How many of you have or had bad knees?…
If you had bad knees in the past but not anymore,there are some things you still NEED to be aware of. If you currently HAVE bad knees then today is your lucky day!
Do you want to know why?
Because today I am going to reveal to you the secret recipe for sorting your knees out yourselves!!!
I can see a few smiles already. But before I give you that recipe you need to choose what best describes you:
- I have a sitting job
- I am a cyclist
- I am a runner
- I am a gym freak (!!!)
- I gave birth in the last 5 years
What was your answer??? (Scroll down the page if necessary)
If your answer is “1” then here is something you need to know…
When you sit down to work..”Yes i know bad posture!”..Nope, not that. I will tell you something you don’t know. So, when you sit down to work regardless your posture there is one thing you definitely do and it’s the one and only thing you SHOULD definitely NOT do!
Yes crossing your legs!!!!
Do you know why you shouldn’t?
Because not only the top leg puts pressure on the bottom leg and the bottom knee, but also the hip of the crossed leg goes out of place. Try and cross your leg now. Some of you will immediately start feeling an ache in the hip of the crossed leg; some of you will feel that in the next few minutes but some of you might not feel an ache in the hip at all. You still ARE causing damage in the hip, regardless!!!
THIS IS WHY:
When you cross your legs, the top leg is facing inwards. At the same time the hip in that leg is slowly popping out of place because this is not its natural position.
The more times you make this same mistake, the more your hip will pop out of place. You will not see or feel that but it does happen, trust me. And it happens very very slowly over the weeks and months.
So what does the hip got to do with my knee?
Everything. Most of the muscles surrounding your hip, also run down towards your knee and finish at your knee. These are long muscles you see, so they wouldn’t just stay at the hip they would stretch all the way down to the knee.
So in order for your knee to do things right, your hip should be all good too!
Therefore, when your hip pops out – because you sit with your legs crossed – it then starts sitting out of its natural place. We are talking about little tiny difference to where it sould be. However, in your body the slightest of differences DO matter a lot!
The out-of-place hip will then push all the hip muscles away from their original position. As we said before, most of the hip muscles are also the muscles for the knee because that’s where they finish. Therefore, your knee will eventually start being out of place too. And this will change the way you walk without you realising anything. Nothing at all. The only thing you notice is pain, knee pain….
So, stop crossing your legs!!!
It’s simple and very effective…
If your answer was “2” then here is what you need to know before you go out for a ride…
Most people pick cycling because it’s better for their knees. That’s purely because there is no impact at all travelling to your knees as opposed to running or even walking. However, there is one thing you probably don’t know and it’s the most important of all!
The fact that there is no impact to your knees on the bike DOES NOT make cycling the safest activity of all. And that’s because impact is not the only thing that can cause injury or pain. There are other things that can cause problems not just in cycling but in anything you do. For example, your technique is an important element. Another example can be your own muscle tightness; tight muscles pull on joints and can cause problems whether you cycle, run or just walk.
So, there are a few more important things to consider in cycling other than the benefit of no-impact…
I will only mention the two most important ones and DO pay attention please as it’s very important to know these at all times. And no, I won’t say anything about the position of your saddle!
Only because it goes without saying that you should not ride without having your bike fully assessed including the position of your saddle. If this is the first time you are hearing about this, then please go and get your bike checked before you hit the roads. Wrong saddle positions will put your knee muscles into a lot more stress than normal. As you can imagine this would mean that your knee is in danger…
IIt is also needless to mention that your knees should not drop inwards when you ride. If they do, then your knee caps will be rubbing on the inside of the whole joint causing a lot of inflammation, local swelling and pain. You don’t usually see swelling so if you think there is none chances are there is some!
But here is the most important thing you need to know when you ride…..
Please DO NOT go out riding straight away after work!
Do you want to know why???
Because if you do have a sitting job – and you probably also selected answer 1 before – there is one more thing you need to be careful of , other than not crossing your legs (as we said). When you stay in the same sitting position as most of you do when in the office, you are purely sat right on your thights and in the middle of your bum too!
Have a guess why is this wrong?
