Squatting is a position you can get yourself all day or during exercise. You may need to sit down to pick up toys in your home or lift a box or you could sit down and exercise or play sports, such as basketball. Either way, you may feel knee pain with squats in this from time to time. Discomfort may occur under your kneecap or in other parts of the joint, depending on the cause.
In this article, learn about the causes of knee pain from squats, how to treat yourself, how to protect yourself from future knee pain and when to see a doctor.
Possible reasons why a person feels knee pain with squats include:
Doing squat wrong can put pressure on the knees rather the thigh muscles which can cause knee pain, a person who continues to experience pain after squatting correctly should visit his or her doctor to diagnose any knee problems.
Spraining the knee
Sprains is painful and can cause inflammation. These injuries can make it painful to squat and perform other exercises that involve the knee. A person with a sprained knee may also find it difficult to walk or put weight on the joint.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome can cause pain around the kneecap and in front of the knees, making it painful to squat.
Anyone can have patellofemoral pain syndrome, but some people call it “athlete knee” or “jumper knee” because it often affects people who do a lot of sports. Any knee injury can also cause knee pain when exercising.
Tendons connect muscles to bones. Knee tendonitis can occur when a person strains or overuse the muscles around the knee, causing them to swell.
Tendonitis is more likely to occur as a result of repetitive movements, especially if these exert a lot of force on the tendon. People often make repetitive movements while playing sports or working in a manual labor jobs or playing sports.
Arthritis causes joint pain and swelling. Different types of arthritis can affect almost any part of the body, including the knee.
Cartilage is a flexible, strong tissue that surrounds the joints and allows them to move with ease. Osteoarthritis develops if this cartilage breaks. People with osteoarthritis of the knee can experience pain and swelling in the knee and feel as though that the joint is stiff, osteoarthritis is mostly common in people over the age of 65.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints throughout the body. The immune system attacks the healthy tissues around the joints, causing pain, swelling and stiffness.
Post-traumatic arthritis can occur after a knee injury that damages the joints or ligaments. If the infection spreads to the knees, it can cause infectious arthritis of the joints.
A serious injury to the knee can cause the cartilage to tear on the knees. People may need to wear knee support during exercise after tearing the cartilage. The patellar tendon tear is one that occurs in a tendon of the knee which may be due to a weak tendon or a blow.
Symptoms of tender patella tears include:
- Difficulty walking
- Buckling of the knee
- A moving kneecap
- Pain and tenderness
- Indentation under the kneecap
The type of treatment will depend on the size of the tender tear. Physiotherapy can sometimes be enough, but surgery is needed.
Iliotibial band syndrome
The iliotibial band, or IT band, is the tissue that runs the length of the upper leg from the hip to the knees. When one kneels, the IT band moves to support it.
When an IT band burns, it can pierce the outer knee and cause pain, especially during movements that involve joints, such as squatting. IT band syndrome often affects runners. People who do not stretch well before exercise have a higher risk of getting these injuries.
This is a common problem I encounter. The hips, especially the glutes, do not support the knee enough to allow for a proper squat. The knee is a ‘hinge joint’ and simply needs to bend and straighten. When the hips are unable to keep the knee cave-in, the knees may slip. Doing this over and over again will cause knee pain and, with enough load, can cause muscle damage. A good way to fix this is to strengthen the gluteal muscles.
Limited ankle mobility
If the ankle does not have enough mobility, no amount of strength will allow proper form and range of motion to have a complete squat.
Prevention and how to squat
Warming up before exercise can help prevent injuries as the muscles become less flexible and tear up more easily as people get older.
To warm up properly, use joint movements to increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, such as marching right there. Stretching the legs before and after exercise can also help reduce the risk of injury.
How to squat
Focus on the form
Let’s understand one thing about the squat form, though: There will always be a forward movement of the knees when squatting. Telling a person that the knees should never cross the toes because it is a fitness myth.
That is to say, letting your knees move forward too much so that your heels come off the ground can put you at risk of injury. This is where you end up putting more pressure on your knees.
Try doing squats in front of the mirror or have an experienced person so you can an eye at your form. They can help you identify the wrong form.
To squat properly:
- Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart.
- As you exhale, bend your knees and lower your buttocks as if to sit down
- Hold your arms out to maintain balance, make sure the heels are always planted on the ground
- Keep the buttocks and the thighs aligned above knee level and go as low as possible without causing discomfort
- Keep your back straight in a neutral position
- Make sure your hips, knees and toes all point forward
- Inhale and Push back up to a standing position by pushing down on the heels and keeping the buttocks tight
If squats hurt your knees – and you do not suffer from any pre-existing injuries – it is because you are making your knees do more work than your hips. Learning to use the hips during squat is important if you want to make them have a close friendship. Box squats can do just that.
Box squats also keep people honest with the depth of their squat. Squatting full range of motion is healthy for the knees and makes it stronger.
Here’s how to do it:
- Start with a box that is 14 or 15 inches high. Note: The height of the box can be adjusted depending on your body type. As a sixth rule, your thighs should be just below the knee level when you are in a bottom squat position.
- Do the exercise without weights first. Once you have the hang of it, place the box in a squat rack, unrack the bar, and stand in front of the box with your feet slightly wider than the hip-wide apart.
- Your toes should be rotated out at 15 to 30 degrees.
- Start your squat by lowering the hips. Sit back while at the same time pushing the knees out and trying to spread the floor with your feet. You just need your kneecaps to stay in line with your middle toes.
- Gently touch the box with your butt.
- Push back up to the starting position, squeeze your glutes at the top.
Some tips you can incorporate into your daily life include:
Simplify the task if you feel uncomfortable. Knee pain during squats can be caused by overuse, so resting can help you avoid injury and heal quickly.
- Lose weight: Carrying less weight can help reduce the amount of pressure put on your knees every day.
- Exercise regularly to keep muscles and bones strong. Increase the intensity slowly to avoid injury.
- Make sure you warm yourself up and relax at all sports activities.
- Incorporate strength training into your routine to target your leg muscles.
- Incorporate stretching into your routine to work on any tightness or imbalances that can lead to injury.
People can use the RICE method to relieve knee pain. The RICE method includes:
- Rest: Rest the knee and avoid bearing too much weight on it.
- Ice: Apply a towel wrapped with ice pack around the knee for 20 minutes at a time.
- Compression: Wrap a bandage around the knee to help prevent swelling.
- Elevation: If possible, lift the leg.
You can also use drugs, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain and inflammation. While people may need to avoid exercising or doing too many squats, moderate movements or stretching can reduce stiffness and keep the joint mobile.
If you are still experiencing knee pain due to seizures or other activities after giving the knee time to heal, they should see a doctor.
The time it takes to recover from a knee injury depends on the severity of the injury, how much rest you are taking, and the treatment you choose.
You can get better by treating your pain at home and resting. Or you may need continuous treatment sessions to work on muscle imbalances.
People who squat as part of their exercise or during daily activities should make sure they do this movement correctly to prevent knee pain. It is often possible to relieve pain by wearing a knee brace, applying cold compress, resting or changing activity, or taking painkillers.
If people continue to experience knee pain during or after squats, they should visit a doctor to make sure that there is no underlying condition.