I’ve only just started exercising and my knee is already injured?
Following on from our past blog post, we address those of you who find yourself unable to work during this unsettling period of self-isolation, who take to exercise instead.
During this period, we expect to see many newcomers to sports; particularly jogging, interval training and even gardening (yes, it most certainly is a form of exercise if it gets your heart pumping). However, with newbies, comes injuries. One common injury location is at the knee.
A common mistake – yes runners, were talking to you- is overtraining and incorrect footwear. If you are new to running, first and foremost, you need correct footwear, we can’t stress this enough. Typically, running shoes tend to have a synthetic and mesh upper which allows durability and breathability, a durable heel with accurate shock absorbency and the shoe must fit your foot like a sock. The key thing to go for when getting yourself a new running trainer is comfort. Whatever running shoe feels comfortable for you.
With all activity; running, gardening, squatting, lunging, mountain climbing etc… there is a repetitive action of bending the knee. Now you might find you are experiencing bouts of pain during and after your activity for up to (and possibly over) 24 hours after the exercise. This pain might feel like a radiating dull ache just below the kneecap, an ache deep within the knee joint, a rubbing feeling on the outside of the knee and thigh or simply pain and tenderness (sometimes even swelling) around the kneecap. Movements such as stair ascending/descending, knee bending and sitting with the knee flexed for long periods may show signs of discomfort. These sensations can be linked to a few cases, including Patella Tendinopathy, Housemaids Knee, IT band syndrome, or Runner’s knee. All very common and easily avoidable injuries.
So, if you’re experiencing these aches and pains, or even if you’re trying to avoid the onset of these injuries or reoccurrence, give the following exercises a go Before and After exercise as part of your warm-up and cool-down (that’s right, you should be completing at least 5 minutes of each prior to and post workout to ensure blood flow and elasticity of the tissues):
1: Clams. Lie on your side with your feet and ankles together. Bend your knees slightly. Keeping the feet together, lift the top knee up. Make sure you don’t roll your body back with the movement, tighten your core and control the movement, ensuring the hip remains locked. Complete 10 reps, 2 sets.
2: Static Quads– sitting with your legs stretched flat in front of you, tense your thigh muscles and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat for 8 reps, taking a 3 second rest between tensing.
3: Quad stretch. Standing up straight on one leg (use the wall for support if needed), bend your knees and gently bring your heel towards your buttock, using your hand to grasp your foot and pull the stretch further. Complete 2 x per leg and hold for 20 seconds.
4: Quad, IT band (the outside of your thigh) and hamstring foam rolling. If you have a foam roller at home, foam roll each for 30 seconds minimum. If you don’t, stretch each muscle and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 2 x.
Finally, if you do feel any of the sensations mentioned above and they do not disappear within 24 hours, it is advisable that you rest from aggravating activity for 2-4 days to allow time for the injury to rest and begin the healing process. Apply heat to the area for up to 20 minutes a day and gently rub the area with some moisturiser for 5 minutes in the evening. If, after your rest, the injury still persists; continue to rest, attempt the above exercises daily, avoid unnecessary stair climbing/knee bending and rest for another 2-4 days.