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Health & Fitness

Wear And Care

Playing golf can be hard on the knees. Here's a guide to injuries and prevention

October 2012
knee care

INJURIES:

1. CHONDROSIS
A type of arthritis that occurs when articular cartilage, usually behind the knee, deteriorates. The golfer will typically feel a dull, achy pain and might experience swelling.

2. MENISCUS TEARS
This disc-shape cartilage between the thigh and shin bones often tears as a result of being compressed as the knee joint rotates. The golfer will feel a sharp, biting pain.

3. OSTEOARTHRITIS
Decades of joint stress can result in a significant loss of cartilage, often on the inner and outer edges of the knee, causing bone-on-bone contact and deep-aching or sharp pain.

4. TORN ANTERIOR CRUCIATE LIGAMENT
This connective tissue in the middle of the joint can rip if the knee goes beyond its normal range of motion. A popping sound usually accompanies a tear, and swelling will occur within a few hours.

5. TORN MEDIAL COLLATERAL LIGAMENT
This ligament is located on the inner portion of the joint. Stress placed on the lead knee through impact can rip the tissue, but this is rare and the injury can heal without surgery. Swelling, soreness and bruising on the inside portion of the knee are common symptoms.

DO THESE FOR HEALTHY KNEES

Stretch Illustrations: Kagan McLeod

« HIP-AND-CALF STRETCH

Increased hip and calf flexibility reduces the stress and shearing force on the knee. On a sturdy chair, hold this demonstrated position, pushing the hips forward and straightening the grounded leg.

« THIGH-TONING SQUATS

Weak quadriceps and hamstring (or thigh) muscles can lead to instability in the knee joint. Keeping your spine straight, slowly drop the posted knee to the ground. Rise and repeat until fatigued.

« HAMSTRING STRETCH

Golfers usually have weak, tight hamstrings, but these posterior thigh muscles are responsible for bending the leg. Hold the position above. Try to keep the extended foot on its heel and the extended leg straight.

« HIP-FLEXOR STRETCH

These muscles allow golfers to get into and maintain a proper address posture, which helps alleviate some compression issues with the knee. Hold the position shown, thrusting your pelvis toward the chair.

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