Knee pain is one of the most common complaints among women and men. Women in particular are susceptible to knee injury. The knee is the first joint in the body between ourselves and the ground. It's continually absorbing all of our weight when we walk, jump, or do any other kind of movement. Suffering from knee pain can be debilitating not only in your workouts, but in your daily life. Here are four tips to avoid knee pain...
- Tracking: If you've ever taken one of my classes you've heard me say "knees over the toes." Whichever direction your feet are pointing, your knee needs to be heading in the same direction. For instance if your feet are facing forward, make sure that your knee isn't turning inward or outward. Additionally, we want to keep the knee stacked over the ankle and not move forward over the toes as we bend.
- Land Softly: Whether running, jumping or walking it's important to land with a bent knee. We do this naturally when we walk but it can be easily forgotten when we jump or run. Keeping a slight bend in the knee when we touch the ground keeps the joint from getting compressed....Just make sure that bend is tracking over the toes (wink, wink).
- Balanced, Strong Muscles: It's important to strengthen the muscles surrounding our knees because they support the joint and protect the knee from injury. However, we must maintain balance in these muscles so that one muscle group isn't pulling against another. Therefore, when you do a lot of thigh/quad work, make sure you're also doing a lot of hamstring and glute work. Same thing goes for the inner and outer thighs. We don't want any one muscle group pulling our knee joint forward or backward, left or right. Balance is key.
- Myofascial Release: When we work our muscles through exercise, we develop adhesions in our soft tissue (aka the myofascia). These "knots" can pull on our joints. It's important to release the tissue surrounding these joints using trigger point therapy or myofascial release. My favorite way to do this is by (duh) getting a massage, but since I can't always afford for someone else to massage me, there are a few other ways of applying trigger point therapy. In fact, my very first video (here) demonstrates how to foam roll and you can also read this post that explains how to use tennis balls to achieve the same results. In 95% of people I talk to who complain of knee pain, after a little bit of foam rolling, voila! The pain is gone.