Your best tool for fully participating in sports, whether you play on a local team or in a professional league, is protecting your body. Your knees are essential to playing almost any sport, and choosing the right gear and warm-up exercises will keep you in the game.
Joseph L. Humpherys, DO, specializes in caring for athletes’ hard-working knees. Dr. Humpherys leads the professional care team at Rapid City Orthopedics in Rapid City, South Dakota, providing protection, healing, and education for injured (and non-injured) athletes who are on the court or field, doing what they love.
What are typical knee injuries?
Knee injuries are a common downside of being an active person, but car accidents, physical stresses, and repetitive motions can also result in knee injuries that can be treated by a sports injury professional like Dr. Humpherys.
Knee injuries are the most common joint injuries, accounting for approximately 4 million primary care visits per year. Common knee injuries include:
- ACL tears
- Meniscus tears
- Dislocated kneecap
- Soft tissue (tendon) injuries
- Strains and sprains
Knee injuries inevitably come with knee pain, which affects your quality of life, and the amount of time you’ll spend doing what you love.
How do I keep myself from getting injured?
Injury healing is Dr. Humpherys’ specialty, but injury prevention is always his goal. Protecting yourself from injury takes care and vigilance. Here are some of our suggestions.
Take time to properly warm-up
Plan to spend 20 minutes stretching and gently getting ready for vigorous exercise. Lunges, squats, and some core-training exercises can help you maintain your balance, reducing your risk of moving or landing awkwardly. When the game is over, spend another 15-20 minutes stretching and cooling down your muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Utilize proper protective gear
Protective gear isn’t just padding, though padding is important. Knee guards and shin guards are essential to protecting this valuable joint, and so are supportive shoes. If you wear cleats, adding an insole can help you protect the health of your knees.
Keep excessive weight away
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for the longevity of your knees. Extra weight puts strain on your knees and ankles, especially in active people. Counter the strain by gradually increasing the intensity of your exercises, strengthening your knee against the demand placed on them by your sport or sports of choice.
Choose low-impact exercises
Swimming and cycling are great ways to get exercise while being gentle on your knees. Physical therapy typically includes knee-friendly exercises, and Dr. Humpherys can show you how to exercise in a way that benefits your knees.
There is no way to guarantee that you’ll never have a knee injury. However, following these basic tips will give you a leg up on the competition.
What should I do if I hurt myself while playing?
As mentioned, knee injuries are the most common joint injuries, so Dr. Humpherys regularly advises patients on the best immediate treatment for their knees. The RICE method — Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation — is an easy and common first aid for joint injuries. If necessary, an over-the-counter pain reliever can reduce swelling and pain.
If your pain doesn’t improve in two days or gets worse, reach out to Dr. Humpherys for an appointment. While it’s possible that your injury will heal on its own, it’s important to remember that you may not know the full scope of your injury without professional assistance.
My knee hurts. Can you help me?
Dr. Humpherys is accepting new patients and has a stellar record with patients from all walks of life. Preventing knee injury is always ideal, but when you get injured, Dr. Humpherys is here to assist. Call us at 605-755-6730, or book an appointment online today.