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Maj Spencer
There are several things that you can do to help prevent knee injuries, allowing you to safely enjoy sports and exercise. Dr. Patel, can you tell us about some of these prevention strategies?

Dr. Patel
Definitely, Major Spencer. The first tip is to always use common sense when trying something new or increasing your activity level. The key to preventing injury is to maintain good strength, muscle balance, and flexibility. Other tips that you may find valuable include:

  • Warm up before doing exercises, playing sports, or participating in any vigorous activities.
  • Participate in a conditioning program to build muscle strength.
  • Develop a daily ritual of stretching exercises.
  • Listen to your body: never run if you experience pain in the knee, or if you feel fatigued.
  • Pay attention to walking, running, or working surfaces.
  • Wear protective equipment appropriate for the sport or activity that you’re engaged in.
  • Replace your athletic shoes as soon as the tread or heel wears out. (and)
  • Be sure that all of your shoes fit properly.

The most important thing is to be aware of the signals that your body is giving you. Don’t ignore pain or swelling, as they are often an early indicator of an injury. If ignored, a minor injury can become a severe injury. Don’t feel compelled to push through pain. If you have questions, consult a physical therapist or a trainer to help design an exercise program specifically for you.

An important step in designing an exercise program is an evaluation by a physical therapist or professional trainer. They can identify those body traits that may make you more or less vulnerable to a knee injury. Based on this assessment, a physical therapist or trainer can design a program that will help you achieve your optimum levels of strength and conditioning.