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Knee Pain Overview


Knee Pain Prevention

Knee pain has a host of causes. Many types of pain are difficult to prevent, but you can do some general things to reduce the likelihood of sustaining a knee injury.

Stay Slim

  • Staying slim reduces the forces placed on the knee during both athletics and everyday walking and may, according to some medical research, reduce osteoarthritis.
  • Keeping your weight down may also reduce the number of ligament and tendon injuries for similar reasons.

Keep Limber, Keep Fit

  • Many knee problems are caused by tight or imbalanced musculature. Stretching and strengthening, therefore, also help to prevent knee pain.
  • Stretching keeps your knee from being too tight and aids in preventing both patellofemoral syndrome and iliotibial band syndrome.
  • Strengthening exercises particularly of the quadriceps (straight leg raises and leg extensions are two excellent exercises, but please see a book on exercise and training for more) can help prevent knee injury.

Exercise Wisely

  • If you have chronic knee pain, consider swimming or water exercises.
  • In water, the force of buoyancy supports some of our weight so our knees do not have to.
  • If you don't have access to a pool or do not enjoy water activities, at least try to limit hard pounding and twisting activities such as basketball, tennis, or jogging.
  • You may find that your aching knees will act up if you play basketball or tennis every day but will not if you limit your pounding sports to twice a week.
  • Whatever you do, respect and listen to your body. If it hurts, change what you are doing.
  • If you are fatigued, consider stopping -- many injuries occur when people are tired.

Protect the Knee

  • Wearing proper protection for the activity at hand can help avoid knee injuries.
  • When playing volleyball or when laying carpet, protecting your knees may include kneepads.
  • When driving, knee protection may include wearing a seatbelt to avoid the knee-versus-dashboard injuries as well as injuries to other parts of your body.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on June 01, 2012
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