What causes knee pain when squatting?
Knee pain when squatting is caused by a combination of factors. One of them is the type of exercise. Another one is the loading method used during the exercise. And another one is your body position while doing it.
The main cause of knee pain when squatting is the force applied to the knees. You can’t avoid this force if you want to do squats safely. If you don’t have enough strength, then there won’t be any benefit from doing squats.
So, it’s not possible to avoid this force even with proper training and technique.
But, what are some things that will prevent this force?
1) Proper Loading Method Used During Exercise:
Squats are performed using a barbell. The barbell is loaded with weight, which means that it contains some amount of energy (weight). For example, a 100 kg barbell weighs 100 kg.
This means that the total amount of energy contained in the barbell is 200 kg. Energy equals mass times acceleration time x distance squared. The key to reducing the force applied on your knees is to not use a barbell for your squat exercise.
If you plan to use an alternative exercise, make sure that your body mechanics remain the same when doing it. For example, if you decide to use dumbbells instead of a barbell for your squats, then keep your body mechanics while using dumbbells the same as they would be when you’re using a barbell. Different exercises will require different body mechanics.
This means that you can’t just switch to an alternative exercise and perform it the same way. But if you do, then the force applied on your knees will be higher than it should.
2) Your Body Position While Doing The Exercise:
There are different body positions that cause a significant increase in the force applied on your knees.
Sources & references used in this article:
Long-term prognosis for Jumper’s knee in male athletes: prospective follow-up study by JA Kettunen, M Kvist, E Alanen… – The American journal of …, 2002 – journals.sagepub.com
Taping the patella medially: a new treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee joint? by C McCarthy, P Dieppe – Bmj, 1994 – bmj.com
A comparative study of meniscectomy and nonoperative treatment for degenerative horizontal tears of the medial meniscus by JH Yim, JK Seon, EK Song, JI Choi… – … American journal of …, 2013 – journals.sagepub.com
A randomised clinical trial of the efficacy of drop squats or leg extension/leg curl exercises to treat clinically diagnosed jumper’s knee in athletes: pilot study by LJ Cannell, JE Taunton, DB Clement… – British journal of sports …, 2001 – bjsm.bmj.com