Three Reasons Your Knee Might Be Hurting You
Many long term athletes and active-lifestyle adherents experience some form of knee pain during their lives. Besides being hit or struck while performing some activity, simple constant overuse injuries can occur from exercise like running or weightlifting with poor form. In most cases, though, despite the injury, there are just a few issues that could be addressed to heal or prevent another one. In this article, we will discuss three common reasons that active people experience knee pain and discomfort.
The first cause of knee pain could be from simple joint alignment issues. Due to how the human body is constructed, the knee caves inwards a bit from the hip. This angle from the outside of the hip to the knee is known as the Q-angle. The more extreme the angle, the more likely an injury may develop. This is also the reason why women have a far higher incidence of ACL tears — because of their wider hips, this angle is more excessive and can cause greater stress on the joint during exercise.
The second cause of knee pain is a lack of function and strength in the joint. A well-designed strength and conditioning program can address these issues by putting the knee joint and surrounding muscles and joints through a full range of motion and then strengthening those areas. However, a poorly-designed training program can lead to muscle imbalances, lack of strength in some important muscles, or practicing of improper movement habits that lead to further stress on the joint. This is one reason some people seem to bounce between training hard and recovering from injury and unable to train.
A third reason athletes experience knee pain can be a lack of mobility at the joints directly above (the hip) and below (the ankle) the knee. While the knee is built mainly for stability and needs to follow the movement of the ankle and hip, the body will use the joint for mobility if these other joints are not up to the task. The ankle and hip are extremely mobile joints, but if they are tight or inflexible, the body has no other option than to sacrifice the stability of the knee in order to get more mobility to perform certain movements. When this happens, more stress is placed on the knee to make it function in a way that it is not designed to do.
In a future article, three more causes of knee pain will be discussed, but simple addressing the ones here may help athletes in pain begin to see how their joints are designed to function and what may be leading to chronic pain. And in another future article, we will learn that a bad knee does not have to be the fate for most athletes and active persons, even if they have been abusing their body for years. Taking care of our joints has never been so easy, especially with all of the new methods and equipment that have been created in recent years that can help alleviate pain and rebuild the tissues of the body.