Knee Stability and Stretching: Why is it Important
by Caitlynn Stone, Red Deer Personal Trainer at 360 Fitness
Our knees are something that every person in society takes advantage of. They are built to hold all our weight and they are forced to bend in ways that they are simply never meant to bend. The amount of force that withstand n everyday life from sports impacts to everyday wear and tear it is a miracle that there are not more injuries or arthritis cases then there currently are to date.
Unfortunately more and more people are experiencing knee injuries, arthritis of the joint, or have been diagnosed with patellar femoral syndrome and many more. Now granted, once you have one of these knee complication there is not getting rid of it, but there are always ways to help scale back the pain or inflammation and even prevent another injury from occurring. By adding in a simple stability and stretching routine can make the world of a difference with your quality of life.
When adding in a stability routine there are things that you should consider before jumping into one on your own. Consult with your doctor that way they can give you more incite on what to do specifically or even whether or not you need to go see a physiotherapist, especially if you have any kind of ligament tear. By adding a few simple exercises to your everyday routine can help keep you up and moving well into your later years. Keeping your knee strong and mobile you reduce the risk of having muscle imbalancements which and lead to Patellae Femoral Syndrome, arthritis, or even a dislocation of the joint.
Adding in exercises such as bridges, step ups, bender ball squats, band squats, and band abduction and adduction, as well as standing on one foot and writing the ABCs with the other are all exercises that will work your stabilizing muscles as well as your larger muscle groups (quads and hamstrings). All of this will help to protect the stabilizer muscles due to the fact that they will be housed in a strong structure, just like a building your knee is only as strong as the structure that houses it.
Strength and stretching go hand in hand, or at least in my mind they do and if they don’t in your mind you may want to reconsider and here is why I say that. Just like how your knee is only as strong as you make it your knee and muscles are only as flexible as you allow them to be. If the muscles surrounding you knee joint are constantly tight it will be pulling and possibly even stress the knee without you even knowing. by not stretching you are basically tightening your muscles to a point when they will eventually snap or let go and create you more issues down the road.
Doing things such as foam rolling and trigger point therapy (TPT) while adding in a 10min lower body stretch routine at least three times a week you will notice a world of a difference or even experience some instant pain relief. Before doing any trigger point therapy or foam rolling be sure to attend a class on how to properly execute this form of stretching before attempting it yourself, if you have already attended a class and know how to execute it then make sure you roll out your IT band (illitotibial band), quadriceps, hamstrings, and your glutes. We use foam rolling and TPT at our Red Deer personal trainer facility at 360 Fitness ALL the time with our clients.
By stretching and rolling all of these muscles it help to release pressure from around the knee joint and it allows for your muscles to get a deeper stretch in an isometric hold and gets rid of more lactic acid between the muscles. The benefit of combining both isometric stretching with trigger point is you will be able to gain better results from the stretches themselves.
All in all by doing a proper stretch routine combine with a strength routine to your everyday life you are adding years on to your knees longevity. There are so many benefits that it is hard to list them all, but if in the long run these few things allow for you to be being on your feet doing what you love why can’t we put more effort into taking better care of our knees and cut down on the abuse that they receive?
It won’t take long just 10 – 30 minutes max is all that you will need to help ward off knee replacement or the use of a walker to get around so get up, get out, and do something!
Here are some links to knee strengthening exercises – http://360fitness.fitpromag.com/Videos.aspx?category=Legs
Here are some link to knee stretching movements – http://www.washingtonae.com/what-you-can-do-now-to-relieve-knee-pain/
Images attached are some good beginner knee exercises to help alleviate pain and start off strong.