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Archive for the ‘Knee Pain’ Category

Knee Pain with Lunges and Squats

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Recently, I had a patient who was certain she was doing squats and lunges incorrectly with her trainer as she was experiencing knee pain.  She asked me to check her body mechanics and form with the squats and lunges so she could correct the problem.  Her form was perfect and she was surprise to hear that it wasn’t her execution of the exercises – it was the exercises themselves.  Here is the Squat Paradox:  Strengthening the gluts, quads and hamstrings is important to protect your knees from knee pain, but the most common exercises of choice to achieve the strengthening (squats and lunges) often irritate the knee joints.

Yes.  There is a good and a bad way to perform a squat, but sometimes these exercises are irritating to the knee joints regardless of form.  There are many other alternative exercises to strengthen the butt, quads and hips that can be used until the legs are strong enough to handle squats. The Strong Knees DVD has many good options for knee strengthening exercises that don’t irritate the joints.   My website also has some good mat exercises that will help the knees without over challenging the knee joints.

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Knee Pain on an Airplane

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

I recently returned from 10 glorious days of sailing in the Greek Islands.  Unfortunately, the long flight home was a grueling 16 hours in coach.  Let’s face it – airplane flying is not good for the body.  We just aren’t designed to sit in those cramped spaces like that for so long.  During the 11 hour leg from Athens to Newark, NJ, I saw a lot of uncomfortable people – rubbing sore knees, stretching legs and moving around the cabin in a desperate attempt to relieve the discomfort of sitting for such a long period of time.  In the physical therapy world, we have a very technical term for knee pain from prolonged sitting – The “Movie Goers Sign”.  Really.  I am not making this up. A “positive” Movie Goers Sign means that you have knee pain from sitting for too long – essentially from having your knees in a bent position.  The medical community could have easily called this phenomenon the  “Airplane Fliers Sign”.  Same thing.  It is an indication of Patellofemoral Syndrome.

I would love to tell you that I have a magical stretch that you can do on an airplane that will make all the knee discomfort go away immediately. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy. Stretching your legs while on an airplane does help, but to really get to the root of the problem, you need to strengthen your knees and improve the flexibility of your leg muscles BEFORE you take off on your wonderful vacation. In particular, you need to strengthen and stretch your quadriceps and your hamstring muscles. There are a couple of good quad exercises and hamstring stretches on my website.  Avoid squats and lunges as they can aggravate knee pain with sitting.  My STRONG KNEES DVD is also a good way to prepare yourself for traveling without pain. I recommend doing the DVD at least 2 weeks prior to getting on an airplane.

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Knee Exercises – Not Surgery

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

A new study just released by the New England Journal of Medicine found that surgery for arthritis of the knees is ineffective. In the study, all subjects received traditional physical therapy, a home program and glucosamine. The subjects who also underwent surgery were initially better than the control group, but after six months, there were no differences between the groups.
Interestingly, the physical therapy treatment that subjects received was based on a 1999 systemic review of knee therapies. Had the study used more recent exercise protocols based on the current knee rehabilitation literature, the results may have been even more in favor of non-surgical treatments for knee pain.
The bottom line – exercising helps with knee pain. The Strong Knees DVD, which has a comprehensive knee exercise routine, is available for pre-order on Amazon and will be released as of early December.

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Avoid Knee Pain at The Gym

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

knee-extension-machine.jpg There is only one weight machine I warn my patients to stay away from at the gym. I cringe when I see people using the knee extension machine. This is the piece of equipment you sit on, hook your feet under a t shaped bar and straighten your knees. The problem with this machine is that your knee is most unstable and vulnerable when it is straight. Your knee is subjected to way too much pressure and stain when you add resistance to the equation. Strengthening your quadriceps with bent knees is a better way to go. Try the shuttle machine or the leg press machine instead.

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