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  • Bad knees?

    Hey all. Been lurking here for a few years but don't post much. However, since I have finally started to incorporate the PBF into my routine, I have an issue (well, other than sucking at exercise! HA).

    When trying to squat, I can't go below approx 45* or so due to knee pain. It feels like there are hot ice picks digging underneath my kneecaps when trying to come back to upright. I am sure it is from a combination of many years in the Army with heavy rucksacks, combined with years of way too much running (sometimes in combat boots) followed by the past 15 years of being WAY too heavy.

    All that to ask if there is anything I can do to mitigate the pain? Think it'll get better if I just keep at it and go slow? Or should I hold off the squats until I lose some more weight?

    If it helps, I am 47 yo male, 6' and 263 lbs (down from 300) and have been "semi-primal" for a couple years but was drinking heavily during that time and have only stopped the booze and gotten serious about it since January this year.

    Thanks for reading and any suggestions you care to throw out.

    Tom
    Last edited by Navajo; 03-06-2013, 07:20 PM.

  • #2
    mobilitywod.com

    Gonna take a lot of work to undo a lot of years of bad positioning. But you can get there.
    Rebooted Body -- Ancestral Health + Modern Psychology | The Rebooted Body Podcast

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    • #3
      I agree that working on mobility is key! Don't overlook hip and ankle mobility, even when the symptoms present in the knees.
      Also try to vary your stance.
      Last summer I had a period where I "couldn't" squat because of knee pain. When I tried again, the pain was still there, but I then experimented with the stance and found that for me a narrower stance made it so it didn't hurt.
      Most likely I could have found that out immediatly, instead of waiting weeks.

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      • #4
        Hi Tom,

        I can so relate to what your saying about the Ice picks in your knees. I have witnessed exactly the same thing.

        Knee pain was probably one of the biggest influences on me to make a stand to lose weight. I never really felt over weight but even at 200lb at 5' 9" my knees were starting to give me problems, especially walking down stairs etc.

        I can't say i'm the same as you, I havn't lead a lifestyle to over stress my knees at all.

        The good news is losing weight has near on removed the pain in my knees. They arn't perfect. If I try pistol squats I get very sharp pain, but normal air squats are fine..and have continued to get better with with my weight loss and increased muscle tone in my legs. I can do weighted squats too.

        The key is keeping good form and building this up at a steady pace. My legs 5 months on have never been as strong. You can fix this

        Good luck

        All things being the same I would say take it steady and just do what you can with the range of motion you can do without too much pain. The more weight you can shed the better it gets.
        Caution! My replies may contain traces of nuts!. My posts are just my opinion based on my experience with the primal way of life, there is no assurance it will work with others in the same way.

        Started Primal 15th October 2012
        Height 5'9"
        Start weight 200lb
        Loss so far 33.8lbs, now 166.2lb
        Goal was 168lb's

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        • #5
          Thanks for the ideas and support.

          TRB - I definitely need to work on my mobility. Between the spare tire (tractor-trailer size!) and stiffness, I am very non-flexible. It's amazing how far you can let yourself go without intending too. Self-deception/denial is very strong I guess. HA!


          Ghashul - As far as stance, I will try differing width and feet position (right?) and see if I can find a more comfortable spot. Needless to say, I am starting on the wall assisted squats.

          Richard - YES! Stairs are the bane of my existence! Especially when I have to carry firewood down the basement stairs. I go from angry to whimpering pretty quickly. LOL Good to know that you are working through this and it is getting better. Gives me hope.

          So, lose more weight, check. Check out mobilitywod.com, will do. Keep at it slowly and try to get deeper with time, got it!

          Thank you again for the suggestions and support!

          Tom

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          • #6
            Like the others said, mobility is definitely very important. I know this sucks to hear, but if it causes you pain, don't do it.

            Allow your body to progress and become more mobile (someone already suggested mobilityWOD) and ease your way back into squats. You're not doing yourself any good if you continue to squat and push through the knee issues.
            My nutrition/fitness/critical thinking blog:

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            • #7
              When I started working with my trainer about 7 months ago I was in a similar position (having wrecked my knees half marathon training). I was lucky if I could do 45 degrees.

              We started out with box squats (with a very high box) and step ups (with a very low step) - bodyweight only. Only when I could complete a level without pain did we move on to lower box and higher step....and then eventually using some weight.

              Seven months on I have absolutely no knee pain, can do full range squats with weight...back squat currently only at 50kg but quickly improving.

              The important thing is a slow progression - don't progress until you feel no pain. And don't forget mobility.

