Preventing Injuries When Lifting

physiotherapist don mills and steeles

By: Team Family Physio

 

Should you always bend your knees when you lift?

Should you always bend your knees when you lift?

Have you heard that you should always bend your knees when you're lifting? It's commonly told but maybe not fully explained. In some cases it can help to reduce the strain on your back but in some cases it's not the most important strategy

What Does Bending Your Knees Do?

Bending your knees when you bend down to pick things up off of the ground let's you maintain a flatter more neutral position of your back. This flatter back position lets your back muscles work in a more neural position and reduces the strain on some of the other tissues of your back. These tissues include the discs and ligaments of your back. This type of advice is often described when you're lifting heavier loads for short periods of time.

Bending your knees may not work if you have painful knee joints that don't tolerate this position, or if you have back pain that prefers to be in flexed positions. These type of pains prefer to be in flexed postures. Bending your knees can also put you in a less stable position if you're squatting down like a back catcher in baseball. If you're adopting that position to get bend down and don't have the hip mobility to do so, you may actually be bending your back more than you realize. This can actually increase the load on your muscles the same way as keeping your knees straight.

So How Should I Lift?

There's more than one factor to consider when you're planning a task and want to protect your back. If you're wondering what are some of the ways that you can reduce the chance of injury when lifting, check out our video post on a few helpful tips to avoid injuring yourself during the start of gardening season.

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