The one downside to exercising again after years of inactivity is the chance of injury. In fact, for many people who are just beginning down the pathway of getting fit and healthy, it is a quick injury that stops them. And, while we cannot avoid all injuries, there is plenty we can do to prevent most of them with the below detailing what women can do to prevent knee injuries.
It Is Not About the Knees
A research of data provided by nearly a score of earlier studies found that the stronger and healthier a woman’s hips, legs, and stabilizing abdominal muscles are, the better protected her knees will be. All of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of these areas are connected either directly or indirectly to the knee Therefore, they all help stabilize knees, keeping them safe and in place.
Common Knee Injuries
Two of the more common knee injuries that are often caused by weaknesses in the hips, glutes, or legs are iliotibial (IT) band syndrome and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries. Although these are two very different injuries, both of them can keep women exercising for many months if not years.
IT band syndrome commonly occurs in women’s whose knees perform a repetitive motion such as distance running or bicycling. The IT band, a thick band of tissue that runs from the outer hip to the outer knee, rubs on outside of the knee when it is inflamed causing pain. This knee pain can be prevented by strengthening one’s external hip rotators and stretching the IT band.
ACL injuries happen when the knee is turned too quickly or too far. This injury can take more than a year to recover from. To prevent ACL injuries you need to do exercises that work the hamstrings, abdomen, and hips; all three areas stabilize the knee.
The study found that people need to do a variety of exercises to ensure that their knees are fully protected. Talking about this, Dai Sugimoto of The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention and the Boston Children’s Hospital Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine department said, “We know neuromuscular training can reduce ACL injury in female athletes, but we were not sure what exercises are the best to attain the maximal prophylactic effects. [By following] a variety of exercise modes, athletes can attain the fullest benefit from neuromuscular training and prevent ACL injury.”
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on December 12, 2014