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Bad Knees at 21 Yrs Old



I've been training for 2 years now and recently I have found that my knees have become slightly painful when standing from a seated position, squatting down and kneeling. Both my parents have bad knees (both 50+) so I was expecting to get bad knees later in life but not now.

After asking the instructer in my local gym I was told my squatting technique wasnt great with alot of strain being put on my knees (bending at the knee on the deline) rather than my shins staying vertical whilst driving my hips back. A stupid mistake I know but I have never really had any guidance as I have always trained on my own.

Is there anything I can do with regard to my diet (fish oils, complex's etc) and training (maybe using leg press instead of squats until my knees feel better) that would really make a difference, or have I really dont some serious damage that I will now never get any better?

I am really worried that im not going to be able to train my legs properly :confused:

Any help will be great. Thanks


listen to what i'm about to tell you, take a step back and assess what is important. Fix the problem, there will be plenty of time to train legs once the issue is resolved, there is no benefit to building strength on dysfunction. You will ultimately only suffer pains and aches that could be avoided, even if it takes a year to fix the problem that will still save you 4 years of recovery. Learn the proper technique and start from the bottom

  • start taking a few fish oil with each meal

  • take a glucosamine / chondroitin mix daily

  • warm up with some terminal knee extensions.. 3 sets of 20 before squatting. see this video for an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZYIMSpZNZo

  • spend some time working on on hip, ankle, and foot mobility

  • training wise:

It's not necessary to squat to build big and/or strong legs.

You can hit your quads pretty hard with much less strain by first doing a few hard sets (or working up to a top set for 8-25 reps) of trap bar deadlift) and then following that up with some high rep leg press. Leg press can be just as strenuous as squatting if not more if you really load up the weight, so focus on Trap bar DL as your heavier movement then get 2 or 3 hard 20-25 rep sets on the leg press and i'm sure your quads will grow.

Hamstrings and glutes are easy... stiff leg DL, rack pulls, hip extensions.

Deload every 4th week by laying off the leg press, dropping the volume on the trap bar, and just working on hip/ankle/foot mobility and body-weight exercises.


Are you guys kidding? This guy needs to see a medical professional. As I am one myself, I can tell you that there is no way you are going to effectively diagnose and treat what's going on with his knees after reading one freaking internet post and never even seeing the guy in person.

That said, a 21 year old with knee pain when squatting is VERY common and almost always easily treated.

Find a physical therapist or chiropractor who is both trained in Functional Movement Systems and has certifications in A.R.T., Graston, or ASTYM. These are hard to come by depending on where you live, so you may have to search around or take a long drive to see one. If you let me know where you're from I may be able to point you in the right direction.


This, and something like cycling, which will strengthen your knee tendons without any shearing forces. See a physiotherapist.


did i ever say what his problem was? did anyone else? they stated some obvious reasons for the pain, i am willing to put money on it that it is one of those. A physician will be able to confirm whether it is a related issue or something like Osgoodâ??Schlatter (which i highly doubt but anyway)


How about posting a video of the squat?




Where is your pain in your knees? Deep inside? Over the patellar tendon? Under the patella? In the back of your knees? To the medial or lateral side? You never really specified where the pain in your knee was located. I am assuming it is in both knees as well as you never singled out one knee.

Besides squatting and going from sitting to standing, do any other activities cause pain? Have you done anything for the pain? Rehab? Ice? NSAIDS? Supplements?


No one in this thread was even attempting to make a diagnosis or guess at the cause of his problems.

I don't care what is wrong with the brain or the tissue, only positives could come from the OP doing some good hip, foot, and ankle mobility work, while avoiding loaded squatting, deloading regularly, and supplementing with a little fish oil and glucosamine. How could that be beneficial?

As far as your suggestions go.. FMS and ART... seriously? The OP is 21 years old, unless his parents are loaded, he's not going to be able to afford that. A full FMS will run at 60-80$ (at least htat's what I charged when I did them) and ART could run as high as 120$ an hour if the guy is any good. Most insurance companies will not cover that and the fact that the OP posted here means that he's looking for free advice.


Guys, Thanks for the reply.

I am not looking for free advice I just didnt know if it was a serious thing or not; eg it would disappear in a few months once I worked on my technique.

My knees are fine when walking, even running, stairs etc. However if I was to walk up 3 or 4 staris at one time i would feel some slight pain (its far from agonising but noticable). For example if I was to do lunges or a stepping movement in the gym it would cause pain.

In terms of where the pain is it is difficult to explain. It is in both knees equally (hence why I assumed squat / leg training was to blame). I would say it is from inside the knee behind the knee cap.

There is a sports injury place very near by now I think about it, I will book an appointment there and see what they have to say.

Atm I am getting mixed views from you guys as to whether to stop training all together where the knee joint is concerned (leg training and deadlifts basically) or to do lighter movements and focus on the movement not the weight. Anyone got a solid answer or should I wait to see the specialist (not sure how specialist they will be as im in a small town...)??


I think it's your call depending on how you feel on the day. Personally, if it's a problem as you describe, then I'd stay away from squats to depth and stick to deadlifts and leg press, but like I said, that's me. In this situation you've got to be careful and listen to your body until you know exactly what the problem is. That's not to say you shouldn't push yourself if you feel like you can.


This is the best thing you can do at the moment. Do not do activities that cause pain. Focus on movement quality, proper ROM, and proper muscle activation.

It is impossible to say for sure what you have going on without physically evaluating you, but from what you have described and the information you have given, it is safe to say that you will be able to return to pain free, normal activity with the proper corrective interventions.

Keep your appointment at the sports medicine facility to be evaluated. From the sounds of things, it seems to be a patellofemoral chondral issue, but they should be able to physically evaluate you and give you a solid diagnosis.


See the joint by joint approach to training on this site written by Boyle. Hip and ankle mobility is key. That and lifting technique and glutes and soft tissue quality. Oh, and see somebody.


Go see a Foot Specialist and get some Orthotics made. They're worth every penny my friend.


Try stretching your iliotibial band (I.T.band) on a regular basis. I cured my knee problems doing this. If you're going to stretch your left leg for example, cross your right leg over your left, keeping your left leg straight, then lean your hips to the left(your torso will lean to the right) until you feel a stretching of the outer side of your left leg. Then do the opposite for the right leg.

Believe it or not, a tight iliotibial band will affect your knee and hip. Another possibility is that you may have patellar tendonitis. If you play basketball, or another sport that involves jumping or ballistic leg work, it's a possibility you have patellar tendonitis in which case you'll have to use ice, anti-inflammatories and time off for rehab.


Isn't foam rolling a more effecient way to loosen up the ITB? At least there must be some consideration for the torque that you put through your knee with that stretch, maybe not in healthy populations, but for people with knee problems.


I had very tight I.T bands and my physiotherapist recommended foam rolling and the stretch described above. Pain went away instantly...good stuff!