Is it normal for knees to hurt during squats?

We recently had a client contact our clinic last week and he asked us this…

Is it normal for my knees to hurt during squats?

He told us he was attending his local gym frequently (4-5 days a week) for the past year, to help him lose weight.  He would perform exercises like running, leg extensions, lunges, and using the stair climber.  Then about 7 months ago he began feeling knee pain when he squats.  He thought nothing of it at first, and that it was just something that would go away on its own.

Continuing to perform the same exercises, his knee pain got worse when he squats and it began to affect his quality of life.  He decided to go to his orthopedic doctor, who prescribed him painkillers, performed cortisone injections, and told him to rest.

A month had past and he was still having knee pain with back squats.  He decided to do his own research and found some exercises to help knee pain with squats on YouTube.  Unfortunately, the exercises caused him to have severe knee pain to the point that squatting to the toilet or a chair, sitting in a chair with bent knees, going up and down stairs, and even sleeping became a nightmare.

Has something similar happened to you? Have you been wondering “why do I have knee pain when I squat”?

To rest or not to rest?

Yes, the word ‘rest’ can be confusing…

What does “take some rest’ even mean?

Does rest mean you have to sit on the couch all day when you got things to do?

Does it mean no exercising until your knee feels better? And then when it does, how much exercising is too much?

Does it mean you have to avoid exercise all together?

Being told to rest, and take painkillers is one of the most common things we hear when people are given ‘knee pain’ advice.  But the truth is, the combination of rest and taking pills will do absolutely nothing to help you return to an active lifestyle.

Simply resting will not get to the root cause of your knee pain.  Which will limit your ability to get back to living an active life without it.

In fact, as long as you don’t have a knee injury that’s caused severe damage, instead of ‘rest’, you should actually move!

Now, I know you might be worried to use your knees and want to take some time off to let your knees heal, but there are several safe, low-impact activities, that can actually help get you on the road to recovery.

You see, when we don’t move our joints they become stiff and immobile, which can cause inflammation – which actually makes joints like our knees even MORE painful!

If you’ve had a serious knee injury that’s actually caused damage, then that’s another story altogether. But if you’re experiencing daily, annoying knee pain then there’s some simple things you can do to keep moving, and walk safely, without making it worse.

What can you do instead?

Something as simple as gentle bodyweight strengthening exercises like lateral steps with a mini band around your ankles or dumbbell or kettlebell deadlifts, air squats with a band around the knees for proper alignment and glute bridges are good choices to help keep your knees in good condition.

If you happen to be a runner and running is not an option for you at the present moment, then try a two handed kettle bell swing as a way to keep your cardiovascular endurance in top shape.  Your knees will love you for it.

Flexibility exercises like a dynamic warm up for the leg muscles help maintain movement and range of motion in your joints and reduce the amount of strain which is placed on them with daily activity and exercise.  Just make sure you don’t over-do-it.

It’s important that you never feel pain when you do any of these movements.

Remember, knees are meant to bend. They’re designed to help us walk, kneel down, squat, jump, and go up and down stairs – not to stay still and rest all day!

(Which is what a lot of people are told by their doctors to do!)

It’s important to always start slow with gentle stretching and strengthening exercises and build up slowly.

Although it may feel like knee pain is something you’ll have to learn to live with and might not be able to be as active as you once were – that’s not always the case.

Don’t just accept rest, painful injections and taking painkillers as your only solution.  There’s a way to get back to living a life you enjoy.

What to do next

If you want more information on how to ease knee pain and keep active without needing pills, injections, or surgery, we offer a FREE Discovery Session consultation just for you.

It’s a FREE one-on-one 20-minute consultation with one of our knee pain specialists to help answer all of your pressing questions and concerns. Finally learn how to unlock the agonizing mystery of knee pain and get back the active lifestyle you deserve, for good!

To find out more call (650) 947-8500 and one of our specialists will be happy to assist you.

Or you can click the link to instantly download our FREE Knee Pain Guide to learn quick tips on how you can begin easing your knee pain today: https://physiofitpt.com/knee-pain/

Kim Gladfelter

Kim Gladfelter, PT, MPT, OCS, FAAOMPT, is a physical therapist and owner of PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness in Los Altos, CA. Kim's facility has a complete wellness center, offering classes in Pilates, Yoga, Gyrotonic® and TRX suspension training, as well as special clinical programs for women’s health. Kim works with people aged 30-65+ on a daily basis and is an expert Columnist who writes health articles for the Los Altos Town Crier newspaper, professional newsletters and blogs nationwide. She also reaches out to the local community, support groups, schools, libraries and sports centers to advise and educate on body awareness and exercise for back pain.
Kim Gladfelter

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