Six ways to wreck your knees

Two words that strike fear in the heart of any fitness buff: knee surgery. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a casual jogger, chances are you'll want to keep your knees in good shape until you're a ripe old age. In a posting on August 17, health news site WebMD tells you how.

The knee is a complex and vulnerable joint, highly prone to injury, stated WebMD. That means you'll need to be extra vigilant when it comes to keeping them protected.

"It's hard to find the right balance between mobility and stability; the knee needs to move back and forth, twist a little, and pivot too," states University of Pennsylvania orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist Nicholas DiNubile, MD, in an interview with WebMD. "The knee's ligaments can tear, its tendons can swell up, osteoarthritis can take hold, and even everyday wear and tear can ruin a perfectly good set of knees."

Here are six common mistakes you can avoid to save your knees.

1. Ignoring knee pain. Here is the tricky part: knowing when it is just a common ache or something more serious. WebMD notes that a good rule of thumb is that when the pain limits your ability to do what you normally do, you need to have it checked out by a physician.

2. Being overweight. Extra weight on the body puts added stress on the knees and also increases your chances of osteoarthritis in the knee, a common form of arthritis that wears away the knee's cartilage.

3. Not resting and rehabilitating an injury. Give your knee the critical rest and rehab it needs after an injury. Depending on the damage and treatment, allow anywhere from two weeks to several months for recovery.

4. Neglecting your ACL. The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of the most commonly injured ligaments in the knee, and high-risk sports such as football and basketball put extra strain on it. WebMD adds that women have a two- to eight-times higher risk for ACL tears compared to men. Talk to a trainer about your risks and what you can do to avoid this type of injury.

5. Overdoing it. Don't go overboard with your workouts; gradually add intensity or duration to your regimen to allow your body time to adjust.

6. Ignoring muscles around the knee. The Mayo Clinic states that weak muscles and inflexibility are a primary cause of knee injury. To avoid this, DiNubile recommends strengthening the quadriceps and hamstring muscles with exercises such as knee extensions, hamstring curls, leg presses, and stretching. His gym equipment of choice: a Swiss medicine ball.

Access the article: