Beware The Weekend Warrior Effect
Of course, no workout takes place in a vacuum: What your knees can handle today depends on what youve been doing with them over the preceding weeks and months. Thats why the arrival of ski season is a source of predictable carnage for physical therapists, as enthusiastic weekend warriors hit the slopes after months of inactivity.
Dr. Whittaker suggested taking the first day on the slopes easy and being willing to cut subsequent days short when it feels like your leg muscles or joints have had enough. Its pacing, she said. Its adapting to the capacity of your body to handle the load.
Better yet, she strongly suggested doing some strength training to prepare your legs before putting any new stresses on them. A simple, generic program of squats and lunges can strengthen the muscles that keep the knee stable and stiffen the tendons and ligaments around the joint. For starters, aim for three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions, lifting a weight that leaves you with shaky muscles and the feeling that you could have done two or three more reps if necessary.
Reason #: Chondromalacia Patellae
Another common cause behind knee pain squats is a condition called chondromalacia patellae.
This issue, which is sometimes called runners knee is very common among young, active people .
The condition is basically a wearing down of the cartilage that sits between the underside of your patella and the top of your femur.
The pain from this condition is generally centered around on the front of the knee, on the kneecap. More specifically, it may be felt behind or below the kneecaps, or perhaps on either side of the patellae .
The pain tends to get worse when you flex your knee, like when you pop down into a squat. You might even feel a grinding sensation in the knee when its bent in this way.
Chondromalacia patellae is typically caused by some sort of biomechanical or muscular imbalance that is causing increased wear and tear on this cartilage. To help ease the pain and address the issue, you cant just focus on the kneecap, youve got to look at how the knee functions with the other joints along the kinectic chain youve got to think big picture.
Image by www.tri-physiotherapy.com
For example, try the Midline Muscle Activation Drill a comprehensive balance technique that hits the hips, ankles, and knees all in one go. This 3-part move will help engage your joints while encouraging proper muscular activation and support.
Midline Muscle Activation Drill
Are Squats Bad For Your Knees
The health impacts of squats have long been debated. Certain populations, such as those with arthritis and knee injuries, may experience pain while engaging in squat exercises. In contrast, fitness and recovery experts often tout the many health benefits of squats.
Squats have been found to be beneficial for strengthening the knee, which supports prevention of and recovery from common knee injuries. Theyve also been reported to improve cardiovascular health because they can reduce fat and create leaner muscle mass. Proper technique is essential, however, to reap the benefits of squats.
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Home Ankle Mobility Test 6
If you cannot touch the wall with your knee its possible that your calf muscles are tight causing your ankle joint to be stiffer than it should be. If this is the case try doing the stretch below frequently throughout the day and then retest!
Can Weightlifting Shoes Cause Knee Pain
Answer: Yes, theres a good chance.
There are so many variables when it comes to knee pain.
Although when it comes to lifting and knee pain, the biggest problem is bad form.
If you perform the lift thats causing knee pain in normal shoes and the pain is still there, it may not be the lifting shoes at all.
Its probably your form.
If the pain goes away in normal shoes, then that opens up another can of worms.
Now were dealing with a shoe that causes pain that wasnt happening before.
Although that doesnt mean throw them away. There are some things we can try first.
First and foremost lets look at the main causes of painful knees.
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Is Squatting Good For Your Knees
Just like the muscles in your legs, the passive structures within your knee all have the capacity to adapt and become stronger. As you gradually expose them to increasing loads over time, they get stronger, making them less prone to injury.
For this reason, the squat one of the best exercises on the planet for improving knee joint health.
However, there are a few caveats around this:
1) Your exercise technique needs to be sound2) The increases in load must occur in a gradual and safe manner
How To Make Hack Squats Safe For Knees
It is very important before you start on any heavy form of exercise or weight training including Hack Squats to learn to make your exercise moves in a right way and using the right technique. Lifting heavy weight is a game and taking right positions is the key to save your knee from wear and tear and bones loss resulting during Hack Squat exercise. Experts recommend that you should keep in mind the following points if you love weight training including Hack Squats:
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Prevention And How To Squat
Warming up properly before exercising can help prevent injury. Warming up the body is especially important in older adults, as muscles become less flexible and can tear more easily as people age.
To warm up, use movements that mobilize the joints and increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the muscles, such as marching on the spot. Stretching the legs before and after exercise can also help lower the risk of injury or strains.
