Take Care of Your Knees

Five Steps to Improve Strength and Flexibility

Although collateral ligament injuries often occur during sports and are difficult to avoid, there are several steps you can take to improve the overall strength and flexibility of your knees:

  • Manage your weight — Every pound in excess of your normal weight puts three or four additional pounds of pressure on your knee every time you take a step.
  • Keep your legs strong — The hamstrings, in the back of the thigh, and the quadriceps, the muscles in the front of the thigh, are crucial shock and impact absorbers. These muscles must be kept strong and flexible to protect the joint surfaces in your knee.
  • Stretch your muscles — Stretching before exercising should be a regular part of your warm-up; however, it is important not to over-stretch. Never push or pull on your leg with your hands while you are stretching, and avoid squatting during your warm-up, which can put stress on your knee joint.
  • Wear proper shoes — Well-cushioned, well-fitting athletic shoes can reduce the impact of the load exerted on the knees.
  • Ease into shape — If your activities require twisting and turning such as racket sports, skiing, soccer and basketball, don't assume you can play yourself into shape. Make sure you are in good physical shape before you play.


Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.