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Pain In Knees When Squatting

Try Box Squats And Sumo Squats

Knee Pain With Pistol Squats (SHE HAD PAIN FOR 5 YEARS!)

Rather than traditional squats, you can try the slightly modified forms, either box squats or sumo squats to help take stress off of your knees. For box squats, you’ll add a plyometric box behind you during your squat exercise: Slowly lower your body until you’re sitting on the box at the bottom of each squat. “Remember to sit back towards the box,” Hadley advises to minimize knee pain.

Sumo squats, on the other hand, place more focus on your glutes than your quads and hamstrings. “Sumo squats are a variation of a normal squat that are a good alternative,” says Isaac Robertson, cofounder at Total Shape. “Unlike a normal squat, your legs are placed wide apart in a sumo position. Keeping your back straight, sit and go down like a normal squat.”

Treating The Calf Muscles

If the underlying issue of your knee pain is coming from the calf muscle, youll want to nail down the specifics of the issue, be it a strain, general tightness, an issue with the tendon, etc.

In my clinical experience, I find that the most common underlying issue with this muscle is simply high resting muscle tone within the muscle itself. People tend to know if its a muscle strain since a muscle strain is typically felt as a sudden, instant pain with a specific movement, with lingering pain after that. But again, if youre not certain of whats going on, get a qualified professional to assess the area.

Thankfully, there are some very straightforward and effective ways to self-massage and relax the calves. If getting treatment from a qualified professional is out of the picture for you, you could opt to try the following muscle relaxation techniques:

  • Foam rolling the calves
  • Using a tiger tail
  • Self-massaging the muscles

If you want the breakdown on how to do any of these techniques, check out my article:

Make Sure Your Hips Are Mobile

A majority of people spend most of their day sitting or at a desk, which can lead to tight hip flexors, adductors and loss of external rotation around the hips. This combination can cause the knees to come into valgus again placing increased stress through the inside of the knee, as well as decreasing the depth in a squat.

Its important to mobilise the hips to gain more range through the adductors, hip flexors and external rotators. The frog stretch mobilises these areas quite well while in an unloaded position. On the ground, come into a 4 point kneeling position with your hands under your shoulders and your knees slightly behind and outside the hips. Gently move back as if you were going to sit onto your heels. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat 4 times.

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Rehab And Mobility Exercises Should Help

If you want to limit pain in your knees, mobility exercises can help.

There are very few situations where being completely immobile makes things better, especially with this type of knee pain, Worthington said.

“Exercising around pain or around an injury has been shown to encourage healing, reduce pain, and improve recovery times,” he said.

Geier recommends working with a physical therapist or physiotherapist to learn some rehab exercises to help the knee heal and speed up recovery, but if that’s not in your budget, Worthington shared some exercises you could do yourself.

“To address the distribution of load between the hips and the knees, and to encourage the hips to do their fair share, we need to increase the strength of the muscles at the back of the leg relative to the strength of those at the front,” Worthington said.

This means putting squats and lunges on the back burner and instead focusing on hinge and bridge movements to work the glutes, hamstrings, and adductors.

Improving ankle mobility will help, too, as it will allow the shin bone to move more freely and put less stress on the knee, Worthington said.

He recommended these exercises:

A post shared by Luke Worthington

Are Squats Bad For Your Knees

Common Squat Mistakes: Fix Your Form  Powerfully You

For a deeper dive into the mechanics and physiology of squats and knee pain, check out this article by DPT and Barbell Logic Coach, Liz Zeutschel.

If you struggle with getting the full range of motion your squat, check out some tips here.

And view the rest of our Before Barbells Playlist for some more beginner movements.

Still experiencing knee pain when squatting? Sign-up for a free form check and have one of our coaches help you out.


Carlesso, Seal, Frey-law, Zhang, Na, Nevitt, Lewis, and Neogi, Pain Susceptibility Phenotypes in Those Free of Knee Pain With or at Risk of Knee Osteoarthritis: The Multicenter of Osteoarthritis Study, Arthritis & Rheumatology, vol. 71, No. 4

Mitchell, J., On the Means of Discovering the Distance, Magnitude, & c. of the Fixed Stars, in Consequence of the Diminution of the Velocity of their Light, in case Such a Diminution Should be Found to Take Place in any of Them, and Such Other Data Should be Procured from Observations, as Would be Farther Necessary for that Purpose, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 74, 35-57

Montgomery, Orchiston, Whittingham, Mitchell, Laplace and the Origin of the Black Hole Concept J. or Astro. Hist. & Heritage, 12, 90-96

Sanchis-Alfonso, Vicente, Pathophysiology of Anterior Knee Pain, in: Zaffagnini S., Dejour D., Arendt E. Patellofemoral Pain, Instability, and Arthritis, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

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Stretches For Knee Pain Squats

To do so, bend your knees and place them as if youre sitting in a chair. Weight should be kept in your heels and back straight. Take five seconds to think. Lie flat on your back, as if you were standing.

