Updated: Apr 28, 2020
In this article, you will learn
What is tendinopathy (jumpers/runners knee)
What causes chronic knee pain
How to treat your symptoms and solve the root problem
How to maintain healthy knees and live pain-free
Many of you who have dealt with knee pain in the past or are currently suffering will be able to relate with my frustration with the information that is out there.
The common answer you have been told when dealing with knee pain is often:
Go ahead and google it here
The problem with this approach is that it just focuses on treating the symptoms, rather than actually solving the problem.
Rest alone will not solve the problem. If you return to activity without addressing the damage and weakness of the structure, your pain will return.
Stretching does not stimulate the tendon to grow stronger and more resilient.
Understanding "What is tendinopathy and what causes it?" will help you understand what your body needs.
This article is not for treating acute injuries that involve structural damage. Always see a doctor to properly diagnose the issue first.
What is Tendinopathy?
Tendinopathy occurs when a tendon is subjected to high amounts of trauma and becomes inflamed and weakened. The fibres in the tendon become messy instead of smooth and linear. This causes pain, discomfort and weakness. Tendons do not have the same anatomy as muscles and do not receive as much blood flow.
What causes Chronic Knee Pain?
I will keep this as easy to understand and as brief as possible. There are a few main causes of tendonitis in the knee. See below.
Poor Biomechanics - Tightness in certain joints such as the ankles, knees and hips, can place the body into positions that disproportionately add more force on the knee. This added stress can lead to overuse and ultimately pain.
Muscle Tightness/Imbalances - Tightness in your muscles in the lower body, or muscle imbalances (certain muscles much stronger/weaker than others) places more force on the tendons, rather than your muscles. This causes overuse of the structure leading to pain.
Overtraining - This might be the most common cause of pain especially in young people. If you are not allowing for adequate rest, your tendons will slowly become broken down, weakened and inflamed.
Bulletproof your Knees.
Your body is designed to function perfectly.
Here is what you can do to begin improving the health of your knees. It is very important when rehabilitating or training to NEVER TRAIN THROUGH PAIN. I cannot stress this enough. It is entirely counterproductive to train through pain.
Keep in mind that everyone is at a different stage of pain or weakness. Some of you might have debilitating pain, some might not have and pain at all until you train or compete. You need to listen to your body and find the proper balance of rest and rehabilitation. There are levels to this!
This one is easy, rest! It is important to allow the area to settle down. Listen to your body , you ultimately know better than anyone when you need rest. Fitness is often associated with pushing through pain, intense fatigue and "grinding". This is simply wrong. With the proper approach, you can retrain yourself to enjoy movement.
This is similar to "Rest". You need to dial back the activity that is causing the overuse. This can be hard for us athletes to do but if you want to reach 100% again and ultimately reach your athletic peak, you cannot do this with compromised knees! It is important to have a long term approach to becoming pain-free!
Mobilize and Strengthen surrounding Muscles and Tendons
A common practice is to stretch out your hamstrings, calves, glutes and quadriceps muscles. while this is a short term remedy and might alleviate some of the pain, static stretching is simply not going to provide lasting results. Stay tuned for a future article on how to create lasting mobility. Below is a routine that will mobilize your joints, strengthen your muscles and build healthier tendons.
Focus on these 3 simple exercises to start!
Backpedalling - Pump blood to the area
200-300 meters at the highest intensity you are able to without any pain. If you are Deadmilling (backpedalling on the treadmill) 3 sets of 2 to 3 minutes as fast as you can!
Reverse Step Up - Strengthen
3 sets of 20 reps
This exercise can be done by anyone as it can be regressed and progressed for anyone. Focus on achieving muscle burn in the muscle, that means your knee is getting healthier. Never train through pain.`
Couch Stretch - Mobilize
3 sets of 45 seconds
This will help you on the right track to owning pain-free knees! Once you are comfortable with these 3 exercises consider checking out our Knee Bulletproofing Program or request to have it assigned on our App!
Please share with someone struggling with their knees. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments you might have. I love questions! I encourage you all to send in videos to me of yourself so that I can coach your form.
Thank you for reading.
The information above is not a substitute for medical advice. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, it is always better to see your doctor before starting any type of rehabilitation to ensure you are properly diagnosed.