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Knee Pain Overview (cont.)

Prevention of Knee Pain

Knee pain has a host of causes. Many types of pain are difficult to prevent, but you can do some general things to reduce the likelihood of sustaining a knee injury.

  • Stay slim
    • Staying slim reduces the forces placed on the knee during both athletics and everyday walking and, according to some medical research, may reduce osteoarthritis.
    • Keeping your weight down may also reduce the number of ligament and tendon injuries for similar reasons.
  • Keep limber, keep fit
    • Many knee problems are due to tight or imbalanced musculature. Stretching and strengthening, therefore, also help to prevent knee pain.
    • Stretching keeps your knee from being too tight and aids in preventing both patellofemoral syndrome and iliotibial band syndrome.
    • Strengthening exercises particularly of the quadriceps (straight leg raises and leg extensions are two excellent exercises, but please see a book on exercise and training for more) can help prevent knee injury.
  • Exercise wisely
    • If you have chronic knee pain, consider swimming or water exercises.
    • In water, the force of buoyancy supports some of our weight so our knees do not have to.
    • If you don't have access to a pool or do not enjoy water activities, at least try to limit hard pounding and twisting activities such as basketball, tennis, or jogging.
    • You may find that your aching knees will act up if you play basketball or tennis every day but will not if you limit your pounding sports to twice a week.
    • Whatever you do, respect and listen to your body. If it hurts, change what you are doing.
    • If you are fatigued, consider stopping; many injuries occur when people are tired.
  • Protect the knee
    • Wearing proper protection for the activity at hand can help avoid knee injuries.
    • When playing volleyball or when laying carpet, protecting your knees may include knee pads.
    • When driving, knee protection may include wearing a seat belt to avoid the knee-versus-dashboard injuries as well as injuries to other parts of your body.

Medically reviewed by Aimee V. HachigianGould, MD; American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery


Bauman A. On Your Knees. Runner's World 35.5 (2000): 26.

Hart, L. Knee Pain. Woman's Day 63.17 (2001): 44.

Lally, S. End Knee Pain Forever. Men's Health 5.5 (1990): 64-67.

Levy, A.M., and M.L. Fuerst. Sports Injury Handbook: Professional Advice for Amateur Athletes. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1993.

Roberts, D.M., and T.C. Stallard. Emergency department evaluation and treatment of knee and leg injuries. Emerg Med Clin North Am 18.1 Feb 2000: 67-84, v-vi. [Medline].

Tintinalli, J.E., G.D. Kellen, and J.S. Staphczynksi. Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. McGraw-Hill; 2000.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/31/2014

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Knee Injury, Soft Tissue »

Soft tissue injuries of the knee are some of the most common and clinically challenging musculoskeletal disorders in patients presenting to the ED.

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