Squats leading to Knee Pain!?

George Milner

George Milner

Podiatrist at Podiatry First.

Whenever a patient presents to the clinic complaining that squatting hurts their knees, I ask them to demonstrate to me how they perform a squat. More often than not I will sit back in my chair with a horrified look on my face while they show me exactly how notto do a squat. My usual response?

“Squatting doesn’t hurt your knees, whatever you’re demonstrating right now is what is hurting your knees”.

A proper squat will not cause pain or injury. The main issue: it is rare that they are executed in the proper manner. If squatting hurts your knees, and you’re not suffering from an injury, it is commonly because you’re making your knees do more of the work than the hips. Therefore, learning how to utilise the hips during a squat is important if you want to make them joint friendly, and prevent knee injury.

Keep in mind that everyone’s skeletal make up, biomechanics and muscular range of motion varies. Therefore, a “proper squat” or “correct form” needs to be dramatically altered for every individual and circumstance.

Over the years I have come to realise there is no such thing as a correct squat, more so a correct squat for every individual. Some people may not be able to squat with a narrow stance, some may not be able to avoid their knees drifting over their toes and some may not even be able to make it to parallel or below. That does not mean it is incorrect form. It only needs to be correct for the individual circumstance.

When prescribing squats in either strength programs, prehabilitation/rehabilitation protocols or for general health and functional exercise, a thorough assessment of the individual must be conducted. Aspects such fitness level, age, gender, mobility, height and limb length, and flexibility are just some of the areas which need to be addressed.

“There is no such thing as a correct squat, more so a correct squat for every individual.”

I often recommend box squats to my patients. They will keep you honest with your depth, while also allowing a more vertical position for the tibia. Training a squat movement pattern is the first step into becoming pain free.

I am determined to help you get there. If you are experiencing pain, and need some advice on prevention and management, call the clinic on (02) 9387 1545 or simply CLICK HERE to organize and appointment online.

Squats do not cause pain, if they are done correctly. Let me show you how.

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