When we think of knee pain, we typically go straight to the source - your knee. However, pain can come from either above, below, or directly within the knee. First, let’s start within the knee! Do you ever hear clicking or crackling that somewhat resembles that of Rice Krispies in milk? Well the good news is that just because you hear something from inside your knee, it doesn’t mean it is associated with damage or will result in pain. My general rule of thumb is, if it hurts then we need to address it. If you’re experiencing clicking with each step when you go upstairs, then there are a few things you can do to address it. When muscles are tight, they compress and decrease joint space which may lead to more pain or unnecessary noise. Below is the first exercise which will reduce your muscle tightness.
Foam roll your quads – 2-3 minutes for each leg
When looking at knee pain we also need to look at your ankle range of motion. Depending on where and how you step, the rest of your limb is forced to absorb and move in the same direction. Making sure that you have adequate ankle range of motion is crucial for anyone with knee pain!
Calf stretch: 30 seconds x 2 reps
One of my favorite lines that I hear from all my runners is, “I run, so no I don’t need to strengthen my lower body.” Well, I hate to say it, but just because you run it doesn’t mean that you won’t eventually develop knee pain or weakness. The muscles in your hips control the amount of stability you have in your knee. So when your hip muscles are weak, your knee actually drops into valgus, see picture below, which leads to knee pain.
*Image on the right is knee valgus! This is what happens during running if your hips are weak.
So even if you’re a runner, you will benefit from the following exercise. This exercise is designed to strengthen your Gluteus Medius which is an important knee stabilizer.
Monster Walks (Colten Shuffle)
These 3 exercises will give you a great place to start when you notice knee pain that doesn’t seem to go away. They should always be performed with proper technique and if you have any questions about how to properly perform them contact Bull City PT today!
- Dr. Colten Sullivan
Bull City Physical Therapy