I’ve had three conversations this week about knee problems, particularly ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears.
Now before you switch off because you think, “ah well that’s good because that doesn’t apply to me”, I really would ask you to keep reading. Do so for the future health of your poor old knees!
But I Don’t Have Knee Problems
Yeah and neither did the people I was speaking to about these issue before they damaged this rather important ligament in their knee.
So, rather than taking retrospective enforced action, you could take a proactive approach and not have the misfortune of surgery or long rehab programmes. (believe me this can be depressing)
Where It All Goes Wrong
So this ligament that I’ve mentioned a few times, the ACL, resists inward, turning in type motion of the lower leg.
Weak glutes (your buttocks) allow this inward turning motion to occur in the lower leg and over time this creates micro traumas in the ACL. Most will not have any idea of this, but over time this reduces the tensile strength of the ACL tissue.
Place a seated working environment into the mix which tightens the hips and deconditions the glutes further and you end up being dominant in the thigh muscles (quads). This stresses the ACL further and increases the incidence of tears.
Steps To Avoid This…
1 – Correct postural imbalances around the hip
2 – Only perform exercises with perfect form and regress a movement to the appropriate level to achieve this (avoid doing exercises because they look good)
3 – Don’t allow your ego to get the better of you and start doing things you did when you were 18 years old:-)
4 – If you want to participate in sports (such as skiing) then make sure you are fully conditioned for the rigours of the event before going into it. You may well have been able to turn your hand to anything when you were younger but the further from 18 years old you are, the more you need to train specifically for an event before it takes place.
5 – Avoid lunging! If there is one exercise I see being done universally poorly it’s the lunge. Only perform this exercise if you are able to with excellent technique and you have activated the hip stabilisers and glute max (largest muscle of your bottom) prior to the exercise.
6 – Find a pay off for sitting all day. Personally I get up every hour and deep squat (like you’d see in India for example), stretch my quads/hips and perhaps lay on a swiss ball (depending on where I am)
7 – Activate your core. Poor core and pelvic control results in a forward tipping of the pelvis (lordosis) very often. This increased lordosis is a contributing factor in the inward twisting motion of the lower leg.
Here’s to healthy knees