If you’ve experienced a knee injury, you may worry that exercising could cause more damage than good, but the opposite is actually true. According to New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer, strengthening the muscles that support the is the best way to prevent further injuries.
But be sure to start your exercise routine slowly and build your strength over time. Some muscle soreness is normal when you exercise, but you shouldn’t feel more pain; if you do, stop and contact your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon.
Warming Up: Stretching can help your leg muscles perform better, but you need to warm up before you stretch. For instance, you can ride a stationary bike for 5 minutes, take a brusque 2-minute walk while pumping your arms, or do 15-20 wall push-ups along with the same number of calf raises.
Hamstring Curls: For this exercise, lie flat on your stomach and slowly bring your heels as close to your buttocks as you can, and then hold that position. Do three sets of 15. You can also do this exercise standing while holding on to a chair. If this becomes easy, you can add ankle weights, slowly increasing the weight from 1 to 3 to 5 pounds.
Straight Leg Raises: If your knee is not in its best shape, start with an easy strengthening exercise for your quadriceps, which are the muscles located in the front of the thigh. Lie on your back on the floor, bend one knee and place your foot flat on the floor. Keeping the other leg straight, raise it to the height of the opposite knee. Repeat 10-15 times for three sets.
Prone Straight Leg Raises: Lie on your stomach with your legs straight and then tighten the muscles in your bottom and the hamstring of one leg, and lift toward the ceiling. Hold 3-5 seconds, lower, and repeat. Do 10-15 lifts and switch sides. You can add ankle weights as you gain strength. You should not feel back pain. If you do, stop and contact your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon.
Close the Chain: Wall squats are strengthening moves that keep your feet on the floor. Stand with your back against a wall and your feet about shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend your knees, keeping your back and pelvis against the wall and hold for about 5-10 seconds. If you feel pressure or discomfort in your knees, adjust your position. Repeat the exercise, and try to hold the sit position a few seconds longer each time.
If you’d like more tips on keeping your knees healthy, call your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer to schedule an appointment.