Because you are pressing on the well-known SCIATIC NERVE. The sciatic nerve runs from your tail bone down to your heel. Although, you may experience no pain at the back of your leg, you have still been pressing on the sciatic nerve all day. This nerve is very important to your knee because it goes pass right at the back of it, before entering your calf area. It is responsible for the flexibility of your knee joint and the general well-being of the muscles around it.
So, sitting on this nerve all day will make your knee less flexible (than it probably already is!) and the muscles around it will become weak within the space of 8 hours of sitting down and not moving much.
Poor flexibility (of both the nerve and the knee) and weak muscles will put more stress on the knee itself and this is what will eventually cause knee pain.
If your answer was “3” then here is what you need to know before you go out for a run…
Your worst enemy will always be IMPACT itself.
Once you are in good terms with IMPACT then there is nothing to be afraid of.
But first let’s see what type of runner you probably are:
- Flat-footed and automatically lifting shoulders up
- Feet roll inwards (the famous “pronation” word in the running language!!!)
- Leaning forwards too much
- Very straight back and tip-toeing
I am sure you do have a rough idea which category you belong to…If not, get your running pal to check your running style out next time you hit the road.
Nevertheless, the way your feet hit the floor indicates the way your own body accepts the impact back from the ground and into your joints. If you hit the floor with your feet flat then the impact is much greater than usual. That’s because you put much more pressure onto the ground in addition to your own weight.
On the other hand, if your feet roll inwards then the inside of your knees will drop in too so as to accomodate the direction your feet want to go. In this case, there will be a lot of movement – more than usual- and a lot of “traffic” on the inside of your knees. Anything over the usual limits will cause swelling and pain. Most of the time you can not see any swelling but this doesn’t mean anything!!!
Moving onto the next running type, the leaning forwards one, then this is what goes wrong for your knees:
YOUR CENTRE OF MASS (weight) IS BEING PUSHED FORWARDS TOO MUCH. YOUR KNEES WILL THEN BECOME STIFFER IN ORDER TO STOP YOU LEANING FURTHER. THIS WILL PUT PRESSURE ON THE KNEE CAPS AND WILL EVENTUALLY MOVE THE JOINT OUT OF PLACE.
Not too much, but enough to cause knee pain and damage!
Last but not least, if you run with a very straight back this means your strides will be much wider every time you hit the ground.
So make sure you do not belong in any of those categories and then you will be in great terms with your worst enemy, IMPACT!
BUT, “What if my running technique is very good. Why am I still getting pain in my knee”???
That’s because you haven’t thought about the muscles in your calf, one of the bulkiest muscles in your body. Even if you think that it doesn’t look bulky, comparing to the rest of your body it certainly is. If you still disagree, I guarantee you it is the bulkiest inside regardless if you can see this or not…
The Calf muscle covers near enough the whole of the back of your lower leg. But one thing you probably never knew is that the calf muscle finishes at the back of your knees, well deep inside it and it is linked to knee cartilage weakness and back of the knee pain.
Most runners always complain about tight calf muscles. This is because the calf muscles work very hard to control your body and your leg joints when you run.
So the calf muscles are indeed bulky and they also do a lot of work during running, meaning they need to be stretched more than usual…
And let’s all agree that no one ever stretches their calf muscles more than they (hopefully) do with the rest of their body!
If your answer was “4” then this is what you need to know before you hit the gym next…
First please tell me which one of these describes you:
- I only go to gym classes
- I go to classes and I do weights too
- I only do weights
- I only do cardio
- I do cardio and I do weights too
- I do cardio – classes and weights
No matter which category you belong to, the only thing you always HAVE to remember is this:
Never do classes before weights…
It’s fine if it’s the other way round. That’s because your knee is slowly getting warmed-up, even during your main session and after your “warm-up”. It takes up to 15-20 minutes for your knee to be physically ready for anything harder or for something more explosive. So, slower movements are to come first, before the faster ones. Therefore, if you do your class after a weight session there are less chances to get injured as opposed to doing the class first.
