Knee injuries are no joke, and neither are those minor aches and pains that develop in our knees over time.
The nature of a professional driver’s occupation includes getting in and out of a truck every day and squatting down to go under your trailer. To make matters worse, if you are carrying extra weight, these repetitive activities can create knee pain over time.
If knee pain is occurring on a regular basis, it’s time to pay attention to the red warning light going off before things get worse. Below are some tips to try to strengthen and protect your knee joints.
Strengthen your stabilizer muscles
You’ve heard me talk about how stabilizer muscles perform a function much like stabilizer bars in trucking. The same principle applies in supporting and protecting your knees. We often hear about ACLs (anterior cruciate ligaments) and MCLs (medial collateral ligaments) being damaged or torn in the knee, but the knee joint actually depends on the surrounding muscles, like the quadriceps, for stability. Performing body-weight squats can be good to strengthen your quadriceps.
When performing body-weight squats, proper form is important to keep your knee joints healthy and reduce the risk of injury. When practicing your squats, keep your body in proper exercise form, and make sure your knees move out over your toes during each squat. Also make sure there is no deviation in your hips and lower back, which can change stress points on the knee. Be sure not to drop (squat) down too quickly; you don’t want momentum to carry you back up instead of the positive movement of your body weight.
We all know we should warm up before performing any exercises, but most people don’t. Even if you are not getting ready to work out, it’s always a good idea, once you exit your truck, to take a brisk five- to 10-minute walk to warm your body up. It’s good exercise for your knees — and your entire body.
Lighten your load
The last tip is to manage your personal weight, if necessary. Any extra weight can place unwelcome pressure and stress on your knees. Extra weight can also create back issues, which can indirectly cause you to change your posture and the way you walk, creating extra stress on your knees.