              I would never have been able to do this without the knowledge and help of my trainer though - so don't be afraid to get professional help if you need to

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              • #8
                Jake, you know, that's the same thing my Dad has always said. "If it hurts, then don't do it" HA!

                Spuggygirl, I have been told for years that I need professional help but I don't think they were talking about physical help. HA!

                Thanks for chiming in. It is so good to hear that others have overcome this exact same thing. I was worried that once you were this far down, you would be stuck with knee pain the rest of your life. I did notice that if I use my (somewhat) tall bed to do the squats (basically just sitting then standing up) it hurts less than doing the wall squats. Think I'll stick with that for a while and work on losing more weight and flexability.

                Thanks for the encouragement!

                Tom

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by spuggygirl View Post
                  When I started working with my trainer about 7 months ago I was in a similar position (having wrecked my knees half marathon training). I was lucky if I could do 45 degrees.

                  We started out with box squats (with a very high box) and step ups (with a very low step) - bodyweight only. Only when I could complete a level without pain did we move on to lower box and higher step....and then eventually using some weight.

                  Seven months on I have absolutely no knee pain, can do full range squats with weight...back squat currently only at 50kg but quickly improving.

                  The important thing is a slow progression - don't progress until you feel no pain. And don't forget mobility.

                  I would never have been able to do this without the knowledge and help of my trainer though - so don't be afraid to get professional help if you need to
                  These are some of the exercises I had to do to rehab from knee scope. Still, after a year, I too couldn't go past 45 degrees. found some exercises called "Squat Rx" on youtube". 18 months later I can hunker. And yes, take your time getting there.
                  Last edited by Rich Capalbo; 03-07-2013, 07:41 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Sounds like chondromalatia of the patella. I had it as a kid. I don't appear to have it now, and I squat heavy (and below parallel). Hope you can find a way to get there too!
                    The Champagne of Beards

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rich Capalbo View Post
                      These are some of the exercises I had to do to rehab from knee scope. Still, after a year, I too couldn't go past 45 degrees. found some exercises called "Squat Rx" on youtube". 18 months later I can hunker. And yes, take your time getting there.
                      Will look for those on youtube today as we are snowed in up here in the mountains and I don't feel like digging out the truck (got it stuck this morning and walked home. HA!) Thanks!

                      Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                      Sounds like chondromalatia of the patella. I had it as a kid. I don't appear to have it now, and I squat heavy (and below parallel). Hope you can find a way to get there too!
                      DANG! Throwing those big words around kind of early! HA! Off to Google!

                      Thanks!

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                      • #12
                        I had always thought that having knee pain while doing squats meant your posture is wrong. That's a sort of check for me - if I feel pain in my knee, then I'm probably not pushing my butt out far enough for stability. You shouldn't really be using the knees much at all to do a squat properly, right? The motion to get into squat position leads from the hips, doesn't it?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Zanna View Post
                          I had always thought that having knee pain while doing squats meant your posture is wrong. That's a sort of check for me - if I feel pain in my knee, then I'm probably not pushing my butt out far enough for stability. You shouldn't really be using the knees much at all to do a squat properly, right? The motion to get into squat position leads from the hips, doesn't it?

                          I would agree with all of this, but if your knees have problems, good form or not..it hurts
                          Caution! My replies may contain traces of nuts!. My posts are just my opinion based on my experience with the primal way of life, there is no assurance it will work with others in the same way.

                          Started Primal 15th October 2012
                          Height 5'9"
                          Start weight 200lb
                          Loss so far 33.8lbs, now 166.2lb
                          Goal was 168lb's

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Zanna View Post
                            I had always thought that having knee pain while doing squats meant your posture is wrong. That's a sort of check for me - if I feel pain in my knee, then I'm probably not pushing my butt out far enough for stability. You shouldn't really be using the knees much at all to do a squat properly, right? The motion to get into squat position leads from the hips, doesn't it?
                            Basically, but it depends largely on your squatting style and anthropometry. And the knees are involved regardless, it's just a matter of to what extent. Here's a great analysis of the low-bar back squat, the style I prefer (for reasons outlined therein): Starting Strength
                            The Champagne of Beards

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Zanna View Post
                              I had always thought that having knee pain while doing squats meant your posture is wrong. That's a sort of check for me - if I feel pain in my knee, then I'm probably not pushing my butt out far enough for stability. You shouldn't really be using the knees much at all to do a squat properly, right? The motion to get into squat position leads from the hips, doesn't it?
                              I'm sure you are right in most cases. But some of us (me) avoided squats for years because of CW advice (from the 60's and 70's -- along with a lot of other bad advice I'm trying to undo) and my main pain, after the surgery was healed, came from very tight patellar tendons. Still a work in progress.

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