How to fix knee-pain using the resting squat (5 Risk Factors)
Today were looking at the top 5 risk factors involving the knee and using the resting squat as a tool to help improve or even eliminate your knee pain so stick around!
Whether you play sports, or just with your kids in the park, on this channel I show you how to regain your health through movement, rehabilitation and fitness, helping you lead a better and pain-free life.
Who am I?
As a Biokineticist, I evaluate, assess, prescribe and treat almost all major conditions including sports injuries, orthopaedic conditions, chronic diseases and neurological disorders through human movement modalities.
So the reason why I chose the squat as the number one important pattern we could relearn is the fact that I see people in my practice of all walks of life. Most of them, cannot even get into the resting squat position let alone try. It then becomes obvious that this is a place where most of our knee, hip and back problems could potentially start.
And its for this reason that im going to talk about the squat and how it relates to knee health.
So how did we lose our squat? Where did we learn it from anyway? Well we learned to squat since the day we were born… one thing that you should know about how we learn a squat. We learn it from the bottom up, and not the top down. Same goes for a push-up, its a bottom up process and not a top down. Why? Because nature favours mobility before strength.
It doesn’t stop us however from doing our squats in the gym… unfortunately, not the same thing.
Ok, so first the science. Why is a deep squat so good for us? Let’s look at our anatomy first.
So the knee is a modified hinge joint, and a synovial joint, which is composed of the patella-femoral articulation, consisting of the patella, or “kneecap”, and the patellar groove on the front of the femur through which it slides; and the medial and lateral tibial-femoral articulations linking the femur, or thigh bone, with the tibia, the main bone of the lower leg. The joint is bathed in synovial fluid which is contained inside the synovial membrane called the joint capsule.
Now why is this important? Because during our day, we don’t get enough fluid into those joints by just sitting or even walking. We never really bend our knees into full flexion to really get into the full membrane surface area.
During movement especially compression, the synovial fluid in the cartilage is squeezed out mechanically to maintain a layer of fluid on the cartilage surface (so-called weeping lubrication).
And it has 4 very important functions
- reduction of friction
- shock absorption
- nutrient and waste transportation — meaning the fluid supplies oxygen and nutrients and removes carbon dioxide and metabolic wastes from the chondrocytes in the surrounding cartilage
- molecular sieving – pressure within the joint forces hyaluronan in the fluid against the synovial membrane forming a barrier against cells migrating into, or fluid migrating out of, the joint space.
There is some evidence that it helps regulate synovial cell growth, and also helps remove microbes and the debris that results from normal wear and tear in the joint.
5 Risk factors for painful knees
1) Warm-up and Hydration
Not enough time and thought is spent on hydration and proper warm-ups especially to our knees and cartilage. If you’re a runner, especially that morning run, could set you up for knee degeneration later. Think about it, you slept for most part with your legs straight, uncompressed and dehydrated. They pretty much dried up by the time you’re out the door. Proper compression and fluid stimulation should be the goals of your warm-up.
2) Poor Mobility
Another reason for knee degeneration is due to poor mobility. This includes your quads hips and ankles. Another reason why you should rest your squat. This is the perfect and natural way to open up all those tight structures. And because this is task orientated, your nervous system adapts so much faster than just stretching.
There is one caveat, and that you would need to stretch your quads separately from the squat.
3) Previous injury or surgery
If you had a previous injury, you are still at a risk of developing degeneration in that knee. . So for most surgeries, there shouldn’t be any reason besides stiffness in the muscles that you cannot at least start working your way down to a full resting squat feet flat position. It is completely doable. The shear stress and tension in your major ligaments ACL/MCL is minimised as soon as you break past 90 degrees. It might take some time and effort, but can be done. I have had people with full knee replacements squatting down to the floor within weeks. Just follow my progression protocol
4) Faulty Biomechanics
As explained earlier, having stiffness and dysfunction in other areas of the body, could affect the stability of the knee. For eg. Imbalances in the hips or ankles stemming from poor posture sedentary lifestyle or previous injuries could result in poor knee alignment and stability issues. Resulting in compensatory behaviour and ultimately pain and degeneration. Something that I would also get into in detail in future videos.
5) Osteoarthritis and old age
Osteoarthritis is believed to be caused by mechanical stress on the joint and low grade inflammatory processes. All of the above risk factors could end you up here. Osteoarthritis is no longer just an elderly thing.
So what’s the Solution?
So back to the resting squat. For some it’s really going to be painful. But you have to trust the process. Your body in an organism that will adapt to whatever you do, or don’t do.
You really do need to get full flexion into your ankle, knees and hips. Your lower back gets some unloading too. Open your legs to get into your adductors too. When you squat, you will find your knees will move out past your small toe. Thats ok! Its your anatomy.
If you just starting off, use my progression. Starting with a low step to wall to holding to free squatting. Heels flat!
Keep doing this for at least 3-5 minutes per day and work up to 20 min per day. This is the basis of good movement bio-mechanics.
If you follow my other videos, you will see that everything starts off with the squat. (show 90/90)
Everything flows from the squat and its like the pre-requisite to not only good movement, but also joint health.
Do not load your squat yet!
Give this a try for a few weeks and let me know in the comments down below how it goes.
Let’s do a little squat challenge ok? Aim for 20 min per day and challenge your friends to join in.
Because its not just about moving, its about unlocking your full potential while looking after joint health.
If you looking for a program that focuses to the principles of science to get you moving the way you should, go to MVF.com and look up the Foundations course. Where I put the science back into training.
See you next time and keep moving.