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Knee Pain PT 1

Six years ago, while still under the impression I was invincible, I decided to squat without warming up or going light to begin. As I bent my knees and lowered my body for my first rep I felt an immediate sharp pain follow by a deafening ‘pop’. From that day on, I joined the many who deal with consistent knee pain. As I worked my way through Chiropractic College I took a special interest in conquering knee injuries. I spent additional time thoroughly going over the anatomy, biomechanics, and common knee injuries. I researched rehab principles, the efficacy of surgical intervention, and the new cutting edge protocols.

Here are some great tips to keep knee pain at bay;

1) Proper Warm- Up

Sometimes the simplest advice is the most effective. In our busy lives often the gym or a run is squeezed into the day and it doesn’t afford time for a warm up. Our bodies aren’t design to jump right into 5th gear. Our muscles and joints need time to adapt and warm up. If our muscles aren’t yet pliable and our joints not accustomed to the range of motion a rapid stretch can often lead to injury. A warm up can also lubricate the joints activating movement of the synovial fluid (fluid within the joint) to allow smoother gliding within the joint itself.

2) Fire Important Muscles

Many studies have found the importance of proper and efficient Glute firing in decreasing knee pain. Research on Patello-femoral pain syndrome has found a decrease in strength and firing rate of the Gluteus Max and Gluteus Medius in association with general knee pain. ‘Turning on’ these muscles prior to maximal training effort can both decrease pain and increase athletic performance. Monster band walks and glute bridge are fantastic ways to get the Glutes firing in a way that won’t aggravate the knee.

3) Don’t forget about the hip and ankle

The knee on its own is a very simple joint. It moves in only one plane -flexing and extending the leg. However, the hip and ankle both allow for far greater movement, this greatly increases the mobility of the lower limb. However, If the hip/ ankle is injured or tight it may alter normal gait or movement causing a ‘pinch’ with each step which over time will lead to pain and injury.

4) Listen to your body

If the knee hurts consistently with a specific movement or activity- STOP that activity. It may seem very simple but often individuals don’t want to give up the sport they love. Taking a short break from the gym, basketball court, or ski hill doesn’t mean hanging up the sport for good. Rather your body may need some time to allow for the inflammation to subside.