Knee Problems and Injuries (cont.)
The following tips may prevent knee problems.
General prevention tips
- Wear your seat belt in a motor vehicle.
- Don't carry objects that are too heavy. Use a step stool. Do not stand on chairs or other unsteady objects.
- Wear knee guards during sports or recreational activities, such as roller-skating or soccer.
- Stretch before and after physical exercise, sports, or recreational activities to warm up your muscles.
- Use the correct techniques or positions during activities so that you do not strain your muscles.
- Use equipment appropriate to your size, strength, and ability. Avoid repeated movements that can cause injury. In daily routines or hobbies, look at activities in which you make repeated knee movements.
- Consider taking lessons to learn the proper technique for sports. Have a trainer or person who is familiar with sports equipment check your equipment to see if it is well suited for your level of ability, body size, and body strength.
- If you feel that certain activities at your workplace are causing pain or soreness from overuse, call your human resources department for information on other ways of doing your job or to talk about using different equipment.
Tips specific to the knee
- Keep your knees and the muscles that support them strong and flexible. Warm up before activities. Try the following stretches:
- Avoid activities that stress your knees, such as deep knee bends or downhill running.
- Wear shoes with good arch supports.
- Do not wear high-heeled shoes.
- When playing contact sports, wear the right shoes that are made for the surface you are playing or running on, such as a track or tennis court.
- Replace running shoes every 300 to 500 miles (480 to 800 kilometers). Experts recommend getting new athletic shoes every 3 months or after 500 miles of wear.
Tips specific to female athletes
Sports trainers recommend training programs that help women learn to run, jump, and pivot with knees bent to avoid knee injuries. In sports such as soccer, basketball, and volleyball, women who bend their knees and play low to the ground have fewer knee injuries than women who run and pivot with stiff legs.
Knee brace use
Some people use knee braces to prevent knee injuries or after a knee injury. There are many types of knee braces, from soft fabric sleeves to rigid, metal hinged braces, that support and protect the knee. If your doctor has recommended the use of a knee brace, follow his or her instructions. If you are using a knee brace to help prevent problems, follow the manufacturer's instructions for use.
Keep bones strong
- Eat a nutritious diet with enough calcium and vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. Calcium is found in dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt; dark green, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli; and other foods. For more information, see the topic Healthy Eating.
- Exercise and stay active. It is best to do weight-bearing exercise for at least 2½ hours a week. One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. In addition to weight-bearing exercise, experts recommend that you do resistance exercises at least 2 days a week. Exercises that are not weight-bearing, such as swimming, are good for your general health. But they do not work your muscles and bones against gravity and so they do not stimulate new bone growth. Starting these exercises at any age will help prevent bone loss. But if you stop exercising, your bones will begin to thin. Talk to your doctor about an exercise program that is right for you. Begin slowly, especially if you have been inactive. For more information, see the topic Fitness.
- Don't drink more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day if you are a man, or 1 alcoholic drink a day if you are a woman. People who drink more than this may be at higher risk for weakening bones (osteoporosis). Alcohol use also increases your risk of falling and breaking a bone.
- Stop or do not begin smoking. Smoking puts you at a much higher risk for developing osteoporosis. It also interferes with blood supply and healing. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
Bruises are often the first sign of abuse. Seek help if:
- You suspect abuse. Call your local child or adult protective agency, police, or a doctor, nurse, or counselor.
- You or someone you know is a victim of violence.
- You have trouble controlling your anger with a child or other person in your care. Resources are available for help.