To squat correctly:
- start in a standing position
- keep the feet shoulder-width apart
- while exhaling, bend the knees and lower the buttocks as though going to sit down
- hold the arms out to maintain balance
- ensure that the heels remain planted on the floor
- keep the buttocks above knee level and only go as low as is possible without causing discomfort
- keep the thighs parallel to the floor
- keep the back in a straight, neutral position
- make sure that the hips, knees, and toes are all pointing forward
- inhale and return to a standing position by pushing down into the heels and keeping the buttocks tight
The Arthritis Foundation recommend that people who are experiencing pain when squatting do squats against a wall. Using the wall for support can help people strengthen weak or injured muscles and reduce pain over time.
People can do squats against a wall using the following steps:
People can use the R.I.C.E method for relieving pain in the knee. The R.I.C.E method involves:
Over-the-counter drugs, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain and swelling.
But What About Squatting Under Load
This is where things get a little bit interesting .
Obviously, during a gym session, squats arent always performed just with your body weight. Over time, you will progress to squatting under load. That load will gradually increase to accommodate increases in strength and function. As load increases, the force distributed through the knee joint also increases.
But this is not necessarily a bad thing.
In fact, I would argue that it is a very good thing.
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The Best Squat Variations For Bad Knees
Good form, wall squats to start, and limited range of motion are all important ways to make squats safer for bad knees. Here are some other modifications and variations to try:
- Box or chair squats. Using a box is helpful for limiting range of motion, especially if you worry about a client being unable to control their squat depth. Do a squat by lowering down to a box or chair of the appropriate height. You wont be able to go any deeper than the box.
- Stability ball. If you feel comfortable with wall squats, add a stability ball between your back and the wall. This allows you to increase range of motion but still provides some support and pressure relief.
- Wide squats. For a standard squat, feet are typically shoulder-width apart. Widen the stance and turn the toes out a little bit more to reduce knee pain.
Should You Squat With Your Heels Elevated
There are two groups of people who should be elevating their heels with plates when squatting.
The first are people who lack ankle mobility, as the heel elevated squat will allow them to increase the depth of their squat.
The second are people who have reached a point where squats are not giving their quads quite enough activation and overload, so they need to add more quad specific exercises in their routine, in addition to regular squats. They will not stop doing standard barbell squats, they will simply add in some sets of heel elevated squats after doing regular squats. For them, the heel elevated squat is simply an assistance lift/accessory exercise.
So, if you can perform a standard flat footed squat with a full range of motion and you feel your quads are getting enough activation from regular squats, then you don’t need to do heel elevated squats. However, if you want to give them a try to see how it hits your quads, by all means. You can think of the heel elevated squat like you would a leg press or even a leg extension, albeit it is much more compound.
Will they improve my squats?
If you lack ankle or hip mobility and you are using heel elevated squats to make up for that, then you need to think of it as a temporary solution. You should also be working on improving the mobility/flexibility of your ankles and hips, which you can do with some simple mobility exercises.
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Are Squats Good Or Bad For Back Pain
Most people are familiar with squats, but for those who are not familiar, according to wikipedia a squat is one of the ultimate tests of strength. This exercise involves the person lowering their hips from a neutral position, and then standing back up. This can be done with either any form of weights or without. When the person descends and ascends it activates the hip and knee joints. The big question today is whether or not squats are good or bad for back pain. Lets take a look!
You Don’t Necessarily Need To Use Weights While Squatting
If you’ve been working out at home over the past few months and don’t have any equipment, we have good newsyou don’t need any weights or fancy equipment to do squats from home.
“Doing bodyweight squats is a great way to get started,” Calabrese says. “You can perform a basic squat, a sumo squat, a basic squat jump, and a sumo squat jump without any equipment at all.”
But when it comes to building muscle, you’ll want to add equipment, she says. Keep in mind that dumbbells or a barbell aren’t your only optionsyou can also use resistance bands or kettlebells. “You dont have to get crazy with the movement for it to be effective,” she points out. “So start slow and build up.”
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Ignoring For Your Abs
Abs are comprised of more than just the six-pack in the front. When properly braced, our core expands 360-degrees to help support our spine and maintain proper movement. The same proper movement that helps mitigate the risk of knee pain.
