Dr. Hawley’s Health Corner
Injury Prevention – Knee
This week we are going to focus on the knee. The knee is one of the most important joints in the body as it connects your hips to your lower extremity. Anyone that has had a knee injury knows how annoying it is and how much it affects your workouts. I know from personal experience, I tore two ligaments in my knee (LCL and PCL) about 10 years ago and it was really up until a few months ago (5 months of CrossFit) that I finally feel back to “normal”. A large part of that are the exercises that we perform here at the box and the other part is the routine maintenance that I do.
The most important part of taking care of your knees is keeping the muscles and ligaments around your knee as flexible and pliable as possible. This can be done by a variety of ways but the methods that I think work the best are a combination of stretching, foam rolling/manual therapy and range of motion exercises.
Foam Rolling / Manual Therapy – great ideas to work those knots/adhesions out of your muscles
- Foam rolling – again focus on the quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors and IT band. Start with the quadriceps by lying on the foam roller face down. Work from the knee cap up into the hip flexors. From here transition to your side and work on the IT band and lastly work on your hamstrings. Find those sore spots and spend a few extra minutes on those.
- Manual therapy – can be anything from using your hands, using “The Stick” or using Voodoo Floss (if you don’t know about it check out the Mobility WOD website – great stuff). All work great. The idea here is to be a little more specific and really get rid of those adhesions. Focus on the area around your knee cap (both inside and outside) and up the IT band. Don’t worry about the bigger muscle areas and those would be addressed with the foam roller. Pay special attention to the muscle on the inside of your knee cap about 2-4 inches vertically. There is usually a really sore spot (find it and work it!).
Range of Motion Exercises – this is where we stop being friends because I am going to recommend air squats and wall balls! These can be performed up to 50-100 times (I know , I know it’s a lot but is well worth it)
- Air Squats / Wall Balls – As I had mentioned in an earlier post these two movements not solely used to torture us at the gym. The two movements are some of the best ways to not only create excellent movement patterns but to also help strengthen our knees muscles in the appropriate range of motion. Focus on proper depth, knee position and back position. You will thank me later when your knees don’t hurt!
- I would highly recommend taking the above movements/exercises into consideration and start implementing these a few times a week. You will begin to notice increased range of motion and looser muscles.