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Why Do My Knees Hurt When Squatting

What Causes Knee Pain

How to Fix Knees That Crack & Pop When Squatting |#AskSquatU Show Ep. 7|

The most common causes of knee pain include:

  • Meniscus tears tears to the C-shaped pieces of cartilage in your knee, which are called menisci
  • Runner’s knee dull pain at the front of your knee also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Sprained ligaments
  • Tendonitis inflammation of your tendons

Old knee injuries that werent treated correctly can also cause chronic knee pain or knee pain that flares up occasionally.

How Do I Get Rid Of Knee Pain When Squatting

Losing weight is one of the first recommendations made by a doctor for an overweight individual who is experiencing knee pain while squatting. Other recommendations that may be made more specific to the squats are that the overall range of motion of the knees as individual squats should be reduced. This help takes off the excess pressure from the knees. Another recommendation often made for this is to avoid carrying very heavy weights while going into the squatting position. This can promote excess stress and strain on the knees.

See A Doctor If The Pain Is Constant

There are circumstances where you should see a medical professional.

“If your knee pain is in a very specific location, like the side or back of your knee, and the pain is consistently there, or if you have significant knee swelling after the workout, then it could be a sign of an injury like a meniscus tear,” Geier said.

In that situation, he recommends seeing a doctor or orthopedic surgeon to find out the nature of the injury and see if surgery is needed.

Wishing you well,


As a senior health reporter at Insider and a self-described fitness fanatic with an Association for Nutrition-certified nutrition course under her belt, Rachel Hosie is immersed in the wellness scene and here to answer all your burning questions. Whether you’re struggling to find the motivation to go for a run, confused about light versus heavy weights, or unsure whether you should be worried about how much sugar is in a mango, Rachel is here to give you the no-nonsense answers and advice you need, with strictly no fad diets in sight.

Rachel has a wealth of experience covering fitness, nutrition, and wellness, and she has the hottest experts at her fingertips. She regularly speaks with some of the world’s most knowledgeable and renowned personal trainers, dietitians, and coaches, ensuring she’s always up to date with the latest science-backed facts you need to know to live your happiest and healthiest life.

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Youre Not Engaging All Of Your Muscles

Youve probably noticed sore quads the day or two after lots of squats, but if your glutes and hip flexors arent a little sore too, you might not be engaging them enough. If youre letting gravity do too much of the work in pulling you down into a squat, your muscles might be getting a bit of a free ride. Particularly as you lower down into the squat, think about contracting your glutes, legs, and even core musculature. This is meant to help stabilize the body and takes strain off the knee joints.

Protection Rest Ice Compression And Elevation

Pin on Piriformis Syndrome Relief

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation may help treat mild knee pain that results from a soft tissue injury, such as a sprain.

Protection refers to protecting the knee from further injury, for example, by taking a break from the activity that caused it.

Rest can reduce the risk of further injury and give tissues time to heal. However, stopping all movement is not advisable, as this can lead to stiffness and, in time, muscle weakness.

Ice can help reduce swelling and inflammation. It should be wrapped in a cloth and applied for 20 minutes several times on the first day of injury. Never put ice directly the skin, as this can lead to further damage.

Compression with a knee support, for example, can increase comfort levels. The support or bandage should be firm but not tight.

Elevation, or keeping the leg raised, will encourage circulation and reduce swelling. Ideally, the knee should be above the level of the heart.

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How To Fix Knee Pain From Tendonitis

The best way to go about fixing your knee pain from tendonitis is to simply reduce your training load. What Id suggest though is for you to play around with decreasing various components of your lower body workout.

Then, by cutting out this component, you will begin to experience relief from the knee pain. You can also still continue to train at sufficient volumes to allow your tendons to heal and strengthen.

Suggestions for components to reduce:

  • Reduce load and do higher reps instead.
  • Reduce number of sets
  • As an alternative, you can replace your regular squats with other exercises that dont stress the knee as much.

    Letting Your Weight Shift Forward

    Stand up tall, then shift your weight to the right the left forward now backward.

    Any shift too far to any of these sides causes imbalance and dysfunction.

    When weight is shifted too far forward, pressure builds in the knee causing pain from squatting.

    The Fix: Sit Back

    Drive your weight throughout the entirety of your foot and sit back to ensure your weight does not travel forward.

    You should be able to comfortably wiggle your toes without losing balance.

    Now, you may struggle with ankle stiffness that restricts your ability to sit back.

    You can experiment with a wider squat stance and/or pointing your toes out at a 45-degree angle.

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    Apple Cider Vinegar And Other Foods

    According to some sources, apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve arthritis and other types of pain.

    However, there is a lack of scientific evidence to support this. The Arthritis Foundation refers to ACV as a food myth.

    Other popular advice for arthritis includes:

    • consuming collagen, gelatin, or pectin, and raw foods.
    • avoiding dairy, acidic foods, and nightshade vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant

    There is no evidence to suggest that these are helpful or even advisable.

    Pain at the front of the knee is one of the most common aches and pains. It is second only to lower back pain around a quarter of people will get it at some point in their lives.

