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Back Squats and Knee pain

Discussion in 'Injury Recovery and Prevention' started by Zillagreybeard, Feb 18, 2020.
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  • Feb 18, 2020
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Some people experience knee discomfort during squats. If you can relate to this, in today’s post, I’ll help you troubleshoot your knee pain. A common cause of knee discomfort is patellar tendon inflammation, also known as patellar tendonitis [1].

A way to deal with patellar tendonitis in the short-term is by warming up your knees before doing any squats. Cycling for 5-10 minutes and using knee sleeves are practical tools that help with this [2]. Also, consider that patellar tendon stress increases the deeper you squat [3]. If you have healthy knees, deep squats are perfectly safe [4]. But for those with patellar tendonitis, avoiding deep knee flexion helps works around the discomfort.

Now, to fix your knee pain for good, just squatting with a shorter range of motion and/or using knee sleeves generally won’t do the trick. You need to identify the root cause of your knee pain. This could be improper squat form, lack of mobility, muscle imbalances, etc. Something that can’t hurt is strengthening the lower body muscles that provide support to the knee, think about the hamstrings & glutes [5].

But if your knee discomfort persists, it’s worth visiting your physician to get it checked. Also, it’s worth mentioning that you don’t “have to” squat. If you can do alternative lower body exercises (e.g. split squats) pain-free, that can be a great alternative.


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