Protect yourself before the Big Football Game: Knee Injury Prevention
Football is the most popular sport in the world. It is played in around 200 countries by more than 265 million people. But it is also a sport with highest injury rates (34%) which comes out to be around 85 million injuries per year. Major footballing Injuries can be divided into:
- Ankle Sprains
- Pulled hamstrings
- Ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury (knee injury)
- Groin Injuries
The most common and most serious of all of the footballing injuries is the knee injury. Although you can get relief from a knee sprain by using sports medicine, prevention is always better than cure. So here are some preventive steps to reduce the chances of a knee injury before your big football game.
Maintain Your Fitness
You might be at the highest level of fitness when the season is on. But during the off-season, you have to constantly keep your fitness at a decent level by following a program that involves strength training, flexibility, and aerobic exercises. So if you’ve had an off-season and you are not at your peak health, gradually try to get back to your optimum fitness. Having a proper body weight according to BMI also plays an important role in fitness. You must be fit enough to clear pre-season physicals.
Proper warm up/cool down and stretching
A proper warm-up reduces the chance of injury and improves performance. You should start slow and ramp it up with step-up and hamstring curls etc. Cool down slowly with lightweight cardio and lunges followed by stretching. Stretch each muscle for at least 30 seconds.
Avoid high Impact exercises putting pressure on knees
Putting high stress on your knees just before an important match is not a wise choice. Downhill running and running on asphalt are some high impact exercises for your knees. Also, strength exercises like deep knee bend and squats can be straining. Even if you plan to do them, don’t bend your knee more than halfway.
Strengthen your core and knee muscles
Research has shown that more a person has control over turning the knee into valgus (inner direction), fewer are their chances of a knee injury. Strengthening the muscles around your knee requires focusing particularly on hips, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Exercises including hamstring curls, legs extensions, and hip abduction/adduction exercises, lunges and squats increase the strength of knee muscles. Planks and back extensions are the best to strengthen your core.
Play with proper and protective gear
Get shoes that are comfortable and have proper cushioning. However, this rule changes if you have flat feet. Special shoe inserts will be required in case of flat feet. Also, make sure to change your shoes regularly. Consider wearing knee braces as they support knee ligaments and reduces the risk of knee injury. Knee braces are of Prophylactic, Functional, and Patellofemoral types. These are made for different purposes.
After taking all these precautions, if you still somehow suffer from a knee Injury, there are many sports medicines that will help you out. Sports medicine is the branch of medicine that aims to improve the athlete’s performance and help them avoid injuries or heal them faster. Medicine and sports come together in sports medicine to improve a player’s performance.