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Outdoor First Aid

Knee Injuries: An Unexpected Twist

If you've had a knee injury, follow these exercises before you hit the trail again.

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When you twist an ankle or wrench a knee, it isn’t just the tendons and ligaments that get yanked. According to Lewis G. Maharam, M.D., of the Greater New York chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, some athletes jump back into action before their internal balance (proprioception) sensors are ready. The result: another turned ankle, because the athlete didn’t repair the proprioceptive connections. Before hitting the trail again:

  • Lay a 10-foot-long 2 x 4 flat on the ground. Walk forward and backward on it for its full length, 10 times.
  • Stand on one foot and balance for 15 seconds, 10 times. Repeat with the other foot.
  • Do 10 one-quarter squats on the injured leg, still standing on the 2 x 4. Repeat with the other leg.