Top 10 Most Popular Articles of 2014 – Part 1

As the year draws to a close, it’s a time of reflection, both seeing how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. Hopefully in 2014 you’ve found some progress with your knee problems – whether it was progress over a matter of weeks, or months, we hope you’re feeling better than you did before. At the very least, more hopeful! With an average of one article posted every week throughout the year, we also understand there’s more content on this site than most casual readers will have digested – so it’s a time to look back and see what, of our most popular articles, you may have missed! So let’s start a countdown of the Top 10 articles (as decided by how many views they’ve had!) published in 2014 – broken into two posts to give you time to catch up on reading all these.  Continue reading

Clicking knees and related pain in patellofemoral syndrome

knee clickingHaving recently been asked about clicking during squats, and how it relates to knee pain and the overall effects of patellofemoral syndrome, it seems like an apt time to revisit this topic. Clicking knees, with or without pain, can be very disconcerting, and it’s not something that’s always commonly understood. It is not uncommon to experience clicking even if you do not have knee pain. This can happen when there is a short section of the knee’s range of motion with poor tracking but the rest of the range is otherwise fine, so that the patella is not uniformly tight and painful throughout. The cracking is the sound of the air in the joint popping as the patella quickly moves into a new position. So why does this happen, and what can be done about it? Continue reading

Is barefoot running good for you?

is barefoot running good for youBarefoot running, either literally running barefoot or using shoes with minimal cushioning, is very popular, but highly contested. Almost everyone seems to have an opinion about it, and it raises a frequent question from our readers, “Is barefoot running good for you?” Personally, I like barefoot running, but some of the roads and sidewalks around me are constructed using very jagged concrete, so I use barefoot running shoes which have zero cushioning but a protective tread to protect the skin. But just because I like barefoot running doesn’t necessarily mean it is suitable for people in various stages of curing knee injuries. So I’m going to take a moment to explain in full both why I like it, and what it means for your health. Continue reading

Understanding the influence of foot angle on the hip joints and lower back

feet position squatIt’s all very well to explain that you should keep your feet straight, and that there are correct positions and postures to adopt with your body during exercises, but this instructions become much more meaningful when you understand exactly why these positions should be adopted. The following test will help demonstrate, with your own body, the impact your foot angle has on your hip joints and lower back: Continue reading

Why you need to learn to squat before you run

running knee supportEach year I volunteer to marshal a 10 kilometre cross-country fun run which is put on as a fundraiser for a local school. I always really enjoy the event as it an opportunity to observe how a large sample of people move. The runners at the front of the field move incredibly well; making the motions appear fluid and efficient with no wasted effort. It comes as no surprise to me that the further down the field you get, the more knee supports you see being worn by the runners and the more difficult and painful the effort of running appears to be.

This year I decided I would keep a mental note of the proportion of those runners wearing knee supports who exhibited out-turned feet as they ran. It wasn’t difficult for me to remember the proportion because it turned out to be 100%. Continue reading

Does a wide ‘split-the-floor’ squat stance really strain your hips?

wide squat hip strainFollowing on from the account of my experiences of the wide-stance squat, to maximise external rotation, let’s address the feeling of strain that a wide-stance can produce. Many people get scared off from the exercise – people have injured themselves doing it, which gives others an excuse to shy from an exercise that requires effort. But it’s very important that you recognise the difference between the effort required by the style, placing a large demand on the hips, and the idea that the “strain” demanded by the hips could be damaging. Done correctly, the pressure you feel is not harmful. You just have to be sure you are doing it right. Continue reading

How high demand for external hip rotation in squats creates a road to perfection

wide stance squatDoing squats with a heavy emphasis on external rotation can prove frustrating, but we encourage it for a number of reasons. Greater external rotation from your hips during the wide stanced squat supports your feet arches, creates a more stable position for the knees, allows a more vertical back angle and activates the glutes more. Beyond these physical benefits, it is also a great indicator of what you are doing wrong. I like to describe it as a squat technique which puts a magnifying glass on technical faults. The slightest errors get amplified significantly, not allowing you to get away with movements you might be able to with other techniques. And that’s a sure road to improvement. Continue reading

Why people should give their muscle health as much attention as their teeth

teeth and muscles

Our culture encourages certain activities as a force of habit, because they are fundamentally good for us. Brushing your teeth regularly, for example, is drilled into children to the degree that even the most resistant amongst us will be instinctively aware that to go without brushing your teeth for a day or two is bad. We all know that brushing your teeth can prevent terrible consequences. The same should be understood of exercise, and strength/movement training, as we teach it here are KneeStrength, and we want to make it clear that your physical health is as much in your hands as dental care is. Continue reading

Managing knee pain when attempting to squat to parallel

managing pain squat parallelWhen suffering with patellofemoral pain there are two traits of the squat exercise which can initially bring on pain or discomfort in your knees. Here we will explain those traits and come up with short-term workarounds to help the beginner get started with squats, make some progress, and do so with limited discomfort in the knees. Continue reading

5 key differences between squats and sissy squats

squats key differencesAs you progress in your exercises, it’s important to remember that what you learn in one exercise may not always be directly applicable to another. With squats and sissy squats, which similar names and similar principles, there are many factors that make them different. You must beware of these differences, to avoid mistakes.

1. Purpose of the squat exercises

Sissy squats are a specialist exercise aimed to help people with patella maltracking restore proper balance in their quadriceps muscles, to ensure the patella does not rub against the condyles of the femur. Squats are the most fundamental movement a human being performs. Using them as an exercise teaches and develops proper movement patterns and strength throughout the whole body.

Continue reading