Fixing Knee Pain

You have tried ice you’ve tried heat but that knee pain keeps coming back. Knee pain is a complex issue. There are a number of factors that could affect the way the joint moves. If the path of the knee is out of alignment or is weak and allows movement in lateral directions then the likelihood of a knee injury occurring is increased. The ways in which we move affect how healthy the knee is when flexing and extending. If we are moving improperly we are only reinforcing bad movement patterns.

Improper Movement Pattern

Movement is the heart of our lives and we rely on our bodies to get us where we need to be in time and in space. We never take a moment to look at our movement. We just assume if we can walk across the room we are fine. This is wrong. The muscles that control your knee are mainly your quadriceps (front of your leg) and a group of muscles called the hamstrings (back of your leg). But this only controls the knees motion forward and back. The glutes and adductors (inside of your leg) are far more important in keeping knee movement centered. When these muscles are weak or tight they are limited in the amount of support they can provide the knee. If they fail when you walk and your knee caves in you just might experience a ligament or meniscus tear. Improper movement when walking is normal for a large amount of people and correcting it is vital to knee health and limiting knee pain.

Correcting the Knees Movement

Proper movement of the knee in relation to the body should place the knee directly over the ankle when waking, running and jumping. During athletic movements force applied by the leg to the ground should keep the same angle between the knee and ankle as well. Correcting and maintaining the proper alignment of the knee and ankle will need to focus on strengthening your hips and glutes. Corrective exercise is the first approach and if an injury is currently present then a conservative approach is best.

Exercises to Focus On

Increasing the strength in your hips and ankle can be achieve at home with no equipment or if you have access to a gym a greater variety of exercises can be performed. These simple exercises can be performed anywhere to develop strong support for the knee.

Straight Leg Raise

– Start by lying on the ground and placing your feet flat on the ground.

– Fully extended out and lift leg it into the air 6 inches and hold for 10 seconds.

– Lower to the starting position and rest for three seconds.

– Repeat 2-3 sets for 12-15 repetitions.

Lying Glute Bridge

-Start by lying on the ground and placing your feet flat on the ground.

-Slowly drive your heels into the ground and lift your hips off the floor until your back is straight. Do not over extend your back.

– Perform 2-3 sets for 10-12 repetitions

Single Leg RDL

– Start by standing then transition weight onto one leg.

– Hinge at the hip and extend lifted leg straight behind you.

– Spine and leg should he parallel to the ground while planted leg is perpendicular to group

– Drive your heel into the ground to return your body to a tall standing position.

– Perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions on each leg

By: Brad Longazel MS CSCS ACSM USAW