I didn't realize how hard the past six months of working from home have been on my body until a recent tennis match with my roommate. While my skills were on point (you don't want to come face to face with my backhand shot!), it only took one quick pivot to feel shooting knee pain and soreness for days.
Clearly, my knees were fed up with the neglect brought on by my couch office, so I contacted Jasmine Marcus, a PT, DPT, and CSCS, to make things right.
"Knee stability is important to keep your knee from giving out, which could lead to injury," she said. Hearing this definitely made my ears perk up, but what exactly does knee stability mean? Marcus said four major ligaments connect bone to bone and help keep the knee stable: the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL), and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL).
The joint capsule, menisci, and muscles surrounding the knee also play important roles, Marcus said.
Clearly, knee care encompasses much more than I ever imagined. That's why Marcus stresses the importance of knee stability — especially if your knees are weak or at the point of giving out. It's always smart to check in with a doctor about your pain, too.
"Exercises such as squats and lunges can help strengthen the muscles that control the knee," she said. And if you're incorporating weights into your workout, Marcus noted that loading the weight appropriately is so important. Until you're feeling strong and healthy, Marcus said to be cautious of higher-impact activities like running, jumping, and climbing stairs because of the pressure they put on your knees.
A big reminder to always warm up for your workouts, too. "An easy way to warm up your knees is to get them moving. This can be done by doing butt kicks, high knees, or bodyweight lunges and squats," she said.
Oh, and did I mention I never warmed up for my match — not even a stretch? It's clear I have been my own worst enemy and have some habits to change.