Strengthen your knees from every angle to decrease wear and tear, decrease pain and improve function. One of the best and simplest pieces of equipment to help do this is a BAPS board. It is basically a small teeter totter that forces you to control your body in multiple angles.
To do this effectively, you need to fire muscles in all directions and planes. It also improves something called proprioception, which is a fancy term to describe the ability to know where your body is in space.
To protect your knees, or any joint for that matter, strengthen the muscles proximal and distal to the joint. For the knee, this means knee flexion exercises to strengthen the hamstrings and knee extension exercises to strengthen the quadriceps.
To decrease force across your patella-femoral joint, it is best to do knee extension exercises only through the final 40 degrees of motion. This also serves to isolate and strengthen the VMO or vastus medialis oblique, which will help with patella tracking and decrease anterior knee pain and degeneration.
Flexibility is important to remember when strengthening the knees. You want your legs to be able to perform optimally throughout their full range of motion. Strength and flexibility have to be balanced in all of your muscles.
In particular, don’t neglect stretching your quadriceps. Do this by lying 0n your stomach and reaching back and pulling your heels to your back. You can also stand holding onto a railing and pull your knees up to your back to stretch your thighs.
Written by: Paul T Scheatzle, DO Physician/Author
About the Author
Paul Scheatzle is a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician and Author of the book “The Journey: Take the Path to Health and Fitness.”