So, we have sub-classified knee pain, but how do you know which category your knee pain falls into? Let’s start with the assumption, that you have no significant underlying damage to your knee joint. I am talking about the articulation of your patella (knee cap) to the femur AND the area where your femur meets your tibia. The next step should be to find out if you are moving properly. Odds are, you are like the vast majority of the world, and you are chronically UNDER stretched.
Balancing the soft tissues around the knee with calf, quad, hamstring, and ITB stretches, is always where anyone in pain should start. Without a PT or physician assessment, simply allowing your body to move how it was designed to move, can help minimize or even alleviate your symptoms. Remember, you should only feel a gentle muscle stretch, NOT pain or discomfort with any of these positions.
As a guideline, all stretches should be held >20 seconds (I recommend 30 seconds) and repeated at least 2-3 times. It is always best to stretch warmed up tissues…never push into a stretch with cold muscles or you could cause damage to the muscle fibers. Do a light, whole body warm up = brisk walk, march in place, even light jumping jacks if your knee doesn’t hurt doing them.
These pictures represent my 4 favorite leg stretches that anyone can do and can be performed anywhere:
No excuses, try doing these stretches at least 3x/day. If you do 4 stretches x 3 repetitions x 30 seconds, that is only 360 seconds, or 6 minutes per session. Surely, you can carve out 6 minutes to help you move and feel better! Pay close attention to the techniques and nuances of these stretches…doing something incorrectly is no more beneficial than not doing them at all, and could even cause more harm.
- Next post we will address other soft tissue restrictions and self-treatment options, that can help improve mobility when stretching just isn’t enough.