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Knee Pain with Lunges and Squats

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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2 Responses to “Knee Pain with Lunges and Squats”

  1. Jenny says:

    I found your Strong Knees DVD very helpful during knee problems last year. I eventually had to go to physical therapy but was nice to already be doing the DVD and have the basics down before I went. I have since progressed to more advanced versions of the exercises on your DVD, but I still use the stretching segment several times a week. It is really wonderful.

    For me, it was interesting as the progression from wall slides to real squats marked a huge improvement in my knees. Oddly enough I had severe hip snapping on my other side (I have hip dysplasia on top of the knee problem) and it also went away when I started to do squats. I eventually moved on to single leg squats, but I do not perform them with full range of motion. My single leg squats are almost half squats really, to about 45-50 degrees. Even with full squats I don’t go all the way to 90 degrees. Reducing the range of motion may be an alternative for someone if they are trying to do to 90 degrees. I seem to remember my therapist throwing out a number like 60 degrees, but can’t remember for sure.

  2. Chantal Donnelly says:

    Thanks Jenny! I am glad the Strong Knees DVD has helped you. So great that you have been able to progress to squats. Indeed, once the muscles are strong enough to handle the load and compression, squats can be a great form of exercise. You just have to be willing to go through the progression slowly and not jump right into squats before your body is ready. Unfortunately, for some people, the degeneration of the knee joints is so advanced that full range squats may never been an option.

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