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An injured athlete is an unhappy athlete. So when it comes time for training and warming up the muscles, you need to be on top of your game. Be sure you take it seriously, especially when your knees are involved.

“Knee injuries, specifically those involving the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), are more common in females,” says Jorge B. Velez, M.D., a sports medicine specialist at Kelsey-Seybold’s Katy Clinic.

Injuries are more likely to happen when you're tired, so know your body's limits and be sure to get plenty of rest. Training and listening to your body may help prevent general soreness and injury.

  • Always warm up before doing any kind of physical activity.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly, especially when running.
  • Avoid sudden changes in the intensity of activity. During workouts, always increase the force and duration of activity gradually.
  • Strengthen your hamstring and quadriceps, which are muscles that work together to bend or straighten the leg. Strengthening both muscles through weights can better protect the leg against knee injuries.

Training and conditioning year-round will help you avoid ACL injuries. Strengthen the hamstrings and quadriceps with regular exercises, but be sure to include flexibility training in the mix to help your balance and coordination. Practicing proper landing techniques and learning cutting maneuvers, a quick change in direction, with a slight bend at the knee and hip will also prove to be beneficial.

“Remember that some soreness can be expected when beginning any new sport, but anything that persists after an injury should be looked at by your doctor,” says Dr. Velez.