How Do I Stop Knee and Leg Injuries Before They Start?

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How do I stop knee and leg injuries before they start? Plus, four Northeast walks for all ages

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Something we hear often at the clinic is the battle to keep walking whilst suffering with knee pain and leg pain.

It’s mid-summer and one of the most perfect times of the year to get out and enjoy the fresh air and the sights of your town. So, with lockdown restrictions easing and more people wanting to explore new places to keep themselves and the kids occupied, we’ve created a list of our favourite beginner walks and our top tips to avoid ankle pain and knee injuries whilst taking advantage of your new-found freedom! 

This blog post covers everything you’d possibly need to know about walking, including:  

  • How to warm up properly to prevent injury.  
  • 4 of the best Northeast walks for all the family, including the health benefits of walking.  
  • How to prevent injury after you get home, including how to prevent muscle cramp. 

How to warm up properly to prevent injury… 

All our little health secrets are great for anyone, but they are essential reading for anyone aged 50+, and especially for those that are looking to get more active now we’re approaching the warmer spring and summer months. 

It’s vital to take your stamina, trail and footwear into account to ensure that you’re protecting your joints and muscles in the best way possible.  

Now, on the face of it, walking appears to be a really safe way to keep fit and active and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re being kind to your knees by doing it regularly. Without the proper care and treatment, you could be causing serious damage to your joints.  

Top tips for warming up…

  1. Look for the hidden dangers – You’d be wise to mix it up a little and alternate between the beach, grassland and a nice flat tarmac surface and occasionally, hills or woodland is fine, too. Be wary of gravelly and uneven surfaces, these can test your balance and cause unnecessary stress on your vital joints, especially the calf muscles that keep you up-right.  
  2. Footwear – Not everything is stylish unfortunately! Stick to Velcro or lace shoes rather than those high heels! The tighter the laces are, the less movement you cause on your muscles and joints, which is healthier in the long run (as long as your laces don’t restrict blood flow from being too tight).   
  3. Stay hydrated – By staying hydrated, you’re reducing the risks of cramp (which causes muscle sprain) and you’re also looking after your blood sugar levels which can stop you feeling light-headed and dizzy!  

These top tips can be applied to those joining with smaller feet too, maybe get the kids involved by creating a checklist before you go to make sure!  

To find out more information about stretching and how to do it properly, CLICK HERE to head to our blog post to find a FREE stretching demonstration video by our Physiotherapist Jonny.

4 of the best Northeast walks for all the family, including the health benefits of walking… 

Guisborough – Roseberry Topping 

Roseberry Topping is situated near Guisborough and Newton Under Roseberry, sporting a cone-summit and stairway leading to the peak. Please bare in mind that the higher you go, the steeper it gets, so, do note that the paths become extremely slippery after rainfall, so maybe make this one of those to complete in the dryer weather! 

Roseberry Topping is also a short walk away from Great Ayton, which features a lovely stream and a high-street full of small business (including cafes and sweet shops), which is great for exploring with the kids (think ice-cream and tadpoles!) 

You can find Roseberry Topping by searching the TS9 6QX Postcode.  

Darlington – Drinkfield Marsh Local Nature Reserve

Drinkfield Marsh Local Nature Reserve is home to stone wall sculptures and interesting wildlife such as the Water Vole. During the walk you may also come across different bird species such as the Wintering Bittern, so keep an eye open for those! A game of Eye Spy with the kids will be an essential during this walk.  

This walk is suitable for all age groups and fitness levels, just remember to keep children close on the path and away from the ponds edge!  

You can find Drinkfield Marsh Local Nature Reserve by searching the DL3 0QZ Postcode.

Durham – Barnard Castle Blue Plaque Trail

The Barnard Castle Blue Plaque Trail takes you around Barnard Castle and through the history of the town. Each memorable part in history is commemorated by a blue plaque, and often leads to a local business. This is a great and interesting way to learn the history behind Barnard Castle and who was involved in creating the town.  

This walk takes around an hour and it’s definitely a great way to get the kids involved in an ‘adventure’, especially if you’re not from the area.  

You can find the Barnard Castle Blue Plaque Trail by searching the DL12 8BE Postcode.  

Hartlepool – Seaton Snooks Stroll

Seaton Snooks Stroll is situated in Seaton Carew and leads you along the Seaton Golf Course and Sand Dunes. This walk is perfect for beginners as it’s mainly tarmac, but there is a boggy section when the weather is less than perfect, BUT there is an alternative route not far away!  

This walk is great for all nature explorers, with the opportunity to spot wild animals and plants! It’s especially great in the summer as you have direct access to the beach, which is amazing if you’re wanting to get the little ones involved to build sandcastles!  

You can find the Seaton Snooks Stroll by searching the TS25 2DT Postcode.  

How to prevent injury after you get home, including how to prevent muscle cramp… 

Aftercare is one of the most important things when it comes to keeping your joints and muscles healthier (and pain free!) for longer. By following the correct care after a long walk, you can be preventing damage that could stop you from enjoying the outdoors AT ALL.  

Top tips for preventing injury…

  1. Use ice – If you feel that nagging pain beginning, or notice slight swelling, make sure to apply ice wrapped in a tea towel for 20-minute intervals. This will reduce swelling and tenderness in the area, along with help the muscles to cool down and return to their natural state. 
  2. Take it easy – Remember that we’ve been in lockdown for 16 months, your exercise levels may not be what they were 2 years ago. Make sure you take it easy and know your limits!  
  3. Pick the right shoes – The problem is you’ll never know it’s happening, at least not until you see some swelling or feel heat coming from your knee. I assure you, your knee is under much added stress if your footwear isn’t protecting it by absorbing some shock from the pavement and keeping it in a steady position. 

For more useful information and tips on how to protect your knee joints and how to keep you active for longer, CLICK HERE to read one of our other blog posts.

Remember that sometimes too much of a good thing can be bad. Over-exercising can lead to exhaustion and injury that takes longer to heal. When this happens, you may need longer periods of rest between walks and other activities, you may even feel exhausted rather than energised afterwards. We always urge caution and a sensible outlook on physical and mental health, this is a marathon – not a sprint. 

 

Let us know if you’ve completed any of these beautiful walks recently, or if you have some sweet spots of your own that weren’t mentioned in this post. Let us know in the comments below. 

Happy walking! 

P.S. We realise some people may be “unsure” if physio is right for them. If you feel like this, we offer complimentary FREE taster sessions, which give you the opportunity to come in and meet us and see for yourself how we can help you. There’s only 5 of these available. CALL us on 01429 866771 to secure one.

WE ARE HERE FOR YOU  

If you’re in pain and would like to talk to us about getting some help, some specialist advice, or if you are looking for a diagnosis, remember we are always here to help you.  

We are safely offering both face-to-face and virtual appointments.  

If you would like to get one of our limited slots, please click here to complete our enquiry form or CALL us on 01429 866771.  

Paul Gough
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