EXERCISES TO IMPROVE KNEE STABILITY
This article is edited by Professor Diana Tomasi, Professor of Exercise and Sports Sciences, for over 30 years, at the Liceo G. B. Quadri in Vicenza and Head of the middle distance sector of Athletics Vicentina.
The knee joint is the largest and perhaps most complex joint in the human body, and its efficiency is vital for proper human locomotion.
We certainly do not want to bore anyone by describing the anatomy of the knee: we limit ourselves to remembering that towards this joint the tibia and fibula converge from below and the femur from above, without forgetting the patella (the patella or patella is a sesamoid bone inserted in the quadriceps tendon of the thigh). The muscles most involved in knee extension movements are represented by the quadriceps femoris, while the hamstrings are involved in flexion (hamstring, semitendinosus and semimembranous). We should also talk about the popliteal muscle, the tensor fascia lata, the sartorius but without going into the merits of the various muscles we will then understand that the most “important” for the knee is the quadriceps femoris. In addition to the aforementioned bone and muscle structures there are numerous other structures (the joint capsule of the knee, ligaments, menisci, cartilage, synovial sac, tendon insertions of the muscles involved in the flexions / extensions of the leg) and this evident complexity it already suggests that any discomfort or pain in the knee may derive from different and disparate causes.
Some individual characteristics can affect knee health: For example, an overweight person certainly stresses the joint more and can cause premature wear of the same. Also in this case, therefore, correct nutrition plays an active role in maintaining a state of general health, which also includes the well-being of the knees. Bivo as always tries to offer its help in this regard by guaranteeing a healthy, complete food with the right amount of calories. If you want to try it, use the code “IORESTOINFORMA” to be entitled to a 10% discount on your first purchase:
Returning to the topic of any discomfort or pain in the knee, we remind you that knee pain (from the Greek gòni, knee with the suffix algia: pain) can affect males and females, young and old and can have traumatic, degenerative or postural causes (incorrect posture) . The location of the pain (anterior, medial, posterior, lateral) can already give an indication of the probable causes.
Knee pain could in fact have multiple causes. If the “components” of the knee (menisci, ligaments, cartilage, tendons, etc …) were worn or had suffered trauma that broke or “ruined” them, the functionality would suffer, and in addition to local discomfort or pain, the knee could have joint swellings or effusions.
Without prejudice to the fact that it will be the specialist doctor, with the help of the tests that modern technology has made available, to formulate the correct diagnosis, what we can say is that, regardless of the causes, a good tone and elasticity of the muscles involved is very important in guaranteeing the grip and stability of the knee.
We can also remember the importance of prevention: maintaining a good musculature to support the knee, first of all the rectus femoris, the vastus medialis, the vastus lateralis and the vastus intermediate (i.e. the quadriceps femoris) is certainly the best way to minimize the risk. of sprains or various trauma to the knee. To improve the hold and stability of the knees, it is therefore important to regularly carry out exercises that strengthen the anterior and posterior thigh muscles, starting with easy exercises, without particular loads, to arrive, as the muscles tone and strengthen, to perform even slightly more challenging exercises.
If anteriorly we must pay particular attention to the quadriceps femoris, the posterior kinetic chain (hamstring and paravertebral muscles) deserves the same attention.
It is essential not to feel discomfort or pain while performing the exercises, because pain is always an alarm bell that warns us that something is wrong.
First exercise. We start for example from the supine position (belly up) with the legs normally extended; bend the left leg upwards, placing the left foot on the ground at the knee of the right leg, which remains extended and resting on the ground. At this point, we raise the right leg outstretched (keep the hammer foot) for about 30 centimeters, up to about the knee height of the left leg, about twenty times. We repeat this exercise three times, alternating the position of the legs.
These are exercises carried out at least initially without “loads”. If we notice that the exercise carried out with natural load is not very training for us, we can add loads, such as 1 kg or 1.5 kg anklets, in order to train more intensely the muscle area we are working on.
Another exercise: from the standing position, with your right hand resting on a chair or table to your right. Then lift your left leg straight forward to form an angle of approximately 30 degrees. With the leg raised, fully extended, imagine drawing geometric figures (circle, triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, etc.) in the air with the tip of the foot. Then move the limb – always keeping it well extended – imagining that you write your name and surname with the tip of your foot. Change your leg (and also your supporting hand) and repeat the exercise. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Even sitting for a few minutes on a (sturdy) table letting your legs dangle and swing is an exercise that can help us unload the knee joint.
Other exercises useful for this purpose can be performed in isometry (which means “equal measures”, that is a position where the length and angles between the body segments do not change during the exercise) and in this regard take a look at the interesting video here under.
Source of the video: Youtube channel of Umberto Miletto