#1 – Too Much Toes
When you put too much weight on your toes, it activates the muscles around the knee, especially the quads. That pulls the knee cap and pushes that knee cap up against the knee joints. So if you are wearing heels or if you are the type of person who is more of a toe walker, that puts a lot of stress on the knees. It might seem like a small detail, but over time doing a lot of toes walking will lead to knee pain. So try walking in mid-foot or more on light heels walking.
#2 – Flexibility
If you are unable to do squats from standing position, you can lie down and go through the motion on your back to get the same stretch. Often we find many people don’t want to go through squatting movements and when they squat they only go from standing position to 45 degrees, similar to just sitting on a chair and back up. Most people don’t go for that deep squat, wherein they sit all the way down and the hips are passing the knee.
One reason is, they could have limited flexibility or find it very painful to do the full squatting movement. There is no reason why you couldn’t do the unload position. Unload position is to lie on your back on the floor and bringing either just one knee or both knees toward your shoulder. Get the knee to go through a full range of motion because if you do not use that range of motion, you will lose it. We need to maintain that range of motion to maintain the flexibility of the knees.
#3 – Being A Stork
Most people would do this especially if they are waiting in line or talking to someone. They stand on one leg, putting all of the weight on one foot. The leg is straight, the knee locked out, and they put all of their weight on the hip and knee. This puts a lot of stress on the knee and hips joints. Ideally, you should stand balanced with your weight evenly distributed on both legs.
#4 – Back Bending
Some people stand in a way that they push the knees back, so the knees are overlocked and they appeared to be bowed. This hyper-extension of the knee capsule puts a lot of stress on the knee joint. The knees should be soft and the weight should be evenly distributed on both feet. You will know that you have a good and correct standing posture when you feel your quads and hamstrings active.
#5 – Too Much Focus On Your Knees
If you work out or exercise, a lot of focus is on the squats. And squats are a full range of motion. So if you are doing a 45-degree or even a little over 90-degree in angle, the quads are overworked. So what you want to focus on is to for the hips to pass the knees. And when the hips bend below the knees, we activate the glute. If you have good strong glutes, that will help when it comes to knee pain, back, and hip pain.
Lunges, on the other hand, a lot of time also focuses too much on the knees. Deadlift movements work great because we are improving the motor pattern of separating the upper body from the lower body and it focuses on engaging the glutes and hamstrings.
“When you squat, is it okay to angle your toes out or should they be straight ahead?” – Jody
This probably results from the late ’80s or early ’90s where the focus was having your feet right under your hips, your toes pointed straight ahead and going through that squatting movement. And that’s not a natural squatting movement. It puts a lot of stress on the knees. What we recommend is a wider stance because your hips need to go somewhere as you squat. If you have that narrow stance, you are being blocked by your hips and pelvis can’t rotate. A lot of times when it comes to knee issues, some people are either putting too much weight on the balls on their foot or they are not putting enough weight on their midfoot or heel. As long as you get that hip past the knee then you are activating the glutes and making it easier for you to come out from the bottom position. We recommend going for the wider stance, toed out, and it should feel natural.
How do you strengthen the knees?
It really depends where you’re starting at. Sometimes people will have difficulty doing the traditional squats, lunge, or the single-leg squat in standing because their body weight is too much for them. They need something a little bit easier and manageable for their knees.
What we recommend is you can start by lying on your back on the floor maintaining good alignment with your head, shoulder, hips, and legs. Wrap a resistant tubing around one foot, hold the handles in each hand, and bring the handles by chest level. Bend the knee in a 45-degree angle position. Return to the starting position and repeat the movement on the opposite leg.
Begin in an upright standing position, with your legs slightly more than hip-width apart, maintaining good alignment with your head, shoulders, and hips. Slightly bend your knees and pivot through your hips to bend your upper body forward, ideally to be parallel to the floor. Rise back up and repeat the movement.
“I am over 70 years old with knee pain. Am I going to make it worse?” – Barbara Stephens
By working on activating the muscles, working on the endurance of those muscles around the knees, and working on the strength around the muscles on your knees; those will help when it comes to decreasing the stress on your joints. It doesn’t necessarily just apply to the knee joint. It would also apply to all of your joints in your body. The most prevalent one which we find in ladies is that the knees bother them the most. So working on the activation, endurance, and strength of the muscles of your knee will decrease the stress on your knees. Two other things that will help are first, hydration. Dehydration negatively impacts joint lubrication, particularly knee and hip joints. So look to see that you are properly hydrated by drinking 3 liters of water.