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TOP TIPS for a sprained KNEE

The knee is one of the most complicated joints but only moves in one motion – flexion and extension. It is complicated in the sense that it has a variety of connective structures that attach the femur to the tibia and fibula, as well as the patella (knee cap). All these tissues work together to produce a healthy and strong knee joint. The moment one of these structures are compromised, various complications arise – not to mention the pain. 

This article will lay out the different phases of a sprained knee that can come from a sporting injury or a fall. I will also recommend some exercises that I feel will rehabilitate the knee toward full health again. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond on tips after a sprained knee. 

The Acute Stage 

This stage can vary depending on the person and the severity of the injury. Usually it is when the moment the individual experiences the injury, to when the pain and/or swelling somewhat comes down. Usually at this stage, it is painful to bare weight on the knee. You definitely cannot run or jump in it – or at least recommended not to. 

The best thing I would recommend at this stage is to rest and protect. Take the time off from the sport and ease off the knee as much as you can. It needs rest. The inflammation needs to come down. So rest it! 

It also needs to be protected. Keep it stable and avoid any risk of injuring it further. 

Another recommendation is to alternate between ice and heat as much as possible. The usual protocol is ice for 20 minutes, heat for 20 minutes and repeat 3 times. This serves two purposes: 1.) it helps manage pain levels and 2.) it helps flush out any by-products and waste in the knee. The ice vaso-constricts the vessels and the heat vaso-dilates the vessels delivering nutrients to the damaged area. 

The Chronic Stage 

At this point, some to most of the pain should have dissipated and what’s left is usually a “nagging” discomfort. Usually around a 3/10 if 10 was considered “very painful”. Often times it is a specific angle or position that aggravates the pain. 

Quick fixes will not work during this stage so we must resort to lifestyle and long term changes. If you enjoyed running as a form of cardiovascular exercises, it is recommended to change to a low-impact exercise such as swimming. By changing the exercise regime it allows a greater speed of recovery. 

During the chronic stage it is appropriate to prescribe exercises and stretches to manage the pain symptoms. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond on what to do during the chronic stage. 


Movements to strengthen and stabilize the knee joint

Single leg Romanian dead-lifts 

This movement challenges the knee joint to stabilize itself in a specific range. The body rotates around the hips which allow the hip muscles to do the work; however, the knee must stabilize in order for the body to stand strong. 

The work of balancing the body stacked on top of the knee also stresses the stabilizer muscles. Stabilizing the knee is far more important than the strength of the knee. If your knee joint collapses, it does not matter how strong your knee is. Ask your personal trainer on form tips on the single leg RDL. 

Hamstring curls 

Strengthening the hamstrings is going to be the very first strengthening movement I usually prescribe. The reason is simple. There are three hamstring muscles; two of them attach into the side of the knee supporting the joint. If these are strong, then your stabilizers will also be strong. 

This movement can be trained through using a machine or even through using an exercise ball. Having strong hamstrings will give you strong knees and will reduce the chances of re-injury in the future. 

Pro-tip: train around the injured area 

Training legs does not mean you need to be squatting or deadlifting crazy weights. Training around an injured area means digging into your anatomy knowledge and isolating the areas around the injured parts. You can train calves, hamstrings or even light quads. These will all help in improving knee health. 

Until next time, 

Coach Marco 

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