No Pain, No Knee Strain
Educate yourself on knee strain and pain to help prevent injury
Know the expression, you’re the bee’s knees and how it means you’re the absolute best? Well, we think you and your knees are both fantastic, which is why we want you (and your knees) to remain healthy and strong for your lifetime. After all, you use them constantly, doing squats, burpees and lunges off ice, while putting them in full play on the ice.
As a figure skater, you need healthy knees, along with your hips and lower legs, to empower you to jump, perform beautiful choreography and so much more. The thigh bone, your femur; the lower leg bone, the tibia; and the knee cap, the patella all need to work well together for optimal on ice and off ice training. An injury to this area has the potential to keep you off of the ice and limit your training. Recognizing and understanding potential injuries can help you to avoid incurring them.
Sprain versus Strain, Ligaments versus Muscles
A sprain refers to when a ligament is over- stretched and a strain refers to when a muscle is over-stretched. Ligaments are soft tissue structures that connect bone to bone. A ligament creates stability between two bones. Muscles are soft tissue structures that allow you to jump, bend, extend and perform on and off the ice. In basic terms, muscles are your movers and do-ers.
Inflammation is a complex word that we use when a part of the body is irritated. This irritation can come in many forms: pain when moving, tenderness to touch, visible redness or other discolouration and/or swelling. Swelling is fluid that gives inflamed body parts a puffy appearance.
1 PATELLA (KNEE CAP) TENDONITIS
BODY PART: The patella (knee cap) tendon connects your quad (big thigh muscle) to your lower leg. The connection of the two passes over your knee cap.
TYPE OF INJURY: Inflammation of this tendon can be very painful and will often hurt when you bend the knee, land from a jump and even touch it.
Why it happens: Overtraining and overuse in which pliability is not focused on pre and post activity.
HOW TO RECOVER: The simple version of patella tendonitis recovery is to decrease the inflammation with ice application, but seeing a specialist to ice massage and use a vibrating therapy device will help the muscles on the front of your thigh and lower leg stay relaxed.
2 MCL SPRAIN
BODY PART: The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is a ligament on the inside part of the knee that connects to the inside of the thigh bone, your femur and to the inside of the lower leg bone, the tibia.
TYPE OF INJURY: A sprain to this ligament occurs when it is over stretched. It can be painful to touch, painful to move your knee and feel like you are not stable.
WHY IT HAPPENS: Over stretching while the rest of your body, your hips, knees and ankles perform activities with less than ideal form, like when your skate gets stuck on the ice and stays fixed in that position while the rest of your body keeps moving. HOW TO RECOVER: Through a sports medicine specialist who can reduce surrounding muscular tightness and allow the ligament to heal.
3 QUAD STRAIN
BODY PART: The quadriceps, better known as your quads are large muscle groups on the front of both of your thighs.
TYPE OF INJURY: A quad (not the jump) strain is when the big muscle on the front of your thigh gets overstretched. The quad can then be painful to touch, painful to stretch and/or feel hard to touch. In addition, it will feel different than your non-injured quad.
WHY IT HAPPENS: Overtraining and repeated impact. A quad strain can occur when jump frequency is increased too quickly and/or when not enough muscle recover is allowed during training periods.
HOW TO RECOVER: The key is to reduce tension on the injured portion of the muscle, obtain therapy that will enhance recovery and perform exercises and off-ice activities that can reduce injury risk.
Know your body parts and how to identify potential injuries