“Bad Knees”

October 4th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I spoke with a woman this morning who said she couldn’t work out because she “has bad knees.”  This is not the first time I’ve heard this type of sentiment.  (My favorite was when a lady told me her doctor told her to not bend her knees.  I was amazed she could walk to me to say that, much less take care of almost every other movement in her life!)

First of all, if you have seen a doctor for your knees and have had surgery or your doctor has advised you to stop exercising, then you can be excused from reading further.  (Unless you think perhaps you should seek out a second opinion already because what kind of doctor would tell you to stop exercising my word.)

Second of all, you need your knees for almost every movement you make from the waist down.  Every time you stand up, every time you sit down, every time you take a step, every time you reach for that dollar you just dropped.  Every movement.

So it isn’t like you can just remove your knees from the equation.

Thirdly, knees are just like everything else: use it or lose it.

Fourthly: (is “fourthly” a real word?!) your knees were DESIGNED to support your weight and all the impact that entails.

Take a look at the structure of your knee joint as opposed to the structure of your shoulder (side view of the shoulder blade).

One looks like it was built to take a beating, the other looks almost bird-like.


It goes a long way toward explaining why we don’t walk on our hands.

So what to do if your knees cause you pain?

  1. Make sure you exercise with proper form.  That means you keep your knees in mind throughout your lower body workouts.  Keep your calves stretched to increase flexion at your ankles so you can keep your heels pressing down as you squat.
  2. Exercise your weak spots.  A lot of back pain and I would argue knee pain as well can be attributed to weak glute muscles, believe it or not.  If you have one part of your body that is too weak to function optimally you are placing excess load and strain on the other portions of your body.  So, keep working on your weaker muscles to bring them up to snuff.  You can find a load of floor exercises like the bridge at the ACE Fitness website under “exercise library”.
  3. Keep yourself balanced.  Working on your balance is a fantastic way to keep your smaller muscles and tendons working to benefit you at all times.  We can all use some of that!

Don’t let laziness or fear get in your way.  Be smart about how you take care of your body and it will in turn be better able to take care of YOU!!

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