The Fix: Draw Your Belly Button Into Your Spine
Similar to when you want to stand tall or maintain good posture, drawing your belly button into your spine helps to brace or set your core for movements.
The more you do core exercises, the deeper youll be able to hold your squat without risking dysfunction. Keep braced throughout the entire movement.
Reason #: Meniscus Problems
Problems with the meniscus in your knee joint are a common cause of knee pain from squatting. In fact, Ive experienced this type of knee pain from squats.
This pain is usually caused by small tears in the meniscus, a disc of cartilage that sits between your femur and tibia and absorbs shock and pressure in the knee .
A major meniscus tear can be a serious problem that requires surgery, but a minor or microtear can simply cause pain and irritation during certain movements like say, during squats.
The pain is typically felt on the medial side of your knee, and often it feels like your knee joint suddenly locks or catches with pain as you squat.
I have a slight meniscus tear and find the pain comes and goes randomly. I find my knee will just click into place and then I wont have any problems for months until something clicks back out of place.
One exercise that helps keep meniscus issues from causing me pain and interrupting my squats are SB Leg Curls.
This technique will help provide stability to the knee by strengthening the hamstrings as they flex at the knee and extend at the hip. Youll feel stronger and more stable at the knee joint by incorporating this move into your routine, especially since the hamstrings are often weak relative to the quads.
SB Leg Curls
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Hip Strength And Mobility
Squats are not just about legs and glutes. They also strengthen and improve mobility in the hip flexors and the hip joint. Glute bridges and hip thrusters will help with this, as will deadlifts. You can also use resistance bands to do knee lifts, which strengthen hip flexors.
Add in some hip stretches, or yoga sessions, to really improve flexibility and mobility in these major joints. This will help stabilize the knees and reduce pain during all kinds of movements.
Youre Not Engaging All Of Your Muscles
Youve probably noticed sore quads the day or two after lots of squats, but if your glutes and hip flexors arent a little sore too, you might not be engaging them enough. If youre letting gravity do too much of the work in pulling you down into a squat, your muscles might be getting a bit of a free ride. Particularly as you lower down into the squat, think about contracting your glutes, legs, and even core musculature. This is meant to help stabilize the body and takes strain off the knee joints.
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Lead With Your Hips And Knees
One of the biggest mistakes that contributes to knee pain when squatting is starting the exercise from your ankles. When you bend at your ankles first, your knees automatically shoot out over your toes without your hips sh0oting behind as a counterbalance. This causes your knees to absorb nearly the entire load as you squat.
To avoid this problem, begin each rep by moving your hips and knees. Think about squatting both back and down so your hips take on their fair share of the load. This way you’ll also be able to use your glutes and core to support yourself throughout the movement.
It might also be helpful to do box squats to help you understand how far back your hips should go.
How To Fix Knee Pain From Tendonitis
The best way to go about fixing your knee pain from tendonitis is to simply reduce your training load. What I’d suggest though is for you to play around with decreasing various components of your lower body workout.
Then, by cutting out this component, you will begin to experience relief from the knee pain. You can also still continue to train at sufficient volumes to allow your tendons to heal and strengthen.
Suggestions for components to reduce:
As an alternative, you can replace your regular squats with other exercises that dont stress the knee as much.
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How To Do Squats Properly To Prevent Knee Pain
Squats, when done properly, can act as an essential addition to your exercise routine. If you are a beginner, use the following steps to learn how to do squats properly:
Before you start, place a chair behind you at a distance of 10-12 inches. Stand with your feet spread out shoulder-width apart and toes outwards at an angle of 45Â°. Raise your hands above your shoulders and place them on the wall at an equal distance from your head. Face the wall, with your nose and eyes looking upwards. You should have your chin, chest and toes touching the wall.
Look up and arch your back, with your chest out. Lift your toes and place your body weight on your heels. Avoid squatting with your weight on your toes as it leads to undue pressure on your knees. Always have your spine in proper alignment with your chest pushed forward and hips back.
Keeping your chest parallel to the wall and hips pushed backwards begin lowering your body slowly, a few inches at one time. While you lower your body, tighten your abs and put your weight on your heels.
Stop lowering when you touch the chair that is placed behind you. Make use of your glutes to raise yourself upwards. Keep your knees pushed outwards while you raise yourself. If the knees push inwards, it is a sign of weak abductors.
Note: Pay attention to your breath. Breathe in when you squat to a lower position and exhale when you come back to the top.