Performance Insiders

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Q: What should I do for recovery if I hit my knee when falling?

I banged my knee falling off my bike and now it's sore just below the kneecap. How long should I lay off it, and do you have any recovery suggestions? Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico

By: Question from: ,

Free Newsletters

Dispatch This week's featured articles, reviews, and videos. Sent twice weekly.
News From the Field The most important breaking news from around the Web. Sent daily.
Outside GOOur hottest adventure-travel tips and trips. Sent occasionally.
Outside Partners Outside-approved deals and special offers from select partners. Sent occasionally.

Subscribe
to Outside
Save Over
70%

Magazine Cover

iPad Outside+ App Access Now Included!

Advertisement

A:

You could have done a number of things to your knee, from a slight bruise to a fractured patella. If you can barely move it, or there's swelling, or pain is persistent for a couple weeks, then see a doctor to diagnose your injury.

If you don't have any swelling and you have full range of motion (i.e. you can bend and extend your leg), then your main goal should be to keep moving it so it doesn't get stiff. It's important to protect your range of motion because if you lose, say, five degrees of motion when you extend your leg, then you'll have trouble walking, running, or taking the stairs.

An exercise called the heel slide can help you maintain range of motion. You'll need a smooth surface like your kitchen floor to lie on. Remove your shoes, but leave your socks on.

Here’s how to do it:

[1] Lying flat on your back, slide your heels to your butt. Keep your toes pulled up toward your shins so that only your heels touch the floor.

[2] Squeeze your hamstrings (the backs of your thighs) when your heels are as close to your butt as you can get them.

[3] Straighten your legs back out, contracting your quadriceps muscles again when your legs are straight.

Perform two to three sets of 10 to 15 heel slides daily. If you experience a sharp pain, stop. Don't worry about a dull or achy pain—it should decrease.

-- Sue Falsone, Director of Performance Physical Therapy, Athletes' Performance

More at Outside

Next in Fitness (76 of 99)

What is the best way to increase my vertical?

Read More »
Current Issue Outside Magazine

Subscribe and get a great deal! Two free Buyer's Guides plus a free GoLite Sport Bottle. Monthly delivery of Outside—your ultimate resource for today's active lifestyle. All that and big savings!

Free Newsletters

Dispatch This week's featured articles, reviews, and videos. Sent twice weekly.
News From the Field The most important breaking news from around the Web. Sent daily.
Gear of the Day The latest products, reviews, and editors' picks. Coming soon.
Outside Partners Outside-approved deals and special offers from select partners. Sent occasionally.

Ask a Question

Our gear experts await your outdoor-gear-related questions. Go ahead, ask them anything.

* We might edit your question for length or clarity. If it's not about gear, we'll just ignore it.