If you just do general weights in the gym, I would strongly suggest that you first warm your knees-up on the exercise bike for good 5-8 minutes regardless what muscles you are about to work on that day…
Don’t forget…It takes up to 15-20 minutes for your knee to be physically ready for anything harder or more explosive…whether that’s a leg exercise or not, you still use your legs and your knees in almost everything!
If you only do classes, like most people do these days (Zumba, Les Mills etc) you need to make sure you stretch and warm-up before the structured warm-up. Turn up 5 minutes early and start stretching. Spend 20 seconds on each stretch for each leg. Don’t just flick your legs round like football in the 60’s!!!
If you don’t have time and you always turn up just in time for the class or if you are stuck in traffic and you just have to jump in, take it easy for 5 minutes before going class-crazy!!!
And then stay 5 minutes behind afterwards, instead of just walking off straight in the cold, straight in the car with no cooling down first. Because your knees will take some serious impact when you are jumping about in the class. Nothing wrong with that but make sure you stretch before and after or at least one or the other depending on your time. Stretching will make your knee muscles more supple. Meaning, both during and after your class your knees won’t stiffen-up as much as with no stretching at all. Supple muscles and less stiff knee mean more movement in the joint, even after a hard workout. The same applies if you train from home!
Make some time to stretch folks it’s VERY VERY important…
If your answer was “5” then this is what you need to know…
Here is why your body is so intelligent, allowing you to accomodate a baby in your womb for such a long time!
However, intelligence also means complications!!!……….???
During pregnancy the fluctuations of your estrogen levels and all the hormonal changes in your body make your ligaments in your knees very lax, meaning loose. Yes indeed, your ligaments are linked to your hormones!
That’s why your back hurts when you are due on your monthly cycle. And that’s why whenever you have headaches or any injuries, it’s usually close by or in the cycle time. Think about it…
So, back to the example…
During pregnancy your hormonal changes affect your knee ligaments by making them more loose…
And also, during pregnancy as you can see on the diagram, your spine is being pushed backwards. This means your hips go further down. Feel your hip bones as we speak and feel how much lower they are comparing to the back of your hips; basically the front of your hips are tipped down towards your knee. Think of it like the glass of water which you start tipping down to the sink…Do that movement now for me..Hold it tipped down, that’s your waist- your pelvis. The top of the glass is the front of your hips and the bottom of the glass is the back of your hips. And this position you are holding the glass at now, this is the position of your pelvis both after giving birth and for a long time thereafter. Unless you do something about it.
“So what’s the issue with this then?”
When your hips and your hip bones move down towards your knees, this means you will be standing and walking with your knees more locked out than usual. As a result, your knee cap is being pushed further in towards your actual knee joint and is now pinching the entire joint!
If you go pass the first 5 years post labour and with no major knee problems, then you might get away with it. However, this DOES NOT mean your knees are not still locked out because they WILL be and it certainly DOES NOT mean that your ligaments are not still as loose as they used to be because they STILL are. Remember the estrogen – ligaments relationship…
And your spine will still be pushed backwards and arched out. That’s because you didn’t know -back then -that you had to fix this straight after you gave birth. So your hips are now tipped downwards…
Therefore, regardless when you actually gave birth, this is the situation in your spine, in your hips and inside your knees right now, and it can flare up any time…
I would strongly suggest to consult your doctor if your cycles are irregular as this can still be affecting your ligaments in your knees. They will probably still be loose. Loose enough to cause wabbling in your knees and into your knee caps, meaning poor movement patterns when you walk or exercise. This itself results in pain!
In regards to your pushed backwards spine, make sure you do at least 1 back stretch a week up to 3 times a week.
In regards to your tipped down hips, stop doing too much training on them. If you do squats one day, the next day make sure you have a stretch and don’t do any more until the day after. If you are on the desk most of your day, the front of your hips will end-up being more tipped down by the end of the day. That’s because the sitting position is not natural for the human body and is also pressing on the front of your hips. So stop sitting down without having regular breaks!!!
And this is why your knee hurts!!!!
Hope you enjoyed it folks? For more information on injuries or pain management please contact me (CHRISTOS) on: