Why Does My Knee Hurt When I Squat? Addressing Knee Pain

Written by James C., M.S.(C), PT

| Published on

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Squatting is an essential functional movement and a staple in many workout routines.

But what do you do when this simple act results in knee pain? Understanding why your knee hurts when you squat can help you address the issue and get back to your regular activities.

Identifying the Pain

why does my knee hurt when squatting

Before diving into possible causes and solutions, it’s important to accurately identify where you’re experiencing pain.

Some people feel pain on the outside of their knee, while others experience inside knee pain when squatting.

Additionally, the pain could become more noticeable when standing up or climbing stairs, indicating different underlying causes.

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Causes of Knee Pain When Squatting

Incorrect Form

One of the most common reasons for knee pain when squatting is incorrect form.

This can cause undue stress on the knee joint, particularly when you’re squatting without weights.

The pain might be worse when standing up if you’re putting too much weight on your toes instead of your heels.

Overuse and Strain

Repetitive strain or overuse, often seen in people who frequently perform squats, can lead to knee pain.

It’s crucial to listen to your body’s signals and rest when needed.

Pre-existing Conditions

Certain conditions like arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, and meniscus tears can lead to knee pain when squatting and climbing stairs.

How to Address Knee Pain from Squats

stretch for knee pain when squatting

Dealing with knee pain can be frustrating, especially when it limits your ability to perform squats or other everyday activities.

However, there are several methods you can employ to address this discomfort.

Implementing Stretches

Stretching plays a critical role in easing knee pain, particularly pain that arises from squatting.

Regular stretching can improve your flexibility and range of motion, helping to alleviate muscle tension and reduce the load on your knees.

Here are a few stretches for knee pain from squats that you might find beneficial:

1. Quadriceps Stretch: Stand upright, grab your foot, and pull it towards your buttocks, keeping your knees together and your back straight.

2. Hamstring Stretch: Sit on the ground with one leg extended in front of you and the other bent. Lean forward from the hips (not the waist) and reach for the toes of your extended leg.

3. Calf Stretch: Stand facing a wall and place your hands on the wall at chest height. Step one foot back, keeping it flat on the floor, and bend your front knee towards the wall.

Strength Training

Apart from stretches, incorporating strength training exercises into your routine can also help to address knee pain.

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Strengthening the muscles around your knee, such as your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, can provide greater stability and support to the knee joint.

Use of Supportive Gear

Using supportive gear like knee braces or sleeves can provide some immediate relief by offering extra support and reducing strain on your knees.

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However, these should not be considered a long-term solution and are most beneficial when used in combination with other methods like stretching and strengthening exercises.

Consult a Physical Therapist or Doctor

If you continue experiencing persistent knee pain when squatting, it may be time to consult a healthcare professional.

A physical therapist can help you identify any underlying issues with your form or technique and provide tailored exercises and treatments to aid recovery.

In some cases, you might need to see a doctor, who could recommend treatments such as medication, injections, or even surgery, depending on the severity and cause of your knee pain. They might also refer you to other professionals such as orthopedic surgeons or rheumatologists, if necessary.

Conclusion

While knee pain when squatting can be an obstacle, it’s certainly not an insurmountable one.

By implementing a well-rounded approach that includes stretches, strength training, and professional advice, you can work towards alleviating knee discomfort and reclaiming your mobility.

It’s crucial to remember that addressing knee pain is not a quick fix but a journey. Be patient with your body and consistent with your efforts, and you’re likely to see improvements over time.

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