Squats can be regularly performed with or without the help of weights and are a great form of exercise. However, you need to use caution while performing squats as they can cause knee pain if performed incorrectly. For that reason, squats have gotten a bad name in recent times. However, they are not a bad form of exercise and you need to learn to perform them in a proper manner to minimize and even eliminate knee pain after doing squats.
Why Do I Have Knee Pain After Squats?
Squats are a great form of exercise to strengthen your hips and your knees, but a lot of people complain of knee pain after they have done their squats. Read on to find out the various possibilities that cause knee pain:
1. Improper Posture
It is very important to maintain a correct posture in your daily workout routine. A poor posture can cause pain in your back, hips and even your knees. When you have a poor posture, your knees fall out of alignment, leading to knee pain. If you make your knees and ankles sway inwards or let your feet face outwards during your movements, it can damage your knees. Bodybuilders are very likely to suffer from knee pain due to improper postures during squatting.
Arthritis (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or post traumatic arthritis) can cause a lot of pain during squats or other exercises.
- Osteoarthritis is commonly seen amongst middle-aged or older people.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is relatively uncommon with 1 out of every 50 people having this condition. It is not a hereditary condition; however if you have inherited some genes from your parents, you are more likely to develop it.
- Post traumatic arthritis is mainly caused by a ligament tear or fractures and is commonly noticed in athletes. It can develop many years after the initial injury and presents itself like osteoarthritis.
Sometimes injuries can cause severe knee pain during and after squatting. Some injuries are not noticeable unless you move your legs in certain ways or perform exercises like a full squat. You need to follow a proper warm up routine before exercising and be aware of the possible injuries that you may have. If you notice any knee pain after squats, stop your routine exercise immediately. Rest your knees for a couple of days and perform the RICE technique, which means rest, ice, compression and elevation. If the pain persists, consult your doctor for treatment.
4. Wrong Methods in Doing Squats
You may also experience knee pain after squats if you are doing it in the wrong way.
- Applying too much weight on your toes tends to pull your body forward, causing pain.
- An inability to distribute your body weight properly can lead to further mistakes.
- Avoid moving your hips and knees forward while squatting.
- Tight hamstrings and poor movement mechanics on your part is the major reason for your discomfort.
- Weak core, glutes and hamstrings cause your lower back and quadriceps to overwork while squatting, which leads to pain.
- Furthermore, your abs and hips need to be strengthened to prevent your trunk from collapsing forward before you squat.
How to Fix Your Knee Pain After Squats
A good squat workout should act on your quads, glutes and butt, but not your knees. If you are experiencing knee pain, read on to find out ways to fix the problem:
1. A Good Stretch Works Wonders
After you throw yourself in your gym clothes, you need to stretch your muscles and ligaments before you start your workout. A good stretch increases your body temperature and allows the muscles to get ready for the exercise.
2. Consult Your Doctor
Severe knee pain could indicate the beginnings of osteoarthritis. It is commonly see in athletes and can be a result of a sports injury. If your pain really worries you or interferes with your daily life, do visit a doctor to make sure everything is fine because sometimes you may need a surgery to heal your knee pain.
3. Shed the Extra Pounds
Your knee pain after squats can be directly proportional to the amount of weight that you are carrying. Start with a well-balanced and nutritious diet plan to shed the extra pounds and you will start enjoying your squat workout without experiencing any pain.
4. Have a Proper Rest
Your knee pain after squats could indicate that your limbs are tired and need some rest! Adequate rest between your squats can help keep your pain at bay, helping you enjoy a better and pain free workout session for years to come!
How to Do Squats Properly to Prevent Knee Pain
Squats, when done properly, can act as an essential addition to your exercise routine. If you are a beginner, use the following steps to learn how to do squats properly:
Before you start, place a chair behind you at a distance of 10-12 inches. Stand with your feet spread out shoulder-width apart and toes outwards at an angle of 45°. Raise your hands above your shoulders and place them on the wall at an equal distance from your head. Face the wall, with your nose and eyes looking upwards. You should have your chin, chest and toes touching the wall.
Look up and arch your back, with your chest out. Lift your toes and place your body weight on your heels. Avoid squatting with your weight on your toes as it leads to undue pressure on your knees. Always have your spine in proper alignment with your chest pushed forward and hips back.
Keeping your chest parallel to the wall and hips pushed backwards; begin lowering your body slowly, a few inches at one time. While you lower your body, tighten your abs and put your weight on your heels.
Stop lowering when you touch the chair that is placed behind you. Make use of your glutes to raise yourself upwards. Keep your knees pushed outwards while you raise yourself. If the knees push inwards, it is a sign of weak abductors.
Note: Pay attention to your breath. Breathe in when you squat to a lower position and exhale when you come back to the top.