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Why You Must Protect Your Knees

Twisted knee

You feel (and sometimes hear) a "pop," and then your knee buckles, causing excruciating pain. This injury usually occurs while playing sports.

  • The cause: The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), an elastic band of tissue that stabilizes the knee, tears. Once again, our Q angle comes into play. "A woman's kneecap pulls slightly to the side when she lands after a jump due to her wider pelvis," says Martin. As a result, the quadriceps pull harder on the knee. Experts also theorize that high levels of estrogen (in the latter part of the menstrual cycle) loosen ligaments and weaken their ability to protect joints.
  • The fix: See your doctor immediately. About a third of those who injure their ACL regain strength and motion after six to eight weeks of rest and physical therapy. If the kneecap remains unstable, arthroscopic surgery may be needed. If you play sports, doing exercises that strengthen your hip and butt muscles (to help stabilize knees) and practicing proper jumping and landing can decrease your risk of ACL injuries.

 

Originally Published on September 18, 2007

 

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