toe to provide proper balance. Consider minimalist shoes with a neutral heel. The best shoes allow for natural spreading of the forefoot upon weight bearing and a zero-to-minimum heel provide a natural stretch on the calves that allows knees to be more fully extended.
  • Warm Up: Start with an easy pace to get the joint fluid moving. After a few minutes, the pace can be increased.
  • Choose Softer Walking Surfaces: Walk on natural surface trails to lessen impact. Take care, however, as they tend to be uneven.
  • Plan to Increase Time: A good goal is to walk 30 minutes per day. To start, break up the time into 10-minute segments. Start at an easy or moderate pace to build endurance. Work towards walking briskly up to 6,000 steps per day.
  • Lose Excess Weight: Knees suffer when excess weight is carried on a body. Losing even a few pounds can reduce that stress.
  • Move Throughout the Day: To keep your joint fluid moving, move around or stretch every 15 minutes or so.

Elam Sports O`ahu offers a full range of therapies, including a heated pool for water exercises that are particularly useful when full, weight-baring exercises are not possible. Anyone that has suffered a knee injury or is recovering from knee surgery can contact Elam Sports O`ahu for more information.

Location: 91-1027 Shangrila Street, Building 1867, Kapolei. For more information, call 808-674-9595, email kap@ElamSportsOahu.com or visit ElamSportsOahu.com

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