If you’re an athlete of any kind, you understand the normal wear and tear sports can have on your body. Though some strain builds muscle and increases endurance, a prolonged play of many sports can negatively impact different muscles, joints and other parts of the musculoskeletal system. Unfortunately, the knees are among the most common body parts affected by playing a multitude of different sports. Below, we’ll look at the top four sports that impact your knees the worst.
Though long-distance running is far from the most damaging sport to your knees, the repetitive motion caused by running can eventually lead to some pretty bad knee ailments, especially if you run many miles a week. Consider cross-training for prevention of knee injury caused by running. Activities like swimming or biking can be introduced into your routine to alleviate the strain of running’s repetitive motion which can lead to knee pain.
Basketball can be a hard sport for any athlete to master, but the game itself is particularly hard on the knees. Constant running, jumping, falls and contact that are essential to basketball’s play can have a lasting effect on the knees. Unfortunately, there is really no way to avoid these instances in full contact basketball, but alternatives are available. Leagues that offer no contact basketball enable you to enjoy playing without fear of strain or injury.
Competitive tennis, singles tennis and racket ball are all especially hard on the knees. The short runs and quick pivots required to play racket sports can lead to serious injury if done for prolonged periods of time. Finding courts with softer foundations such as carpet or grass can help with the contact caused by playing on harder surfaces. Badminton is also a low impact alternative to subsidize your workout.
It should come as no surprise that the high contact, fast-paced action of soccer is one of the leading causes of a knee injury in sports. The area most commonly affected in soccer players is the kneecap. This is due to overextension during running or kicking the ball. Like basketball, there is no real way to avoid these occurrences while playing soccer. Conditioning should be the main focus to reduce chances of injury.
These may be the top four sports that impact your knees the most, but any kind of physical activity can lead to knee pain or injury. This is not to say exercise and physical play is not essential. A greater focus should be placed on warming up and stretching before any physical activity. Following these tips can lead to overall improved knee and musculoskeletal health, no matter what kind of athlete you are.