It is common to experience knee pain as a result of weakness in your hips, glutes, and lower limbs. You may also experience knee pain from a fall. Runners, for example, are known to develop patellofemoral pain syndrome . According to Giordano, the majority of the muscles that connect the knee to the hip do so at the hip. You can use the stretches listed below to target the hips and the other muscles that support your knees. You will notice that they will help your muscles maintain their flexibility, looseness, and readiness to perform.

Why Do We Get Knee Pain When Squatting

Pain is a mysterious thing. There is a lot that we still dont yet understand.

A person can have no physical damage to their knees, yet experience pain. Whereas a person can have physical damage but experience no pain.

This is not to say there is no relationship, but that the relationship is not the end all be all. This is because the relationship between pain and physical injury is not causal. Pain is an experience and is different for everyone, so it is important to keep in mind that x may not necessarily lead to y.

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What Does A Knee Injury Feel Like

Depending on the underlying cause, a knee injury can cause sharp, shooting pain, a dull ache or a burning pain. You may notice swelling and your knee may feel tender to touch. You may also have difficulty bending, straightening or bearing weight on your knee and may find that your knee gets stuck . A knee injury can also make you feel as if your knee is about to give way when you try to walk on it.

Outside Knee Pain When Squatting

How To Evaluate Knee Pain (Tendonitis or Patellofemoral Pain?)

When you have a sudden onset or an acute knee injury, you can gradually deteriorate from there. A joint line pain, as well as pain on the outside of your knee, can occur. When squats are done, particularly deep ones, there may be a greater risk of pain.

The most common cause of knee pain is squatting, but it is frequently accompanied by other issues. The most common cause of knee pain during squats is a torn meniscus. When using weights in conjunction with your workout routine, the most important thing you can do is perform well with your weight. Another common cause of knee pain while squatting is Runners Knee, also known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Because of the softened cartilage surrounding the kneecap, the kneecap is called chondromalacia patella. When moving their knees, patients suffering from patellar tendonitis frequently experience clicking and grinding. When repetitive forces are applied to the tendon, it becomes inflamed and torn by the time it heals.

Visit the knee pain and popping section to find out more about the procedure. If you perform squats, you may be irritating your joint in some ways, causing inflammation to build up and persist after you stop doing squats. You dont have to be afraid to get your butt dirty our bodies are designed to do so. Lifting heavy objects requires you to be able to squat in order to avoid strain on your lower back.

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Treatment And Recovery For Knee Pain When Squatting

Half of the body weight is carried by the knee joints. If you do not have ideal body weight, your obesity can affect your joints and cause back pain. Lower back pains have also been noticed with this condition. The treatment of knee pain when squatting is essential for proper physical and physiological health.

What Causes Knee Pain When You Squat

The knee joint consists of bone and cartilage that work together to give you the ability to walk and bend. When you move, the cartilage acts as a buffer against the bone. Due to age, overuse, or injury, the cartilage may fray, allowing the bones to rub together. This causes pain, a restricted range of motion, a grinding sensation in the joint, and sometimes swelling.

To diagnose the source of your knee pain, an orthopedic specialist will do a physical examination of your knee to assess its range of motion and your symptoms. An X-ray or MRI may also be ordered to rule out conditions such as a broken bone, tendon damage, or a misaligned kneecap.

In all likelihood, your painful knee is due to one of these three ailments:

  • Patellar Tendonitis
  • Also known as jumpers knee, patellar tendonitis refers to an inflammation of the patellar tendon that connects the kneecap to the shin. Symptoms include burning pain around the kneecap, stiffness, and redness. The condition usually affects people who play sports that involve jumping and flexing the knee. Basketball is a prime example of such a sport since the constant jumping motion can irritate the tendon over time.

    Depending on the severity of the tendonitis, conservative methods including rest, icing, anti-inflammatories, stretching, and applying a supportive brace around the joint can diminish the pain within weeks. Only in instances when noninvasive options fail is surgery recommended.

  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome
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    How Do I Fix Pain Above My Knee

    To help relieve your pain and speed recovery, you can: Rest your knee. Ice your knee to ease pain and swelling. Wrap your knee. Elevate your leg on a pillow when you sit or lie down. Take NSAIDs, if needed, like ibuprofen or naproxen. Do stretching and strengthening exercises, especially for your quadriceps muscles.

    Front Of Knee Pain With Running Or Squatting We Can Help 6 Tips To Get You Back To Your Physical Best

    Knee Pain When Squatting: What Should I Do?

    In most cases anterior knee pain when running or squatting is the result of patello-femoral joint syndrome.

    Patellofemoral pain syndrome is one of the most common knee complaints we see here in the clinic.

