Do you ever get knee pain after front squats? Would you like to front squat without that knee pain?
Dr. Cody Misuraca, DPT walks through a simple test and potential solution.
Let’s start with what is likely going on. You may have been told that you have patello-femoral syndrome or even chondromalacia (a thinning or disrupting of the articular cartilage under the kneecap). If so, you have a diagnosis. But now what?
As with most joint issues, the location of the pain is very rarely the source of the issue. So while your own research or your practitioner has diagnosed your knee, focusing on the knee to eliminate pain probably won’t help.
With front squats, the knee’s movement is a function of the ankle’s mobility and the strength and range of motion in the hip. (There are other things, but these are targets #1 and #2.) Today we’re focusing on the ankle.
If you are unable to get adequate dorsiflexion in the ankle, you may have found the culprit for your knee pain. Let’s see.
Ankle mobility test for front squats
Place the toes of one foot against a wall and kneel down into a lunge position. Push the front knee towards the wall with your hand, keeping the heel on the ground. If your knee touches the wall, great. Repeat at 1 inch, 2 inches, 3 inches, and 4 inches away from the wall. If you can get your knee to touch the wall (with the heel on the ground) when the toes are at least 4 inches from the wall, you’ve got good dorsiflexion IN THAT ANKLE. Switch sides and test the other ankle.
Ankle mobility drill for front squats
A simple drill is to take a band, loop one end around the ankle and the other around a pole or other stationary object. Pull the band taut, and get in a deep lunge position with the banded leg forward. With the ankle directly below the knee, add a bit of weight on top of the knee, using the weight to push the knee forward (keeping the heel on the ground). Push the knee over the middle toe, then over the inside toe, then over the outside toe. Repeat for 2 minutes each side.
Now re-test your ankles against the wall. You may have made some progress. To maintain that increased range of motion, you’ve got to do this several times a week for a while.
There are many more drills to add to these, as well. To learn more about how to stop knee pain during front squats or stop knee pain after front squats, give us a call at 619-210-0945 or schedule a visit.