by Michael Wohltmann
So you finally have to own up that your knees are sensitive and your training may be hurting them. Your attempts at icing, Advil and laying off your workouts was already old the moment you swallowed that pill or iced it down. Of course there is the doctor but you shy away fearing that “Don’t do that anymore!” advice. Don’t do that anymore equates with ageing and you would rather get punched in the face than hear that.
Well, what is going on?
I am going to give you some workable understanding and advice to help you better manage the pain and potentially eliminate it. There is always that “R.I.C.E.” formula but that is not what I mean. It is already too late when that is applied. I am going to break some of it down and list some knee basic tenets:
1) Your knee pain is not a result of high impact trauma. Sure, there may have been a “defining moment” you realized there was trouble but the chance the damage was building was extremely high before the event. Yes, if you were a running back and were dive tackled and your knee buckled, that would be high impact trauma. You subsequently would not also be reading articles like this to figure out the “why”. Your knee pain is the result of repeated improper lower impact trauma. (The Take Home: Damage happens before you feel it.)
2) The knee complex damage is often the result of imbalanced muscles coupled with exertion. Muscles can be weak and/or tight and this difference upsets what is called proper motor patterns and stresses connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, etc). Also, these imbalances only show under exertion so couch potatoes usually do not have these problems. The real world application is that your couch potato friends will not understand you and might even be glad they don’t work out. (The Take Home: Weak and tight muscles set the stage for injury when exerted.)
3) Weakness and tightness are the most obvious predictors or findings of knee pain. You can find those issues before or after that pain presents.
4) The most common sites for knee pain are the frontal area (around and under/over the knee cap) or on the outside of the knee(lateral).
5) There is a more complicated side (of course) where arthritis, meniscus tears, ligament tears are real and must be diagnosed by a physician. A diagnosis does not mean the end is near but may require more time intensive treatments with licensed professionals, prescription drugs or surgery to treat.
6) And for my disclaimer… Physicians diagnose and are exclusive to that honor. My suggestions here will simply be to understand where the pain presents and some little strategies to either strengthen or stretch muscles that may be associated with it. These are my opinions only.