Approximately 25 percent of adults experience frequent knee pain. Are you part of this group?
There are tons of reasons why you might struggle with knee pain. In many cases, though, a lack of mobility or a muscle imbalance can cause or contribute to this issue.
As someone who struggles with knee pain (I don’t experience frequent knee pain, but I did have surgery on my knee in 2011 and still have flare-ups from time to time), I’ve found that making certain mobility drills a priority helps to keep it at bay and allows me to continue moving through a full range of motion during my workouts.
These four mobility drills are some of my favorites for addressing tight muscles that can contribute to knee pain. For the record, I’m not a doctor, and I can’t guarantee that they’ll work for you. I’m just sharing what helps me to give you some inspiration!
Active Calf-Ankle Stretch
If you have tight ankles or calves, you’re going to put a lot more stress on your knees when you’re doing exercises like squats.
When your ankles are tight, for example, you’re more likely to lift your heels when you squat (especially when you try to squat deeply). This, in turn, can cause your knees to move forward farther than they should and have a negative effect on your overall weight distribution.
If you do this every once in a while, it isn’t a huge deal. If you’re doing it day after day, every time you squat, though, you’re probably going to have problems with your knees.
Taking time to stretch out your ankles and calves and work on your ankle mobility can help you squat and move with better form. As a result, you may notice less pain in your knees.
Kneeling Adductor Stretch
Tight adductors (especially paired with weak glutes) can cause your knees to cave inward when you squat.
This places a lot of strain on the knees and can increase your risk of developing injuries, especially to your medial collateral ligament (also known as your MCL).
I recommend taking time to loosen up and work on your adductor mobility to help stretch out the inner thigh and keep your knees aligned properly while squatting, lunging, or doing other lower body exercises.
Adding in some band work (like the exercises in this post) is also helpful for strengthening the glutes and correcting the imbalance that causes the knees to cave in.
Active Lunge Stretch
Tight hip flexors and quads can contribute to knee pain as well. If these muscles are tight, your posture may be affected and you may place more pressure on your knees when you’re exercising or just walking around.
This active lunge stretch helps to loosen up your quads and hip flexors and is great for correcting a swayed lower back.
Tight hamstrings may also make your knee pain worse, too. You’re especially likely to experience knee pain if your hamstrings are both tight and weak.
Research shows that, when the hamstrings are smaller and weaker than the quadriceps, a person is more likely to experience degeneration or inflammation in the tissues of the knee joint. Enter the hip hinge.
Hip hinges are a good warm-up exercise to do to loosen up the hamstrings before you do exercises like deadlifts or good mornings, which help to strengthen the hamstrings and correct muscle imbalances that can contribute to knee pain and degeneration.
Mobility Drills for Knee Pain Video Breakdown
Here’s a video demonstrating how to do each of these exercises. Check it out if you’re not sure how to do any of them:
Do you struggle with knee pain? If so, what kinds of exercises/remedies help you to feel better? Let me know in the comments below!