|Fail to take proper care of your knees and this could be your fate!|
This last week during our indoor soccer game I injured my left knee pretty badly. I planted my left foot and then turned my body to my right, assuming my left foot would pivot like it always does. It got caught in the turf and stayed planted while my body turned around it. I heard a loud "pop", I felt instant pain, and I dropped to the floor to get my weight off of it as quickly as possible. Fast forward a few days and I can't put a lot of weight on my left leg, my knee is swollen where the MCL inserts into the tibia bone, and the whole knee structure feels compromised, as if it will collapse with one false move. I don't think it's a torn MCL, however, because there is no blood pooling or bruising, and I have full flexion and extension of the knee joint. Now I'm wearing a brace so large it feels like a prosthetic limb and I', limping around waiting until Monday when Kaiser can finally see me and confirm there is no MCL tear.
No all this knee tomfoolery got me thinking about my commitment to my own knee health, as well as the health of all Compound athletes' knees. You constantly hear the coaches saying "knees out" when squatting, or "sit back on your heels", or "keep your shins close to vertical". All these tips are meant to keep your knees healthy, among other things, while you push the intensity, push the weights, and push your fitness higher than you thought possible.
But there are other things that you can and should do for knee health as well. It reminded me of an article I read a while back on T-Nation.com. If you're not familiar with this site, it is dedicated to all things fitness from bodybuilding, to power lifting, to strongman training and everything in between. Browse the site with caution, however, because it is not always work or family safe.
The article is called 18 Tips for Bulletproof Knees and was written by Mike Robertson. Mike Robertson, M.S., C.S.C.S., U.S.A.W., is the Director of Custom Athletics and President of Robertson Training Systems in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mike received his Masters in Sports Biomechanics from the Human Performance Lab at Ball State University, and has been a competitive power lifter for the last 5 years.For more information on him, his products, and services, check out his website at www.robertsontrainingsystems.com.
Among other things the article references soft tissue work like foam rolling, mobility work, strength training, etc. Nothing that we haven't been preaching already, but perhaps gives some specifics and insights that you haven't already heard.
Check the article out and re-commit yourself to doing taking care of your knees. I do most of the things listed already, but I could always do more. A few doctor friends have told me that if my knee joint wasn't as strong as it was, it most definitely would have torn due tot he position I was in. Of course freak things like my soccer accident can always happen and injure the best knees out there, but as long as we do what is in our power to keep them healthy, we're giving ourselves the best chance to avoid injury and to come back quickly from them if we do get injured. Train smart before training hard. bc