    It commonly affects teenagers, especially young female athletes. It is the most common overuse syndrome in sportspeople.

    Most cases of front knee pain are injuries from overuse, or from poor preparation for exercise. The problems usually go away on their own, and sporting activities can resume after the pain subsides.

    The pain varies but tends to:

    • be a dull ache that starts gradually, and is linked to activities
    • produce clicking or other sounds
    • come on when going upstairs, or when getting up after a long time sitting, squatting down, or kneeling
    • produce a weakness in the legs

    Recommended treatments for front knee pain include:

    Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, sprains, and gout are some of the most common causes of knee pain.

    Knee Pain When You Stand Up: Causes And Treatment

    Knee Pain When Squatting Down or Kneeling (Do This!)

    When you stand up, your knee joints bear the weight of your body. If you have any problems with the bones, cartilage, or muscles around your knee, standing can cause pain. There are many reasons why your knee might hurt when you stand up. It could be something as simple as wearing high heels all day, or it could be a sign of a more serious problem like arthritis. If youre experiencing knee pain, its important to talk to your doctor to find out whats causing it. Once the cause is determined, you can start treatment and get on the road to recovery.

    PFS occurs when pain is felt at the front of the knee and is caused by a faulty nerve. PFS is frequently diagnosed in runners and other athletes who participate in running, basketball, and other sports. PFS is especially dangerous to women, especially those under the age of 30. Wear and tear to the cartilage in your knee can cause it to deteriorate over time. Excessive standing or running can cause degeneration of the knee joint. Long-term use of a walker or stand may be difficult due to osteoarthritis. It has been demonstrated that taking anti-inflammatory medication or sitting for a short period of time can temporarily alleviate joint tension.

    Recommended Reading: Does Exercise Help Knee Pain

    Why Low Bar Squats Hurt Your Knees And How To Fix It

    When you execute the low bar squat correctly it should not hurt your knees at all.

    In fact, with correct progression and technique, no squat variation should hurt your knees.

    Most pains associated with the high bar squat, low bar squat, overhead squats, front squats, etc. are due to incorrect technique first & foremost, and seconded by incorrect progression.

    After you hone your technique make sure you progress appropriately by using our free beginner program.

    Should You Fully Extend On Squats

    While carrying out squats, the experts suggest against the full extension of knees. Instead, the individual is recommended to keep the legs slightly bent, as this promotes the overall loading and the time for which the quadriceps are being activated.


  • Fransen Ph.D., MPH, M. . Hip and knee pain: Role of occupational factors. Science Direct.
  • Hutchens, C. W. L. . Evaluation of Patients Presenting with Knee Pain: Part II. Differential Diagnosis. American Family Physician.
  • Bosomworth, N. J. . Exercise and knee osteoarthritis: benefit or hazard? The College of Family Physicians of Canada.
  • Fairclough, J. . Is iliotibial band syndrome a friction syndrome? Science Direct.
  • Collado, MD, H. . Patellofemoral Syndrome. Clinics in Sports Medicine.
  • Za, D., Pm, A., R, W., & J, J. . Patellar tendonitis and anterior knee pain. Abstract â Europe PMC.
  • Hutchens, C. W. L. . Evaluation of Patients Presenting with Knee Pain: Part II. Differential Diagnosis. American Family Physician.
  • Read Also: Why Does The Side Of My Knee Hurt

    Acl Pain When Squatting

    There are a few potential causes of acl pain when squatting. It could be due to poor form, not warming up properly, or an underlying injury. If the pain is severe, it is best to consult a doctor or physical therapist to rule out any serious causes. In the meantime, try squatting with better form, warming up thoroughly, and avoiding any exercises that aggravate the pain.

    One of the most common causes of knee injury is anterior cruciate ligament tears. ACL injuries are one of the most difficult to recover from and can take a long time. It will take a couple of weeks after starting rehabilitation to gain weight. It is critical to begin loading the ligament as soon as possible. An ACL tear typically requires nine to twelve months to fully recover. According to LaVacca, we should begin thinking about the period of 18 months to two years ahead of time. You may not be able to fully recover from a serious injury for 18 to 24 months. If you wait nine months after your injury to return to sports, you will see a decrease in your injury rate every month. After youve assessed your progress and if it takes another year or even two before you can resume heavy squats, youll be relieved to have done so.

    Who Gets Pfp Syndrome

    How to Avoid Knee Pain From Squats

    Patellofemoral pain syndrome usually happens in people who do sports that involve a lot of knee bending and straightening, such as running, biking, and skiing. It also can happen to people, particularly young women, who do not do a lot of sports.

    PFP syndrome is more common in women and happens most often to teens and young adults.

    Tight or weak leg muscles or flat feet can make someone more likely to get PFP syndrome.

    Also Check: How To Fix Runner’s Knee

    Try A Hip Dominant Exercise

    Why not pick the exercise furthest on the left that is the most hip dominant exercise? The Romanian deadlift will only place a small proportion of force through your knees, as most of that force will be placed through the hips. This should mean that you are still able to lift as heavy as you were lifting previously.

    Can you see why this might be a much better option than resting completely and allowing your muscles to decondition?

