We've spent the last couple weeks working our way up from the soles of our feet. We've come to the knees. Anatomy of the knees is a lot. Hopefully we can work through a little of it and understand a little more all our knees are capable off.
The knee is what we call a synovial joint which means it can flex (bend) and extend. There is also a small, read small, about of rotation to the inside (medial) and outside (lateral). Don't go thinking you can rotate your knee all around the world though. The knee also has 4 ligaments: anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), Fibular collateral ligament (FCL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and medial collateral ligament (MCL). These ligaments go across and around the knee.
We can be very hard on our knees. They move us through our day with so many different motions. They take a lot of wear and tear when we're active from simple running or walking to anything that requires fast movement and directional changes. So how do we take care of them?
Strengthening the muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings, abductors) that support your knees is a big help. When strengthening them make sure you're also stretching them as well (working with a massage therapist, gentle foam rolling, muscle scrapping, etc.). If you're working to strengthen and stretch you are likely staying active which will also help maintain knee health.
Making sure you have the right shoes is also incredibly important. It can be very easy to run in to any store and grab a pair of shoes but we need to make sure they provide a good foundation. Remember when we talked about the importance of our feet. Your body a line of energy so what you do with your feet changes the stress on your knees and how they function. How you carry your upper body, changes the stress on your knees and how they function. Usually individuals at running stores have some good knowledge regarding shoes to help you figure out what is best for you. They may not be the cutest but despite what the fashion industry says, it's more about function than fashion for this.
The last one we'll talk about today is listening to your knees. If you feel a pain in your knee pushing through isn't always the best option. Talk to your doctor if you feel something unusual. Often times, tears in the ligaments occur gradually over time until the final straw and we really feel it. There are often indicators that something is wrong before the final movement completes the tear. Listen to you knees and take steps early to make sure you're supporting them properly.