    Its the umbrella term for pain felt behind your kneecap, where your patella articulates with your thigh bone . This joint is known as your patellofemoral joint.

    Patellofemoral pain syndrome is the result of excessive pressure between your knee cap and thigh bone from poor patellar alignment, which over time affects the joint surface behind the kneecap and leads to dysfunction and difficulty participating in the things you love.

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    Why Are Your Knees Sore When Squatting

    The reason that most people experience knee pain when squatting is that the load that they are placing through the tissues in their knees exceeds that which they are currently able to tolerate.

    Continuing to squat with knee pain can exacerbate the sensitivity and therefore further reduce the load you can tolerate.

    There are other reasons for knee pain. However, in the absence of a traumatic injury most types of pain around the knee can be explained by this concept of load tolerance.

    If you are concerned or are in any doubt, please seek out medical advice or a local physiotherapist for their opinion.

    Iliotibial Band Syndrome: Causes And Treatments

    Inflammation of the iliotibial band is likely to be the cause of pain on the outside of the knee when you squat. These bands allow you to support your knee while performing squats and other movements along the length of your upper leg from hip to knee. An inflamed iliotibial band, which can rub against the outer knee, can cause pain. The most common type of pain is shoulder pain, particularly during activities involving the joint, such as squatting. If you have pain on your outside of your knee that persists or worsens, it is critical that you consult a doctor to rule out other serious issues.

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    Physical Modification When Experiencing Pain

    Physical modifications include:

    • Modifying your lifting technique

    1. Modifying your training load

    Quite often powerlifters get pain while preparing for a competition. This is when the training load is at its peak levels.

    You could be experiencing knee pain during this time because the load has exceeded your adaptability. In other words, your ability to recover and adapt to the training stimulus.

    If we think of the pain this way, then we should find ways to reduce the load. For example, if you start having knee pain at 100kg, try 90kg, or 80kg. If that is no good, then try adjust the sets and reps. If you are still having knee pain, then adjust the tempo, such as doing a 3 second eccentric and a 3 second concentric.

    You can see here that there is a systematic way of modulating your load to see if you can avoid knee pain when squatting. As you can imagine, this works very well for people that only have knee pain at certain loads.

    If you still have pain regardless of the load, then you should start looking at modifying the exercise selection.

    Check out my article on whether powerlifting will destroy your body in the long-term.

    2. Modifying your exercise selection

    When making modifications to your exercise selection, this could be small or large.

    There is likely something you can do without pain, and that is something you can work to build on while letting your body recover.

    3. Modifying your lifting technique

    • What we do at the hip
    • What we do at the foot
    • What we do with our core

    How To Avoid Knee Pain While Squatting

    How To Squat Without Knee Pain (4 Mistakes Youâre Probably Making)

    Osteoporosis and tendinosis are two of the many causes of knee pain when squatting. Before you squat, it is critical that you perform some simple stretches to avoid this pain. Pushing yourself to stand shoulder-distance apart will help you stretch and reduce knee pain. Additionally, keep your back straight while squatting, as well as avoid sudden movements that could cause further injury.

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    Is It Normal For My Knees To Hurt During Squats

    He told us he was attending his local gym frequently for the past year, to help him lose weight. He would perform exercises like running, leg extensions, lunges, and using the stair climber. Then about 7 months ago he began feeling knee pain when he squats. He thought nothing of it at first, and that it was just something that would go away on its own.

    Continuing to perform the same exercises, his knee pain got worse when he squats and it began to affect his quality of life. He decided to go to his orthopedic doctor, who prescribed him painkillers, performed cortisone injections, and told him to rest.

    A month had past and he was still having knee pain with back squats. He decided to do his own research and found some exercises to help knee pain with squats on YouTube. Unfortunately, the exercises caused him to have severe knee pain to the point that squatting to the toilet or a chair, sitting in a chair with bent knees, going up and down stairs, and even sleeping became a nightmare.

    Has something similar happened to you? Have you been wondering why do I have knee pain when I squat?

    Preventing Knee Pain When Squatting

    Squatting is a great exercise for increasing strength and muscle tone. However, if the squat causes knee pain, it could be caused by poor form. The following tips can help you avoid knee pain and protect your joints from more serious injuries. If you are experiencing knee pain when you squat, it could be due to an improper form of squat. Simple changes in your squatting posture and form can help to reduce pain and protect your joints from more severe injuries. When squatting with a lighter weight and alignment with your toes, make sure your knees are parallel to the ground.

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    What Knee Supports Can I Wear To Reduce Pain When Squatting

    Compression knee sleeves and knee wraps are the best supports for your knees to use while you are squatting. These are comfortable to wear and provide the support your knees need to maintain stability. Knee sleeves and knee wraps are flexible and will stretch with you as you move.

    They use compression to minimize the risk of inflammation and re-injuring the area. Any time your knee hurts or does not feel strong, you should wear a knee brace.


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