Everyday Knee Stretches And Knee Exercises To Prevent Knee Injuries
“This injury is rampant. There are between 250,000 and 300,000 ACL injuries per year, and they’re almost exclusively happening to athletes. The chances of a non-athlete suffering an ACL injury are 1,000 to 1.”- T.O. Souryal, M.D. Dallas, Texas Sports Medicine is an ACL and Sports Medicine specialist and head team doctor for the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA.
As you can see, knee injuries are prevalent in sports and your chances are high if you don’t do simple knee stretches and exercises in order to prevent injuring your knees; Don’t be that person to only realize this after you’ve been injured. The best way to prevent injury and to increase not only strength, but also increase stability, is to follow an easy daily routine to stretch and exercise your knee joints. Some of the main reasons athletes encounter knee pain and knee injuries is due to over-exhausting the knees, a lack of stretching, not icing and compressing after playing, and not isolating exercises specific to strengthening their knee. Additionally, most athletes have a tendency to neglect focusing on stretching and strengthening their hips because they don’t realize how much their hips help to stabilize the knee joints.With these in mind, let’s take a look at some exercises and stretches to prevent any injury to your knee.
Knee Exercises To Prevent Injuries:
Straight Leg Raise:
Muscles: Quadriceps and hip flexors
Instructions: lay on your back with one knee up. Raise your other leg up as high as your planted knee. Be sure to contract your quad through the entire up and down motion.
Sets: 3 x 8-12
Instructions: Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Bring one heel back raising your knee. Place a towel beneath your other knee with your leg straight. Using your leg with the towel underneath, use your quad to push down against the towel holding down the contraction of your quad.
Sets: 2 x 10(5 second holds)
Muscles: Hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes
Instructions: Lean against a wall with your feet planted in front of you to allow yourself to squat down. Slowly squat down and pause at the bottom and hold. Slowly go back up and repeat.
Sets: 3 x 10
Muscles: Glutes, hamstrings
Instructions: Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides. Bring both heels back so that they are next to your butt. Slowly lift your butt off the ground keeping pressure at your shoulders. Do not use your arms to raise yourself. Be sure to keep your glutes contracted when lifting and holding before slowly coming down.
Sets: 3 x 10(15 second hold)
Knee Stretches To Prevent Injuries:
IT Band Stretch:
Muscles: Illiotibial band, hamstrings
Instructions: Stand up straight with your feet planted next to each other. Cross one foot over the other and then bend forward touching your toes. You will feel the IT band of your back foot stretching. Hold this stretch and be sure to do this slowly.
Instructions: Stand up straight and grab one foot behind you. Pull your foot back as you feel a stretch in your quad. To increase the stretch, lean forward and pull your foot further away from you.
Hip Flexor Stretch:
Muscle: Hip flexor, quadriceps
Instruction: Start off with one knee on the floor with knee upright. Keep your knee that’s on the ground planted and slowly step forward while pushing your pelvis to the ground as you feel your hip flexor begin to stretch.
Instructions: Stand straight up and maybe against a wall to keep you balanced upright. Begin to slowly reach down to your feet with your legs straight. Hold your stretch at the bottom and feel your hamstrings stretch.
Instructions: Stand with your hands against the wall. Put one foot on the floor against the wall bent. Take a step back with the other foot planted straight. Be sure that your back heel is planted firm on the ground in order to feel your calf stretch.
Prone Piriformis Stretch:
Muscles: Glutes, hips, sciatic nerves
Instructions: Start on all fours with your knees and hands on the ground. Bring one leg forward as your rotate your leg inward so that it crosses in front of your with the outer-side of your knee touching the ground. Use your other leg to rest straight behind you. You should feel your glute stretch and be able to pin point a stretch around your pelvic bone behind your where your sciatic nerve is located.
Back Butterfly Stretch:
Muscle: Hip abductors, sciatic nerves
Instructions: Lie flat on your back with your heels next to your butt with your knees up. Slowly spread your legs letting them rest with your legs open.
Muscles: Knee joint
Instructions: Start on all fours with your knees and hands on the floor. Slowly lean back as you sit on your the back of your ankles. Be sure to go as far as you ca without any pain. Stop if you feel pain and continue to work on your range of motion.
Muscle: Patellar tendon
Instructions: Sit down on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. place your hands around one of your knee caps. Move your hands in a directional up and down, left and right, and circular motion. This is a way to massage your patellar tendon so that your knee cap