How To Squat Without Knee Pain
Updated: Apr 5
Common causes of knee pain when squatting are Patello-femoral pain and Meniscus injuries. In both conditions, the treatment goal is to offload the pressure from the knee when squatting so that you don't aggravate the pain and allow your knee to heal. This can be achieved by changing your form.
Read on to find out more.
There are two ways to cue squatting: sit back, when you move your hips posteriorly imagining that you are sitting on a chair far behind you. Or sit down, when you break at your knees and hips at the same time and your torso stays upright. If you are having knee pain, it is recommended to try the sit back form since it provides less pressure on the knee joint.
Another way to offload your knees is to widen your stance. With a wider stance, it is easier to move your hips backwards so that your knees don't move excessively forwards. Also, make sure that your foot angle is set in a way that your knees point the same direction of your toes as you squat.
Range of motion
In terms of range of motion, the highest stress on the Patello-femoral joint and meniscus is between 90- and 130 degrees of knee flexion, so you might want to temporarily limit the squat depth in order to stay within a pain free range and gradually increase it as you get better.
Start with light weights and high repetition and gradually increase the weight over time as you get better. Make sure you don't progress too quickly as you might cause a flare up.
Other factors that can affect the way you squat are ankle, hip and lower back range of motion. Mobility and stretching exercises that target these joints can be beneficial to improve the way you squat. A Physiotherapist can help you to assess your form and advise you on specific exercises for your needs.