    Arthritis Of The Knee

    Arthritis causes the joints to become painful and inflamed. Different types of arthritis can affect almost any of the joints in the body, including the knee.

    Cartilage is the flexible, firm tissue that surrounds the joints and enables them to move smoothly. Osteoarthritis develops if this cartilage breaks down.

    People with knee osteoarthritis may experience pain and swelling around the knee and feel as though the joint is stiff.

    Osteoarthritis is most common in people over the age of 65 years.

    Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that affects joints all over the body. The immune system attacks healthy tissue surrounding the joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.

    Post-traumatic arthritis can happen after an injury to the knee that damages the joints or ligaments. If an infection spreads to the knee, it can cause infectious arthritis of this joint.

    Recommended Reading: Why Is My Knee Swollen

    How Is Pfp Syndrome Treated

    Someone with patellofemoral pain syndrome needs to limit or completely avoid activities that cause pain. Sometimes a change in training is all that’s needed. For example, someone who usually runs hills to train can try running on a flat, soft surface instead.

    A person who has severe pain or pain that interferes with activity needs to rest the knee until the pain is better.

    For pain:

    • Put ice or a cold pack on the knee every 12 hours for 15 minutes at a time. Put a thin towel between the ice and your skin to protect it from the cold.
    • You can take ibuprofen or naproxen . Follow the directions that come with the medicine for how much to take and how often. Do not take this medicine for longer than about 23 weeks.

    An important part of the treatment for PFP syndrome is improving the strength and flexibility of the legs, hips, and core muscles. Health care providers usually recommend going to a physical therapist to make an exercise plan that will help. The plan may include stretching, squats, planks, lunges, and other exercises that improve strength and flexibility of the legs and hips.

    The health care provider might also recommend:

    It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes surgery is needed for PFP syndrome.

    How Do You Treat Front Knee Pain

    4 Tips To Fix Knee Pain!

    Treatment is what we mean when we say treatment. If you have chronic knee pain, you can relieve it by resting your knee for a short period of time and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . If you have anterior knee pain, there are some things you can do to alleviate it, such as changing the way you exercise.

    Also Check: Jumper’s Knee Physical Exercise

    Knee Pain When Bending Or Squatting

    Wear and tear of your knee over time can cause pain when bending your knee due to damage to the bones, ligaments, muscles and/or tendons in and around your knee joint.

    For roughly every 500g of body weight, about 3kg of pressure is applied to your knees when they are bearing weight eg when bending, running, squatting or walking.

    What Are The Possible Causes Of Knee Pain While Squatting

    The common causes of knee pain while squatting are,

  • Squatting all wrong.

  • Twisting or spraining the knee.

  • Cartilage tears.

  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome.

    • Squatting All Wrong – The right way to squat is to sit with legs a little wider than the hip-width, bending the knees, bringing the hip back with chest upwards and shoulder backward. Squatting works the gluteus, thigh muscles like hamstrings and quadriceps, hip flexors, and calves muscles. Doing squats improperly can result in knee pain, and instead of working thigh muscles and gluteus muscles, pressure will be exerted on the knee area.

    The most common mistakes made while squatting include placing the knees forward more than necessary, bending forward while squatting, and lifting the heels.

    • Twisting or Spraining the Knee – Knees are made of ligaments. Any injury to the ligaments will result in a sprain. Placing more weights on the knee, twisting the knee while squatting incorrectly, and a fall or a hit during sports activities are mainly major causes of knee sprain. A sprained knee will cause pain and swelling. Limping is also another sign of a sprained knee. With a sprained knee, squatting or doing any kind of exercise involving the knee becomes difficult.

    • Knee Arthritis – Arthritis of the knee is characterized by the presence of pain, swelling, and stiffness. Arthritis gets worse with age, and there is no permanent cure. Only the symptoms can be controlled.

    Also Check: Do Knee Braces Really Work

    Issue : Previous Injury

    Sometimes its possible that the result of knee pain isnt from anything recent but rather from something that happened previously. In the world of physical rehabilitation, Ill assure you that its not unheard of to have a previous injury rear its ugly head seemingly out of nowhere and start getting your attention with pain.

    Obviously, if youve never experienced any traumatic injuries to your knee, thigh, or shin bone, you wont need to read over this section. However, if youve ever had a moderate or more significant injury to your knee or surrounding area, this previous incident could have set something in motion that is now resulting in your pain.

    Of course, theres no way I could possibly tell you what it may be however, a previous injury that you believed to be behind you could now be manifesting as a Bakers cyst, arthritis, or a seemingly myriad of other pain-provoking conditions behind your knee.

    If any injuries you incurred with your knee were rather significant , Id imagine you would have some intuition as to whether or not your current pain arises from this old injury.

    Significant types of knee trauma can result in posterolateral corner injuries, which are a unique type of injury to the back of the knee. They tend to result in massive trauma to one or more structures within the region.

    Final thoughts


    1. Bowen D, Gill JR, Pulido PG, Melton JTK, Cross M. An Anteriorly Presenting Wrap AroundPopliteal Cyst. Arch Bone Jt Surg. 2018 6:420.


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