Pain sucks but knee pain is a special kind of suck.

You move they hurt. You do nothing they hurt. You go to the gym to train, they hurt. When you have knee pain there is nothing to escape it except to ignore it, fight through it or to take pain pills.

Here are some examples of common knee injuries as you age

  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome, or generalized pain in front of the knee cap
  • Meniscus tears, the padding between your knee joints
  • Degeneration of the knee-joint from arthritis and leading an active life
  • Certain tissues in the knees are damaged. E.g., ligaments and tendons.

However, that doesn’t mean you should take it lying down. You need to fight back by exercising smarter and by seeking out qualified medical advice. And seeing I don’t wear a white gown with a stethoscope, I’ll stick to exercise.

Here are some tips and tricks I’ve acquired from training clients with knee pain.  

Hopefully these will help. Please try and see.

Note- If you’ve had persistent knee pain for a while now, please seek medical advice. This advice is for undiagnosed knee pain and for those who don’t want to take knee pain lying down.

1.Isometric exercise

These are muscle contractions without movement. Think of it like a tug of war between opposing muscles with you being the winner. 😊 These exercises help strength the muscles around the knee without knee having to move to much.

The following exercises work on the quads and the hips which are both important for knee function and health.  Try to hold these exercises for 30 seconds at the start and the work into the 1-2 minutes range.

Be warned, these don’t tickle but neither does knee pain.

WALL SQUATS

HIP BRIDGE

SPLIT SQUATS

2. . Reducing the range of motion

The process of pain is complicated; however, it is the brain seeing something as a threat (real or perceived) and then ouchy happens. By reducing the range of motion to a pain-free one, you cut the threat and you still get to strength the muscles around your knee without pain.

When you reduce the threat, hopefully over time you can strength the knee enough to where being in pain all the time isn’t an issue. Granted, this one is tricky, and it varies from person to person.

However, like with all exercises. let pain be your guide.

Box squats are the go to exercise here. Please adjust the height to a pain-free one.

3. Strengthening the glutes

The strength (or weakness) of your hip muscles controls the way your knee tracks when you are walking, running, jumping or lifting weights. The main concern here is the glutes med muscle, which if weak, can cause the knee to collapse inwards.

This muscle works every time one foot is off the ground, so it’s important for single leg balance too.

Here are a couple of exercises you can do daily to strengthen this crucial area.

CLAMSHELL EXERCISE

X BAND LATERAL WALK



4. Working on ankle and hip mobility

Each joint of our bodies have a certain degrees of stability and mobility. In the case of the lower body, our ankles need more mobility because you need to walk, jump and run.

Your knees need more stability because a knee that moves from side to side instead of forwards and backwards is a sure recipe for injury. Lastly, the hips need more mobility because you need to walk, squat, sit and pick up stuff from the floor.

If either your ankles or hips are lacking in mobility, the movement has to come from somewhere which is usually at the expense of the knee.

When the knee picks up the slack for the ankle or hips the muscles, ligaments and tendons around the knee are now used for mobility instead of stability, which is a sure-fire recipe for a sore knee.

Firstly, check your mobility with these exercises to see if you have an issue.

HIP MOBILITY TEST

ANKLE MOBILITY TEST

Then start incorporating these exercises into your daily routine if a mobility issue exists.  

ROCKING ANKLE MOB

HALF KNEELING HIP FLEXOR


5. Knee Stability

A lot of the exercises listed will help strength the knee area and give the knee more stability. However, for a moment, think like a car.

Your car accelerates and brakes to go and stop much like the quadriceps and the hamstrings that surround the knee. The big muscles of the quads allow you to go and act a shock absorbers when your feet hit the ground.

The hamstrings act as the brakes for legs allowing you squat or bend over without completely falling head over heels. Therefore, strengthening the hamstrings will help with knee stability.

If you’re a runner or quit running because of knee pain these exercises are a must in your routine.

STABILITY BALL HAMSTRING CURL

SINGLE LEG HIP EXTENSION

Wrapping up

Motion is lotion, and nothing is more important for knee pain than exercising smart and to strengthen and mobilize the muscles and joints that surround the knee. Because taking pain lying down isn’t an option.

If you need help with your knee pain and exercising around it you can contact me here.

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