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Images: Showbit, Winston Chuang

The number of women with knee-related injuries has doubled in the two years (2012-2014), says Dr Andrew Quoc Dutton, medical director and orthopaedic surgeon with Singapore Medical Group’s (SMG’s) Orthopaedic Group. “More women are doing sports, plus, people are more exposed to high-risk sports that damage the knees, like skiing and wakeboarding,” he says.

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3 WAYS TO AVOID AN INJURY

1. Run in the centre of the pavement

Most pavements are slightly concave, and that unevenness can put extra strain on your knees. Run in the centre of the pavement as that’s the flattest part, or use jogging paths, running tracks or treadmills. Another tip: land on your forefoot (the front of your foot), instead of your heel, which puts more strain on the knees.

2. Lift heavy objects right

Don’t squat to lift something heavy off the ground – bending your knees too much increases stress on the joints. Instead, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and bend at the hips as you pick up the item. You can bend your knees slightly, at a 30-degree angle. Always keep your spine straight.

3. Wear the right workout shoes

Make sure they have adequate cushioning to decrease the impact when your foot strikes the ground. Also look out for shoes that will help your feet maintain a “neutral alignment” – when your foot lands in a slightly outward position, distributing weight evenly across the foot and heel, lessening strain. If your feet tend to land inwards, get shoes with inside arch support. If they “lean” excessively outwards, get a pair with outside heel support. Ask a shoe-store assistant for help. If you wear barefoot running shoes (which have thin soles), run on soft surfaces like grass or earth. Such shoes may not have enough cushioning for hard surfaces like cement, tiles or asphalt.

 

GET KNEES IN TIP-TOP SHAPE

… By doing squats!  “This works the muscles in your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes,  creating a stronger support system for and around weak knees,” says Vanessa Lee (below), managing director and head trainer of Van Lee Fitness, a women’s muay thai gym and fitness facility. Do this workout three to five times a week.

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1. Stand with your legs slightly more than shoulder-width apart. (left picture) 

2. Bend your knees into a squat, pushing your butt back. Your knees should always be behind your toes. (right picture) 

3. Get back into standing position and repeat. Do at least five sets of 12-15 reps. 


3 SPORTS TO AVOID

1. Inline skating, roller skating and ice skating

Falling when doing these can twist and injure your knees

2. Netball and basketball

“You jump often and may collide with others, causing you to land off-balance,” says Dr Dutton. This can cause twisting injuries.

3. Long-distance running

Anything over 20km will strain your knees.

EXPERT SOURCE: DR ANDREW QUOC DUTTON, MEDICAL DIRECTOR AND ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEON WITH SMG ORTHOPAEDIC GROUP

This story was first published in Her World magazine, May 2014 issue.