Knee pain can be a serious impediment to any activity. If you suffer from debilitating pain in your knees the first thing I would always recommend is a full check over from your doctor to check where the issue is coming from and how serious it is. It’s also advisable to seek advice because it is important to perform any activity under correct supervision to ensure you are performing with the right technique and not causing more damage.
Knee pain can often come about as a result of things such as lifting too much weight while doing squats or deadlifts with the wrong technique, playing a lot of polo without stretching, strong ride offs, unfortunate bad knee twisting due to the intensity of some plays, and the list goes on. These situations can bring about muscular imbalances that can be the one of the reasons for knee pain. Whatever the reason, strengthening your knees may be the answer to avoiding this pain in the future here are some top tips to help you keep your knees healthy for polo.
Strengthen Your Knees.
Your knee joint is made for stability. Strengthening your leg muscles that surround your knee (i.e. quadriceps, hamstrings, ab/adductors & glutes) increases the stability of your knee joint by adding support.
One of the main functions of the ankle is to work as a hinge, allowing the knee and hips to work in synergy in the creation of movement. Having rigid ankles is uncommon, but it can lead to injury and aches. Therefore, stretching this area is important in order to avoid extra pressure on the knee joint. From typical exercises such as ankle rotation to more difficult ones like working with resistance bands, these exercises can help us to gain mobility and strength in this area.
Using a foam roller is a great way to stimulate this area. In order to do this, lie on your front, then on your side and then on your back with a foam roller underneath you. Roll through the entire length of the femur, squeezing firmly to stimulate blood flow in the area. For more intensity, squeeze harder (this is not often necessary.) Stop the motion right after the knee joint, in all different angles.
– Stretch the muscles that support your knees
When your muscles become imbalanced due to many hours playing polo without stretching and taking care of them, the hamstrings and hip adductors (inner thigh muscles, aka Riding Muscles) become overworked to compensate for the underdeveloped less resilient muscles. This results in compressive force on the knee joint. By stretching out these support muscles, you decrease the chance that they’ll get tight and cause muscular imbalances.
So remember: As you strengthen naturally weak muscles like the glutes, also stretch supporting muscles like the inner thigh muscles, which are very important muscles in this sport.