In my practice, I see a fair number of clients with knee pain. Knees that hurt out of the blue or ache all the time, that are glitchy or crunchy, crabby going up or down the stairs or feel like they're going to give out, etc.
Knees are pretty important when it comes to doing the things we love to do - long hikes, going for a run or riding a bike.
Knees are also pretty important for even just the little things - being able to stand in line, walk around the grocery store or go up and down a few steps. And quite frankly, knee pain sucks.
How to help your knees
I'm going to share with you one of my favorite tips for decreasing the wear and tear on your knees so you can prevent (or decrease) knee pain.
It's one of those things that is deceptively simple. After all, how hard can it be to lift and lower your knee caps?
For some people it comes easily, but for most it takes more than a little practice to undo this habit of chronic tension that's been years in the making.
Part of the process involves rebuilding that connection between your brain and your body.
Re-establishing these brain to body connections can feel like that scene from Helen Keller when Annie is trying over and over again to help Helen understand sign language until finally with Helen's hand under the pump, water pouring over it, it all clicks and Helen realizes that those strange movements in her hand actually mean water.
Be patient with yourself. Keep practicing. It will come.
One key to getting this is to remember to back your weight up.
Before we get started, meet your quadriceps (see image on left) - those 4 muscles that run down the front of your thigh and come together at the patellar tendon, just above your kneecap. The tendon crosses your patella (knee cap) and forms the patellar ligament (ligaments connect bone to bone, tendons connect muscle to bone) which attaches on the front of your tibia (shin).
Lastly, here's a peek at the back of your patella (image on right). The main thing I want you to know is that the back of your patella is not a flat surface. You can see that part of it in the middle sticks out a bit. That sticking out bit can be bad new to your knee cartilage, or not, depending on how much chronic tension your quads hold.
Have fun and here's to knees that last a lifetime!