A pain in the...knee
Recently I've noticed an alarming increase in the number of teenagers coming to me for coaching/training. Most are arriving with the same sort of knee pain, but they all come from different sporting backgrounds! Time to put my sleuthing gear on (sans pipe)!
So what are the main causes?
There are a couple of different diagnosis, ranging from Osgood Schlatter, to Adolescent anterior knee pain to the more sever ACL damage. The main culprit has mostly just been adolescent anterior knee pain, so that's the one I'm going to talk about and give you fixes for. You can read the findings below or skip to the prehab and strengthening exercises further down. "A teenager or young adult who is physically active and participates in sports may sometimes experience pain in the front and center of the knee, usually underneath the kneecap (patella). This condition—called adolescent anterior knee pain—commonly occurs in many healthy young athletes, especially girls.
Adolescent anterior knee pain is not usually caused by a physical abnormality in the knee, but by overuse or a training routine that does not include adequate stretching or strengthening exercises. In most cases, simple measures like rest, over-the-counter medication, and strengthening exercises will relieve anterior knee pain and allow the young athlete to return to his or her favorite sports." (source: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org).
The most common causes for this are:
Imbalance of thigh muscles (quadriceps and hamstrings) that support the knee joint
Tight quadriceps and hamstring muscles
Problems with alignment of the legs between the hips and the ankles
Using improper sports training techniques or equipment
Changes in footwear or playing surface
Overdoing sports activities, or changes in the type of training
Let's fix this...
The best step you can take in fixing this is to play a wider variety of sports which encourages multi-directional movement. This ensures that your stabilizer muscles are also strengthened (and there are so many other benefits too)
Other steps you can take to reduce the risk of injury are to strengthen the muscles around the knee - because there aren't any muscles in the knee) Have a look below at the some of prehab and rehab exercises available.
Prehab and Rehab
So let's first deal with trying to prevent this type of 'injury' from occurring, then we'll look at recovery. For some of these you may need some equipment.
Strengthen the muscles around your knees; use the following three exercises to get you started:
Bonus sit to stand
Double bonus Clams
Here is a great resource of 22 exercises for bad knees
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