Help for Knee Pain

Before we get into ways to alleviate knee pain, let me make it clear that I am not a doctor. My thoughts on this issue are based on my own personal experience. If you have a serious knee injury, please stop reading this blog and seek professional assistance. But if you've had knee issues for ages, have already had knee surgery or other interventions, and you're still hoping to find ways to cope with an ongoing problem, read on!

Ever since I began dancing, I've had ankle issues. I badly injured both ankles when I was 19, and only later learned that I could have avoided the injury if I had known more about anatomy, alignment, and proper dance technique. Whenever I jumped and landed, my knees collapsed inward. This misalignment caused undue strain on my ankles. Later in my dance training, I learned how to guide my knee joints correctly, but the initial damage to my achilles tendons and the resulting scar tissue remains.

However, until recently, my knees have been relatively pain free. When I dance in Zumba classes, I wear dance sneakers that allow me to twist without torquing my knees. This is very important for anyone who wishes to dance for many years while avoiding knee pain! Dance sneakers should have a flat, smooth circle on the sole of the shoe under the ball of the foot. This smooth part of the sole allows a dancer to rotate in and out (imagine your hips twisting and both feet sliding on the floor) while all the joints (ankles, knees, and hips) move together in unison. If your knees hurt after Zumba class, check your shoes!

And I have learned only recently that wall sits are an awesome exercise for safely strengthening all the muscles surrounding the knee joint. 

If you don't know what a wall sit is, or need a refresher on how to execute a wall sit, watch this youtube video:

I used to HATE wall sits. I could barely sustain a wall sit for a mere 60 seconds. And I thought I was strong! And I thought wall sits were just annoying and pretty much worthless. Well, I was wrong on all counts.

I might have had sufficient strength in some of my thigh muscles, but others were weaker. This imbalance is often at the root of knee injuries and ongoing knee pain. So I began using the dreaded wall sit to strengthen those muscles that support the front of the knee. And lo and behold, my constant knee pain began to decrease.

Now, after practicing for a couple of weeks, I can hold a wall sit for over 2 minutes. This is like a miracle for me!! And my knee pain is almost completely gone. I plan to continue practicing on a daily basis to keep my thighs strong.

If you aren't sure whether or not wall sits will help your knee issues, discuss this with your doctor or physical therapist. (Chances are, you have already been instructed to use wall sits as part of your physical therapy...) 

Hopefully my experience will help you avoid knee issues of your own. If you've found other knee exercises that seem to help, please share them with us!