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Knee Pain During Lunges | Week 62 | Movement Fix Monday

This week I want to write a bit about my thoughts on anterior knee pain during lunges.

A lot of times my interactions with patients inspire my Movement Fix Monday posts and pain on the front of the knee while lunging is certainly something that people have an issue with.

Pain isn't so simple that you can say, "oh this thing hurts, that means you need to stretch these muscles and roll out this other muscle". If only things were so simple.

I don't usually write blog posts about pain because I think it can be over interpreted (meaning, if I say consider these things with knee pain while lunging, some may interpret that to mean that knee pain is ALWAYS fixed with this, which it isn't), but in this case I want to offer some food for thought.

When someone is lunging and their knee comes really far forward, I have seen over and over again that the athlete doesn't know how to use their hips at all to drive themselves out of the lunge and control themselves down into the depths of a lunge.

If you could measure a percentage of knee/quad contribution vs hip/glute contribution to the lunge, I think you'd find that in lots of these anterior knee pain cases the person is too heavy on the knee/quad percentage and they need to distribute that to the hip/glutes.

For this person, I need to train them to keep a little more vertical shin in the lunge so they understand not to go to end range ankle dorsiflexion in the lunge.

To do this, you can have them do a reverse or backward stepping lunge as you will naturally keep a vertical front shin. After that, I will progress the athlete to a split squat and teach them how to descend into the lunge vs lean forward in the lunge.

Finally, I will have them step forward, stop the forward motion, and then descend into the lunge.

Rarely do I ever have this person stretch their quads or roll any muscles on their anterior chain.

Usually there is aggravation from too much load going through this area and it needs a break, not to be rolled on super hard.

Does this answer all knee pain questions? No, but it is food for though!

Thanks for reading!

-Ryan


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