Carrying extra weight, being sedentary, and participating high-impact activities is damaging to your knees. There’s no way around it, that’s just a fact, but if you check these activities off your list weekly, you’re on your way out of knee pain and toward a more balanced body and higher fitness level.
1. Foam Roll:
When you find a tender spot with a foam roller, remain on the hotspot for 30 seconds.
• IT Band. This band runs along the outer thigh from the knee to hip. A tight and knotted IT band on a runner will pull on the knee joint causing pain.
• Quadriceps. Most people are quad-dominant, not using their hamstrings enough. Like the IT-band, over-active quad muscles will tug at the knee cap, resulting in knee pain.
• Glutes. If your gluteus muscles are not firing enough due to tightness, they off-load to the quads and contribute to the muscular imbalance in the leg and will cause both hip and knee pain, inevitably.
Hold each stretch 30-90s.
• Hip Flexors
• Inner thigh
3. Activate Your Posterior Chain
Perform the following exercises, 3 sets of 10, holding each rep 2s:
• Supermans: Lie on your stomach and lift all four limbs as high as possible concurrently.
• Bird Dogs: From the kneeling position with hands on the floor, lift one arm and the opposite leg up. Switch.
• Glute Bridges: Lie on the floor with your knees bent, heels close to your body. Push hips as high as possible and return them to the floor.
4. Limit Impact
• Jumping movements should be limited to no more than 1 time per week.
• Refrain from all running for a minimum of 6 weeks. Substitute biking or elliptical training for cardiovascular exercise instead.
• Once pain subsides, limit running to 3 days per week at most.
It is too easy to take joint health for granted until something hurts. Then, bending causes discomfort or just sleeping exacerbates your pain. The limitations are debilitating and impactful. Take preventative measures and then, please: take your joints for granted. That’s a good sign they’re in working order.