Correctly identifying the area on the knee where your have pain will determine the exercises you need to include.
This is the final part of our knee pain blog series. We have had great feedback and its great to see people using the insights to live a more active and pain free life.
In parts 1 to 4 we have examined causes of the most common knee issues and showed you very handy exercises you can do to correct these different conditions. In this final part I’ll be summarizing the most common knee issues and provide an easy way to go about understanding the similarities between different knee conditions and the exercises that have proven to fix the issue.
Usually when we as coaches examine typical knee issues related to training we look at patella femoral syndrome, osteoarthritis, degenerative meniscus liaison, ITB-band syndrome or patella tendinopathy. These knee issues may seem confusing, those names don’t make thing any easier. By applying a filter process based on the location of the pain, activity level and age the client we can start correcting the issues.
Osteoarthritis and degenerative meniscus liaison are mainly found under the older population, whereas the other 3 conditions mentioned above are mainly found under more healthy and active younger populations.
For the purpose of this post we are focusing on the 3 conditions we mainly find under the younger and more active population as they can be tricky to pinpoint. There are tests for most of these conditions, but tests don’t always tell you the whole story. What works best is a clinical presentation of the conditions.
Where does the knee hurt?
Lets look at a few illustrations of the knee, these are all pictures of my right knee. The blue line illustrations indicate the structures of the knee. These are the lines where the main movement around the knee occur so gliding and rubbing takes place here.
Pain Inside the knee
These areas typically presents meniscal issues, knee arthritis, ligament tears like MCL issues. Team sports where there is a sudden change of direction, quick sprints and sudden stops. Pain will normally be felt on the area represented with the 2 blue lines on either side of the knee cap here.
In front of the knee / on the knee cap
Patella femoral Syndrome. This pain can be around the knee cap. It’s a funny aching feeling that can occur randomly. Typically associated with repetitive movements. Not just running and cycling but also group classes and CrossFit if you do not pay attention to the way you lunge , squat and do step ups. This pain gradually builds up over time, and is typical when people think it’s not a big deal and push through the pain until it gets really sensitive.
Outside the knee
This is the area on the outside of the knee, marked with red. If you walked past a low lying coffee table and catch your knee on the side it would be this area. We typically associate this are with ITB issues, lateral ligament issues. These are localized sharp pains and we find them typically under the active adult populations in sports where there is a repetitive actions like running and cycling.
Pain Below the knee cap
This is usually associated with Patella Tendinopathy / Infra Patellar Tendonitis. Easy way to refer to this is Jumpers knee.
You’ll notice a bump bellow your knee cap, indicated here in a small blue circle below the knee. In cases where there is a lot of inflammation and the tissue is irritated this bump can even swell. The quad tendon attaches here, areas marked in green. Issues like jumper’s knee because of repetitive reps and impact sports usually originate here. Even skinny people have fat, we all have a fat pad in this region and that can become irritated as well. This is associated with a sudden sharp pain and found under active and healthy adults.
Here is a very handy table that summarizes the location of the pain, what the pain feels like and how the condition typically occurs.
For the next blog series I’ll be taking an in depth look at how the most common back issues. Well take a close look at spinal movements , typical exercises that lead to back pain and how we can identify typical weaknesses in our own movements that lead to back pain.
I’m also hosting a Lower Back Fix workshop for registered trainers and coaches that typically deal with clients who struggle with back pain. check it out here