Trainer Tip: Knee Pain? This Can Help, by Laura Coombs, A.T.C., CSCS

Fitness Plus Trainer, Laura Coombs

Knee pain or hip weakness?
Knee pain has affected 19% of us in the past 30 days and is the second most prevalent type of joint pain (preceded only by back pain), according to the CDC. Knee pain can be especially frustrating, especially when we don’t understand how we got it or if it keeps coming back!   It is sometimes caused by a single incident or injury, but more often it is caused by prolonged abnormal posture or repetitive motion.  Many times, knee pain is a result of UNDERUSING the neighboring joint, the hip!
Consider the anatomy of the knee. It is a simple hinge joint braced only with tendons and ligaments.  Comparatively, the hip joint is both powerful and mobile, with many layers of muscle crossing it from a variety angles.  In many of us the hip is deactivated and neglected, and the knee is forced to take on the roles of changing direction, generating  power , and decelerating…all of which are jobs better suited for the hip.

Here are some exercises to activate your hip muscles and strengthen them:
SINGLE LEG HIP ROTATIONS
Start
1. Stand with feet straight and hip-width apart.
2. Lift chest and tuck chin.

Movement
3. Draw-in belly button and squeeze butt muscles.
4. Balance on one leg and lift other until knee is at waist level.
5. Rotating at hip, bring lifted leg toward side of body then back to front; hold each point two seconds.
6. Return to start.

LATERAL TUBE WALKING
Start
1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent.
2. Place tubing around ankles.

Movement
1. Keep feet straight and take small steps sideways.
2. Repeat in opposite direction.

BALL BRIDGE

Start
1. Lie with ball between shoulder blades and head resting on ball, hands on hips. Place feet on floor, hip-width apart.

Movement
2. Draw-in belly button and squeeze butt muscles.
3. Lift pelvis until knees are in-line with hips and shoulders.
4. Lower pelvis.

If we improve the function of our hips and allow them to do the work they were made for, we will take unnecessary pressure off our knees and let them do what they were meant for: simply bending the leg.
Laura Coombs is a certified athletic trainer and strength coach who specializes in posture analysis and corrective exercise techniques.   She trains at Fitness Plus and is an academic instructor at the Lexington Healing Arts Academy.

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