Many players suffer from painful knees. The majority of knee pains can be sorted out by looking to restore function to the joints and musculature around the knee joint itself.
Causes of pain
knee pain has a few possible causes. One stems from the knee cap being pulled laterally (to the outside of the knee) during bending which creates pain under the knee cap. A second cause is when restrictions in other joints of the body (usually the ankle or sacrum) force the knee to take be unable to track in its designed path and/or rotate during knee bend. This creates twisting under pressure which can create pain in various areas of the knee. Inflammation around the knee can also cause pain by creating a similar effect. This creates the catch 22 situation of knee pain causing inflammation which causes more knee pain.
The most effective way to rehabilitate knee pain is to look to restore ideal function across the entire body. This can include:
- Restoring big toe functionality and flexibility - The toe flexor muscle becomes short and weak and therefore destabilizes the knee (and the rest of the kinetic chain). Gentley stretch the big toe backwards.
- Decompressing the ankle joints - When the joint is compressed (slightly misaligned) the knee is often unable to track in the desired direction resulting in pain. Stretch the ankle to the left/right/backwards over forwards(calf stretch).
- Reducing the tension of the lateral thigh - Through using massage or a foam roller you can reduce the pull of the muscles on the knee and reduce lateral movement of the knee cap during bending. This will reduce knee pain. To do this use a foam roller.
- Activation of the inside tear drop thigh muscle (VMO) - This muscle often sleeps and therefore provides no counter pull against the lateral thigh musculature. Wake it up to help support the knee cap. Gently tap the muscle before actvating while pulling the foot into the ground.
- Strengthening of the inside tear drop thigh muscle (VMO) - Once this muscle is awake it may still be weak. The higher the strength levels the more stable the patella tracking. Ensure you feel the burn in the VMO and not out thigh. reduce weight used if neccessary.
- Sacral decompression - A Locked sacrum will causes inefficient hip movement and therefore undue stress on the knees. It is also linked to locked ankles which creates the same problem.
- Glute activation (buttock) - These muscles often becoming sleeping muscles and therefore unable to take the load away form the knees during movement resulting in pain.
- Glute strengthening - Once awake these muscles are often weak. Through strengthening them you will reduce the load on the knees yet further.
- Upper body alignment issues - The nature of the Kinetic chain and the fascia means upper body misalignments can result in pain further down the body including the knee.