Knee Training - Part II: Strength
We’ve covered foam rolling and stretching, now for the real work, let’s look at strength training to reduce knee pain.
Muscles obviously are best known for creating movement, but they are responsible for slowing down movement too and they are also fantastic shock absorbers.
Perhaps why then muscle weakness may have a role in osteoarthritis, a thought backed up by a 2012 study found that patients with knee Osteoarthritis, had muscle impairment with their quads, hamstrings or glutes, it’s not clear if this was the cause or a symptom, but interesting none the less.
It it thought that a weak Glute Medius can cause knee pain, this is because the role of the Glute Med is to abduct the hip (taking your leg out to the side), therefore in running it balances with your adductors to keep you leg in neutral, when it is weak, your hips can internally rotate and unevenly load your knee.
Healthy, functioning knees assist your tendons, shouldering some of the stability roles, if your hamstrings are not healthy, or if your favouring one side over the other, the ligaments have to pick up more of the stress which could then lead to injury. You’ll also risk your quads picking up the slack from your hamstrings which can then further overload some of the structures in your knee.
Interestingly women seem to be more vulnerable to knee pain if their quads are not strong enough, more than men. We don’t know why.
Your Patella (or kneecap) is in your quads, they wrap around it and attach just below onto your tibia and we have four of them (as the name suggests) so if your quads working well, they will provide support and cushioning.
Gastrocs and Soleus (Calves)
How are your heel lifts? Are you bending your knee in order to get your heel off the ground? If so, you may be overusing your knees because your calves are not up to scratch. If your calves are not functioning you could be overusing your knees to get the movement you need to lift your heel.
There's a lot that we can work on to build strength for your knees. We are more than happy to give you some homework to help build this strength. Talk to myself or Coby when you next come in.