Knee pain is one of the most common complaints as we get older. Of course at this point we’ve had a lifetime of running, jumping, playing sports and walking long distances though… so it’s to be expected right?
Your knees were in fact designed to last you your lifetime and have built-in regenerative abilities that helps them to heal and recover. If you have knee pain then and you’re not dead yet, it’s because you haven’t been using them correctly.
But here’s the good news – they will still have that regenerative ability and you can still fix them at least to some degree. All you need is the right exercises. Better yet? This same approach can be applied to any other joint pain you might be experiencing.
Stretches for the Legs
If you have tight quads, this can cause knee pain by pulling on the kneecap. If your joint is wearing away and you lack cartilage and lubrication on the joint, then stretching the quads will essentially give the joint ‘slack’ which can reduce the tension and the grinding.
Likewise, you should also focus on stretching your other leg muscles from the hamstrings to the calves. If you can’t do a full squat without it hurting, then you need more mobility in your legs and lower back.
Check the video for more leg exercises:
Many of us run with incorrect form and this can create extra pain on the knees. One contributor to this is week hips which contribute to what is known as ‘runners’ knee‘.
When you run you need to keep your legs in a straight line so that the impact is absorbed by all the joints like a spring. If you have week hips however, your legs can ‘flail’ out to the side which then is like a spring slightly on its side. This means the pressure is reaching the kneecap at the wrong angle and in turn that can lead to deterioration and pain.
Stay away from hip abductor and adductor machines however. These are generally ineffective and much more effective is to use compound movements like squats and deadlifts.
Strengthen the Feet
Believe it or not, you can also reduce knee pain by focusing on your feet. If you currently run in such a way that you land with your heel first and then ‘roll’ forward onto your toes, then you likely learned this from years of running in shoes with big heels.
Naturally, we are meant to run on the balls of our feet as this again allows the feet to act more like springs and to absorb impact. Running in bare feet encourages this and it also leads to the development of the muscles in the feet and the dexterity of the toes.
Not only does this lead to more efficient running but it also reduces the likelihood of a twisted ankle or the ankle tipping. This way you can also avoid an accident that could lead to long term knee pain.
Try occasionally running in bare feet, or even doing ‘toe yoga’ and see if that helps with your joint pain.
Also check these 2 videos with stretches for healthy knees and joints: