Knee pain is a common issue that our trainers hear from clients at the club time and time again. It’s important that we find out when the pain started, if you have had an accident and the intensity of the pain. This can indicate the potential cause and therefore provide a better understanding of ways that we may be able to help. Whilst our team of expert trainers can offer advice and guidance with regards to the way that you perform certain movements in class, it’s important to consult a doctor, physiotherapist or osteopath if the pain is persistent. It’s also key that you listen to your body and stop if any movements are uncomfortable or painful.
We often find that clients experience knee pain in movements such as lunges, squats or when climbing up and down the stairs. This might indicate that you are not moving your body efficiently or effectively and the issue might be caused by how you transfer your body weight when you perform certain movements or exercises.
Often the knee/s themselves are not the problem and the pain could be a warning sign that something isn’t working efficiently elsewhere in the body. It may be that you need to alter the way you move in order to stop putting added pressure and strain on your knee joints and the surrounding muscles. Your knee is simply a facilitator of movement between the hip and the ankle, so, if there is stiffness or tension at either of these points, more often than not, the knees take the brunt of the force and the pain suggests that your weight is being incorrectly diverted to your knees.
Next time you squat, lunge or move, think about these two things and see if your knee pain decreases.
- Check whether you supinate (roll onto the outside of your feet) when you move. Your foot needs to plantarflex (press down) and pronate (allow the arch of your foot to collapse slightly) in order to facilitate a sequence of muscle activations through your shins, knees and up to your hips. The foot needs to roll slightly inwards and allow the arch to drop slightly to allow the shin and thigh bone to move in a way that will switch on your VMO (a muscle by your knee) and Glutes (seat muscles) both of which are knee stabilisers. If you roll onto the outside of your foot, and your big toe comes up, you are in effect, switching these muscles off, causing unnecessary strain on the knees. Think: Big toe down, press through the inside of the foot and focus your attention on where you are placing weight in your feet.
- Do you find whenever you lunge or squat your torso shoots forward and you can’t seem to get your pelvis lower? It is most probable that your ankle has limited dorsiflexion; meaning the angle that you can drive your shin over your foot, whilst your foot is stationary on the floor is minimal. You need dorsiflexion to be able to squat and lunge effectively. If this sounds familiar to you, then use a block to elevate your heels a little in a squat to decrease the amount you are asking your ankle to move in this way. You’ll find squatting an entirely different experience.
We use blocks like these for clients in the club who suffer from limited dorsiflexion. So if you are working out from home a lot at the moment and suffering from any knee pain, it might be worth considering purchasing one of these for yourself.
Make sure however, that you are not ‘self-diagnosing’ a knee injury and simply choosing to avoid specific movements without seeking the advice of a doctor, physiotherapist or osteopath in order to get a deeper understanding of the situation. If you do discover that the pain is simply due to inefficient movement, then you can begin to make some changes to the way you move and our trainers are on hand during each class to help guide you safely through various modifications.