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Knee pain is extremely common among those who have just started exercising, and among those who are typically overweight or obese. Our knees absorb all of our weight when we walk and jump, so when you’re carrying excess body weight, your knees are tasked with supporting the extra weight — which can be hard on your body during complex exercise movements. Suffering from knee pain isn’t fun, and can result in setbacks and injury if you’re not careful, and if you don’t take time to recover.
Here are four ways to prevent exercise knee pain, which are especially important to follow if you’re carrying excess weight.
1. Practice proper form
If you’ve ever taken an exercise class or worked with a fitness trainer, you may have heard the expression, “knees over toes.” “Knees over toes” basically means that your knees need to be pointing in the same direction as your toes when you do squats and other movements. Otherwise, your knees can become achy and sore as a result of moving them forward over your toes, and from placing extra pressure on your joints.
2. Land softly on your feet
When walking, running, and jumping, it’s important that you land softly with a bent knee. Landing softly happens naturally when we walk, but if you’re exerting a lot of energy when running and jumping, it can be difficult to land softly at all times. If you’re unable to land softly when running or jumping, take a moment to stop and regroup, and move more carefully and slowly. It’s important to bend your knee slightly when touching the ground to prevent your knee joint from becoming compressed.
3. Strengthen the muscles around your knees
Keep all the muscles around your knees strong and balanced to prevent one muscle group from working against the other. For example, if you’re doing exercises that work your glutes and hamstrings, make sure you’re also working your quads and thighs. Otherwise, focusing on working just one muscle group could result in that particular muscle group pulling your knee joints left or right, or backward and forward.
4. Release the knots
After building muscle through exercise, our soft tissue will develop adhesions, or knots that can pull on our joints and result in pain. Therefore, it’s important to massage the tissue surrounding your knee joints on a regular basis to break up knots. Use trigger point therapy or myofascial release to ease your knee pain. In most cases, your pain will completely disappear within a few days or a week of massaging your muscle tissue.