Why you shouldn't blame your knee pain on "bad knees"
Let me start off by saying... It is 100 percent out of my scope of practice to diagnose and/or treat any symptoms a client may have. Having said that, it is my job to listen and observe when it comes to my client's lifestyle/movement patterns. There are 1001 reasons why knees may be in pain and just accepting " Oh I have bad knees" should never be the case. So let's take a look at this together.
If you fall under the category of mild to severe pain then approach the issue like so.
1. Pinpointing an exact time where you actually injured the KNEE itself- Very simple here.. If you fall and bang your knee or tear your meniscus etc... Then the pain most likely is localized AT the knee joint. No need to build a mountain out of an anthill here. See a physical therapist/orthopedist to help you with proper treatment. If it's a very old injury then follow the steps below.
2. Knowing that you never actually injured your knee itself- When you had a non contact injury or nothing that is professionally diagnosed.. You then can conclude that this is refereed pain. From here you want to look at two possibilities. Being that your knee is part of a chain from your ankle to your hip.. Any kink or imbalance can throw your knee of track. Perhaps you pronate your feet, have extremely tight hips which are causing your knees to fall in towards your mid line,you may have very tight hamstrings and you can't fully extend your leg, you may hold your weight towards the balls of your feet.. We can go down a huge rabbit hole here but I think you get my point.
3. Is my form OK? Where should I be feeling this?- So many times I stop people from squatting and ask if they have knee pain. I ask because they are so clearly holding their weight towards the front of the foot and causing their knees to fall forward over the toe line. Biomechanically, there are some people out there with extremely long femurs and they cant help this. Some people make the exception and its important not be dogmatic when it comes to something like a squat. Internally, I can only assume that he/she is not utilizing their hamstrings/glutes and the movement is becoming very quad dominant(front of the thigh only).You never want to do an exercise just for the hell of it. If you read that the squat involves your lats, core, glutes, quads, and hamstrings.. and you feel it in your lower back and knees....Why on earth would you keep on adding weight to the movement if your not feeling what is intended?
4. Why does it hurt when I run? If the imbalances are making your movements "off track".. Once you do something high impact like running for a prolonged amount of time.. You have so much sheer force going on that is directly throwing your knee out of balance. This will result in inflammation and pain throughout the day.
5. I don't do much throughout the day. Why does it still hurt?- Exactly! If you are sedentary.. working at a desk all day..driving all day etc. The knee joint will get so used to staying in flexion and so will your hips. This is how you become "tight". Take this wound up tight body, and then you want to load different movement patterns when it hasn't built the strength for your own body weight let alone added weight. Stairs will be painful, getting in and out of the car will be painful, walking down a hill will be painful.. See my point?
6. So what now? My point is.. No amount of stretching or foam rolling is going to take away from the root of the problem. First find out what is throwing you off balance and nip that right in the bud. Feel it out and do your research about what you are supposed to feel during certain exercises. If you don't feel the intended muscle groups, or if it's painful.. DO.. NOT..ADD..WEIGHT! If you are sitting for x amount of hours, get up, walk around, walk up the stairs, walk backwards, walk to the side.. Go nuts! Don't limit yourself to just sitting, standing, and walking all day every day. Get enough protein, sleep, and water on a daily basis for proper recovery and be in tune with your body. If you follow these steps.. i guarantee you will be in a better place in one weeks time. Thank you!
If you have chronic knee pain feel free to email me if you have any other questions! firstname.lastname@example.org