Whether you’re an athlete or just someone looking to start your health journey. Knee pain and injury is a lot more common than you realize. Especially when the pain is from overstressed ligaments and tendons. So before you go picking up your weights, let’s take a look at some common causes of knee pain. As well as reduce the chances of knee pain with some extremely useful exercises.
Probably one of the most traumatic and intense injuries you can get that causes knee pain is ligament damage. This basically occurs when you tear a ligament that connects your femur to the tibia. If you’re not exactly sure which bones are which. The femur is the bone in your thigh and the tibia is in the lower part of your leg.
The most common ligament issue occurs with the anterior cruciate ligament. Most sports athletes, competitors and fitness gurus know this in its abbreviated form as the ACL. The most common way it ends up injured is through a rapid change in direction. What does that mean? It means that while your upper body turns left, your lower body doesn’t follow. This typically results in what is known as a ruptured ACL.
Something else to consider with knee pain and ligament damage is that it may not be the ACL that is harmed. It may actually be the ligaments on either side of the knee. These two ligaments are known as the medial collateral and the lateral collateral ligaments.
You’re probably wondering how the meniscus can be the cause of your knee pain. Especially since it’s commonly explained as a cushion between joints most of the time. Well, the knee in particular has two of these menisci. One of which is medial and the other is lateral.
If one or two of the mensci come “out of track” this can cause pain. The medical term for this is subluxation. It’s best explained in the form of a stubborn drawer. Whether that be a dresser draw or draw in a kitchen. Often it runs smoothly on its track. However, when one side comes off of that track it refrains from running smoothly and ends up “scraping” up the track itself.
If one or both of the knee’s menisci come “off track” this could lead to stress on the other ligaments as well as damage to the overall knee. Leading to further pain.
Weak Hip Muscles
You’d be surprised to know that having a weakness in your hip muscles can be the cause of knee pain. However, it’s true. Think of it this way. In most cases knees, ankles, and hips all work in tandem with one another. If one area isn’t working properly it puts stress on the other areas.
For example, if you’re walking and your knees are bending into the midline of your body you may be insufficient in your lateral stability. How does that work exactly? Well, the gluteus medius is what connects the pelvis and femur. If for some reason your gluteus medius doesn’t stabilize the in-between step phase of walking this can cause your knee to collapse inward. When your knee collapses inward, it can end up creating a subluxation much like with meniscus injuries. This then creates knee pain.
Insufficient Ankle Mobility
Much like with hip muscle issues, ankle mobility can also seriously affect your knees and whether or not you experience knee pain. To understand how ankle mobility works, let’s take a look at the process of dorsiflexion. This is the fancy term for motion that occurs at the ankle joint. It’s an occurrence in which the top of your foot moves closer to the tibia. It most commonly occurs when you walk. Now, if your ankle doesn’t have the correct mechanism for this to work your knee will essentially get more mobility.
Now, say you decide you want to do some squats or lunges. If your ankle cannot move the way it’s supposed to, these different exercises can cause some serious knee pain. This is why a lot of the time you’ll hear trainers talk about not letting your knee pass your foot. Because if this type of movement occurs there is more of a chance of injury. For example, your femur can push into the patella and thus create strain on the ligament there. And B.I.N.G.O. instant knee pain.
Exercises to Reduce Knee Pain
But not to worry, there are knee and even ankle strengthening exercises to reduce the pain often felt in the knee. Three of the most common include glute bridges, reverse lunges, and standing hip thrusts. Below we’ll go into how each exercise should be performed in order to reach maximum benefit.
How to: When it comes to glute bridges, you’ll want to start off laying flat on your back. This can be done on an exercise mat or yoga mat if that suits your fancy. However, if you don’t have either of these you’re still good to go. Once on your back you’re going to want to bend at the knee lining up each ankle with the corresponding hip. Be sure not to go too wide as this can lead to injury or discomfort. You’ll want to press into all sides of your foot and lift your bottom off the ground. Pushing your hips toward the ceiling but keeping your shoulders and upper back on the mat or floor.
For the best results, it’s recommended that this exercise is done in two to four sets. With each set having between 15 and 20 repetitions.
How to: Now, while reverse lunges are pretty self explanatory. It is important to have some general understanding of the correct form. So, in a standing position you’re going to want to step one of your legs back. The next step is to bend your front knee into roughly a 90 degree angle. Make sure that your knee does not pass your toes. Because as you read above in the ankle section of this article. That can cause unnecessary injury. Start with one side and then you’ll want to switch to the other and do the same steps as mentioned above.
You’ll want to complete roughly 10 to 15 repetitions per side before switching.
Standing Hip Thrusts
How to: Last but not least are hip thrusts. While the other two exercises didn’t need any specific equipment, you’ll need a bench for this particular exercise. Added weights are optional but not completely necessary. Especially if you’re working towards getting the correct form. You’ll want to sit on the ground with your back to the bench. You’ll then bend your knees, planting your feet. Make sure that your knees are hip width apart. You’ll then drive your hips up creating a table top position with your body. Lowering your body down and lifting again.
The amount of repetitions and sets typically will rely on you. However, the most common is sets of 10, with sets maxing out at 3.
Peptides for Knee Pain & Healing
Now, if you’re still experiencing knee pain or you have an old injury that didn’t quite heal properly in the first place, you may want to look at peptides. Peptides are small links of amino acid chains that are more easily digestible by the body. Not only that, they’re also commonly created naturally by the body so you’ll have less side effects to deal with when using them. Two of the most common healing varieties include BPC-157 and TB-500. You can get yours here.