The knee is one of the most complex joints in the human body. Early in the season it is important to prevent knee injuries to make sure you can last the sport season. Many sports place extreme stress on the knee so they are very vulnerable to injury.

The smart choice is to do what you can to prevent a knee injury so you can keep playing what you love this sports season. Hopefully, you have put in enough training in the preseason so you now should focus on injury prevention while playing.

9 tips to prevent knee injuries:

  1. Warm up, stretch and cool down at training and game day.
  2. Focus your training program on developing strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.
  3. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of training as the season progresses
  4. Allow adequate recovery time between training sessions and games.
  5. Wear the correct protective equipment including footwear - good shoes will help to keep knees stable, provide cushioning and support the knees and lower leg.
  6. Check your training and playing environment for hazards eg uneven surfaces.
  7. Avoid activities that cause pain.
  8. Drink plenty of water before, during and after play.
  9. See your physiotherapist if you need advice about your training or injury concerns.

Immediate management of a knee injury:

RICER protocol – Rest – Ice – Compression – Elevation – Referral

Continue RICE for 48–72 hours to reduce the bleeding and damage within the joint.

Rest the knee in an elevated position with an ice pack applied for 20 minutes every two hours (wrap the ice in a towel/cloth – do not apply ice directly to the skin).

Wear a compression bandage to limit swelling and bleeding in the joint.

Also use the No HARM protocol to decrease swelling and bleeding in the injured area.

No Heat – No Alcohol – No Running or activity – No Massage.

See your physiotherapist or sports medicine professional as soon as possible to determine the extent of the injury and any treatment required.

For more information on preventing and managing knee injuries see: Sports Medicine Australia, ligament injuries, cartilage injuries