5 Training Mistakes Which Will Cause Knee Pain
Knee pain is a common problem amongst the sporting population. The causes of knee pain are split between traumatic injuries and those where pain develops gradually for no clear reason. Whilst the first type is less avoidable, the second, can in many cases be avoided, or at least stopped in its tracks, before the condition really takes hold.
Here is our list of the biggest training mistakes to contribute to knee pain:
1. Wearing Poor Footwear
This is one of the biggest contributing factors to knee pain. Firstly, make sure the footwear is cushioning. Most sports involve running and the repeated impacts place a lot of stress on the knees. Cushioning footwear or insoles can really help reduce this. Secondly, make sure you have enough arch support. It is very common to have either a fallen arch, or to overpronate. This causes an inward rotation on the shin bone which in turn affects the positioning and functioning of the knee joint! Get a gait analysis to ensure you are wearing suitable footwear for you and your sport!
2. Developing Muscle Imbalances
Muscle imbalances occur when one muscle group is strong and tight, and the opposing group is weak and long. This leads to an uneven pull on a joint. Around the knee, common examples include tight lateral quads and IT band, whilst the medial quads (and VMO in particular) are weak. This can lead to mal-tracking of the kneecap as the strong lateral muscles pull it outwards. Inadequate stretching and an inadequate strengthening programme contribute towards these developments.
3. Lack of Fitness
Research has shown that fatigue towards the end of a match or event contributes towards knee injuries, even traumatic injuries such as ligament and cartilage tears. This is due to reduced control of the joint by the fatigued muscles. Increased fitness training can help with this.
4. Too much Jumping / Plyometrics
Jumping sports such as Basketball are known to contribute to conditions such as patella tendonitis (aka jumper’s knee). Whilst jumping is unavoidable during match play and such techniques and plays must be rehearsed, players and coaches should be aware of over-doing things. This is especially important when just starting the sport, or when moving up a level.
5. Running on Hard Surfaces
Always training on hard surfaces, especially concrete, can contribute to knee injuries. There is absolutely no give in these kinds of surfaces and so the shocks passed up through the feet and lower legs are much larger than when training on softer surfaces such as grass.
Please visit our knee pain page for more information on different knee injuries, their causes and treatment.