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Prevent Injuries in Your Lower Extremities

LOWER EXTREMITIES

By Abbey Fecher, DPT

Injuries of your lower back, hips and knees can prevent you from doing the activities you enjoy. Many lower back and lower body injuries can be prevented by maintaining good strength in some key muscle groups. One of the most important groups of muscles to focus on are your gluteal muscles. These muscles help provide a stable base for your legs and trunk and also are one of the   major muscle groups responsible for allowing you to walk, run and jump. Without strength here, you put abnormal stress on your lower back and knees. This can quickly cause overuse injuries like tendonitis, a lower back strain and bursitis.

Try these 4 key exercises to ensure you are able to strengthen your gluteal muscles and prevent injuries. You can perform these exercises at least 5 days per week.

Clams:

  • Lay on your side with your knees slightly bent in front of your hips.
  • Engage your hips and core and lift your top knee. Stop before your hip starts rolling backwards. Control your knee back to starting position. Perform 2 sets of 10 on each side.

Don’t let your top hip roll forwards or backwards. Don’t twist from your torso. Keep your hips stacked and spine straight.

LOWER EXTREMITIES

Squats:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Contract your core and squat down, pushing your hips back like you are sitting in a chair.
  • Squeeze your glutes and return to a standing position. Perform 2 sets of 10.

Do not allow your knees to pass over your toes. Keep your core contracted to prevent your back from arching.

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Side Steps:

  • Place a theraband around your ankles and perform a partial squat.
  • Walk sideways, keeping your toes pointed forward.
  • Walk 15-20 feet in one direction and then back to starting position.

Always maintain hip/knee/ankle alignment. Keep your core tight and limit ‘swaying’ in your trunk. Control the band through the entire movement rather than letting it control you.

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Dips:

  • Stand with one foot on a step and the opposite leg hanging off the edge of the step.
  • Bend the knee of the leg on the step and squat so your opposite heel barely touches the ground. Stand back up. Perform 2 sets of 10 on each side.

Do not let your knee go over your toe as you squat. Keep your knee in line with your ankle.

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If you are having pain or difficulty while performing any of these exercises, call 703-450-4300 TODAY or CLICK HERE to schedule a FREE ASSESSMENT with one of our therapists. They will determine the cause of your pain and develop a personalized plan of care to help you reach your goals and get you back to doing the things you love.