You've probably read somewhere online that the squat is one of the best exercises that you could possibly do. True, and false.
Yes of course, it is an amazing exercise. It's one of just a handful of exercises that you can consider completely full body.
Yet, if squatting hurts your knees, it's definitely closer to the bottom of your list.
So how do you bring it up to the top? Here are a few simple suggestions to help you navigate your knee pain, and hopefully eliminate it.
The knee sits in between the hip and ankle joints. And while the hip is a very flexible ball and socket, and the ankle is also extremely flexible, the knee is meant to be a simple hinge joint.
Now, imagine this. Try to open and close a door while somebody else is hanging on it. You might be able to at first, but after years and years of hanging on the door those hinges are not going to hinge quite the same. The same is true of your knees.
Most people who have knee pain, are not using their knees as true hinges. There is a torsion similar to this hanging from the door analogy.
This postural deviation is called tibial torsion. The tibia is your shinbone, and in this case it is not lining up properly with the upper leg, the femur.
How do you know if your knees are not acting as a regular hinge? How do you know if you have tibial torsion?
Typically, the direction that the feet are pointing should match up with the direction of your kneecap. People with tibial torsion usually have feet that are external and knees that are caving internal.
Imagine this posture in the squat. Putting your entire body weight on this torqued knee can cause a lot of damage.
Why does this happen? Well, just as your bicep brings your elbow into flexion when it engages, you also have muscles that will externally rotate your upper leg so that the knee will line up with the foot.
Let's walk through a few exercises here that will assist you in correcting this.