Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXXIV: Knee Pain

Continuing with the pain theme this week as it's become ever increasingly common with more and more people that we work with, today we'll discuss common causes of knee pain.

1. Soft Tissue Restrictions - IT Band, Piriformis, Quadriceps, etc. These areas and others can become tight and inflamed making life for your knee very unpleasant - especially if left un-treated for a long time. Learn how to target these areas using a foam roller to calm them down a bit.

2. Lack of Hip Mobility - Just as our example last week regarding the inter-play between the hips and the lower back, a similar relationship exists between your hip and knee as well. Hips are meant to me very mobile, and when they become stiff the knee is forced to compensate for the loss in mobility by moving in ways and directions it wasn't designed too. Implement a variety of mobility drills that improve the range of motion of your hips through flexion/extension, as well as internal/external rotation.

3. Lack of Ankle Mobility - High Heels, Nike Shox, and other similar shoes with a built up heel all contribute to wreaking havoc on the mechanics of the ankle. Throw in the over-dependence on high-top sneakers and ankle taping and it's no wonder why the number of 'high ankle sprains' and microfracture surgeries on the knee has risen astromically across all age groups. Again, the ankle is meant to be very mobile, if it becomes immobile, you guessed it, the knee has to pick up the slack. Would you rather have a possible minor ankle sprain...or a torn ACL?

4. Poor Exercise Program Design - In our combined over 30+ years of experience, it's consistently been rare to have someone come in that hasn't been quad-dominant while being simultaneously weak in the glutes. Exercise programming which relies too heavily on squats and lunges while neglecting hip-hinge movements like bridges, deadlift variations, and swings creates an imbalance which increases the demand and stress on the knee. It's for this reason strengthening of the glutes, hamstrings, and calves is the cornerstone of any successful ACL rehabilitation.

5. Poor Exercise Performance - Take the aforementioned program which relies heavily on squats and lunges and combine it with performing those movements incorrectly and/or utilizing versions which are not congruent with you ability/mobility level and you have a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately this is a scenario we see all too often. As the saying goes...squats aren't bad for your knees, the way YOU squat is bad for your knees. It's ok to admit that you don't know how or arent comfortable performing these movements correctly, it's not ok to injure yourself by being too stubborn to obtain the proper coaching to prevent such a thing in the first place and then blame the exercise.


  1. Knee pain frequently occurs by wearing High Heels.

    Knee Pain

  2. Correct. In part by shifting all of your weight to the forefoot. Listed right there at #3.