Avoid these 7 Deadly Knee Rehabilitation Mistakes…
After a suffering a knee injury, surviving knee surgery or recovering from chronic knee pain, your next step is proper knee rehabilitation.
Unfortunately poor knee rehabilitation is very common in all knee problems especially in levels of athletics from amateurs and week end warriors to pro athletes.
Let’s discuss proper knee treatment to avoid the 7 deadly rehab mistakes following an injury or surgery.
Rehabilitation Deadly Mistake #1 – Return to activities and sports only when you are 100% pain free.
The most important factor in returning to your level of pre-injury function is to be 100% knee pain free, first.
Attempting to return while you’re still in pain will be detrimental to your cause – it will actually slow down your recovery, because proper muscle contraction is prevented by pain.
You simply will be unable to effectively contract your quadriceps and hamstrings, thereby risking further knee injury.
Rehabilitation Deadly Mistake #2 – Return to activities and sports only when your knee’s range of motion (ROM) is at least 100%, or as close to that as possible.
Stretch and improve the your range of motion in both knee flexion and extension with appropriate knee rehab exercises.
Rehabilitation Deadly Mistake #3 – Return to activities and sports only when your knee strength is at least 80% (preferably more).
Strengthen with appropriate exercises and loads until your strength in all the joint muscles is more than 80 % of pre-injury levels.
Strengthening exercises may include both close chain and open chain types.
Knee exercises target the quadriceps, VMO (Vastus medialis obliquus), hamstrings and hip adductors. Your calf muscles may need strengthening as well.
Rehabilitation Deadly Mistake #4 – No Neuromuscular Re-Training
After an injury, your joint goes into ‘protect mode’ – your muscles no longer fire in the correct pattern, but instead, in a protective one.
That protective pattern helps splint your joint for recovery – but does not reverse by itself.
Your knee therapy must therefore involve neuromuscular re-training in order to get back to the correct knee muscle firing pattern – or you’ll be at risk for re-injury.
Rehabilitation Deadly Mistake #5 – No Proprioception and BalanceTraining
After a knee injury, your joint may lose it’s orientation in space (called proprioception).
Your physical therapist should check for this and provide special proprioception exercises, if needed.
Those exercises are performed while your foot is unstable, deliberately forcing you to balance.
Rehabilitation Deadly Mistake #6 – No Protection Against Re-Injury
If you had a knee sprain or surgery for ligament reconstruction, you’ll need to wear a proper protective knee brace for 12 months.
It takes that long for the ligament fibers to strengthen properly and the entire ligament to heal back to full strength.
Rehabilitation Deadly Mistake #7 – Poorly Trained Medical Person
Please always get your knee examined, diagnosed and treated by qualified medical professional.