Knee Injury Prevention
Hello again all you production professionals out there. In our last post we started the topic of knee safety and discussed ways to keep your knees healthy and in top form so that they’ll work for you, while you’re getting your work done. In this installment we cover how to best prevent knee injuries while doing all that work. Let's get right into it!
Kneeling and Wearing Knee Pads
One of the easiest ways to hurt your knees is to not properly protect them when doing work that requires kneeling. In general, it’s not good for your knees to be kneeling for long periods of time. But, as we all know, in production work, it’s almost a certainty that it will be necessary.
Make sure you wear tough, durable, protective and comfortable knee pads that will keep them protected and free from pain. Throwing a foam ground pad on the floor where you’re kneeling can also help. Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment cannot be stressed enough.
Also, if you need to be kneeling for a long time be sure to stand up every so often to give the knees a chance to relax and to stretch your legs.
We are constantly moving back and forth from various heights. Moving off of trucks, forklifts, stages, steps, platforms, etc. can mean that we sometimes take the quicker route and will just hop off instead of using the provided handholds, rungs or steps. Do yourself a favor - don’t jump!
All it takes is one wrong landing, even when jumping from a relatively short distance, and you can cause a drastic injury to one or both of your knees (not to mention other parts of your body as well). Those steps and handholds are there for a reason. Take the extra few seconds and use them!
Sideways and Twisting Motions
In general, you should try to avoid kicking and moving things with your feet and legs. But if your hands are full and you have to move something with your leg, best to move your leg in the same direction that your knee joint bends, like when kicking a ball. It can be tempting to turn your leg sideways and have more surface area to push with on the side of your foot. But this actually puts added unnatural strain on the knee.
By the same token, if you need to change directions, don’t twist your body to turn in that direction. Better to pivot and turn your body in the new direction that you need to walk and shift your feet to face the new direction. Twisting your body into a new direction will also put unnatural strain not he knees and can lead to potential injuries.
Trips, Slips and Falls
Aside from injuries resulting from jumping from a height, the most common injuries come from trips and falls, often due to carelessness. Follow these guidelines to stay safe and keep from injuring your knees due to a fall:
Keep work areas neat and clean. Items left on the floor become obstacles, seen or unseen, and can cause trips.
Wear appropriate footwear. Make sure it grips if the environment requires it. High heels stress the knees, so it goes without saying, don’t wear ‘em (whether they’re pumps or cowboy boots)!
Remove ice and snow where necessary and “duck walk” on surfaces that remain slippery.
Try not to carry objects that will completely obstruct your forward field of vision. If you must, then make sure beforehand that nothing is on the ground in the path where you’ll be walking.
Make sure your feet are fully on all steps, rungs or treads.
Much of this is common sense, but you’d be surprised how often we either forget or disregard common sense practices. Knee safety is no joke, and knee safety should be taken seriously. So make sure you keep these things in mind to prevent knee injuries. Until next time, stay safe and sound!