T Nation

Bad Knees

My knees have really been acting up. Some background might help first. (a long post-sorry) They have been bad for sometime-have had some bad injuries in my past competitive days. With proper attention (ice, stretching, glucosamine chondroition, occasional massage) they’ll be decent for months at a time and then flare up, sometimes out of the blue.

This most recent round, I went through a rigorous bout of triathlon training. After that, I took time off from endurance training (perhaps a permanent break in favor of serious weight training) and really got into lifting. I did six weeks of my own program and then six weeks of ABBH while bulking. During this time I put on a ton of mass. My legs held up fine until the end of ABBH. I was having some twinges the last week, and they felt pretty bad on the last squat workout.

Fortunately, this week has been an active/recovery week because they’ve been terrible all week. My knees were killing me despite no leg training, icing, lots of aleeve, compression, etc… They’re starting to feel a little better, although I’m still taking Aleve and icing a lot. I had planned to do Waterbury’s TTT, but don’t think jumping in in terms of legs would be a good idea. I want to ease back-I’ve rushed back into things too quickly in the past, and it’s just prolonged time off from whatever training I was doing at the time.

Given my history, I’m looking for suggestions of things to ease back into normal leg training (I plan to do the rest of TTT as planned) Or would you guys recommend taking some more time off from legs altogether? I really want to jump back in but don’t want to be stupid about it.

Thanks

Where exactly do your knees hurt? Any grinding, clicking etc.? Is this something that has come on over time? What movements aggravate it?

If you get me more info I can probably help you out!

Stay strong
MR

I have had knee problems the past few years as well. I am mainly a road cyclist, but I like to lift as well.

My problem is tendonitis, I think.

I feel your pain, I wish I could train like hell and have nothing to worry about, but I can’t.

First, I don’t do squats…I do heavy leg presses and there is no problem as even light dsquats cause. Secondly when experiencing knee problems I start leg workouts with leg curls to pump the hamstrings and strengthen this area first. Normally knee problems are associated with a strength imbalance between the quadriceps and the hamstrings.

Do you have a flexability and prehab program? Too much tension and instability does bad things to knees.
Depending on where you are in Pa, I know a specialist who may be able to help. He has done wonders for me.
P.M. me if interested.

Thanks for the responses. Some good advice. I think I will lay off the squats for awhile and stick to presses for now. Mike, I’ve had achilles injuries and, I tore my right ACL a few years ago. My right knee is worse than my left, but they both bother me sometimes. I went through rehab and all that and healed fairly well.

I’ve never been quite the same, but I can still do a lot. I’ll be able to train for months at a time essentially painfree without any real problems. But then I’ll have a flare-up like now. Clicking is minimal, but I do think some of it is soft tissue damage. I take glucosamine chondroition and fish oil regularly even when I’m not experiencing problems.

The pain right now is mostly in the middle of the knee from the top of the kneecap to the bone below. thanks again! and any further input is much appreciated.

[quote]jsbrook wrote:
Thanks for the responses. Some good advice. I think I will lay off the squats for awhile and stick to presses for now. Mike, I’ve had achilles injuries and, I tore my right ACL a few years ago. My right knee is worse than my left, but they both bother me sometimes. I went through rehab and all that and healed fairly well.

[/quote]

Mate - in my experience (3 surgeries on knees), there is no such thing as finishing rehab and healing well!! I believe that once a joint has been compromised by surgery or major injury, rehab is something that needs to be ongoing otherwise for whatever reason, the joint/muscles/tissues will reduce to an imbalanced state. Research has shown that even 20 years on people with ACL recos have asymmetries that effect function. You tend to get away with it if you are not really active - but the T-lifestyle prohibits that!!

The advice some gave above is good - try to go back to regularly performing some of your rehab practices that you were performing towards the end of your initial rehab. Do them religously - I personally do a small bit everyday, either stretching, foam roller work, icing, VMO activation practice, hamstring balance etc etc. The list goes on. Good luck.

My knees have been acting up for the past year. From my experience, this is what works for me…

Leg Extensions = BAD!!!

Squats and Deadlifts = GOOD!!

well today was my first real day of lower body lifting/plyometrics since march when the knee started giving me trouble. I was lucky and got in my workout with no knee problems. I even did a personal best for the stiff leg deadlift - 245 for sets of 3. I also did some bodyweight jump squats and stair sprints. Last night I was even able produce my highest peak wattage this year, on the bike. Hopefully I can continue like this.

[quote]swerven wrote:
jsbrook wrote:
Thanks for the responses. Some good advice. I think I will lay off the squats for awhile and stick to presses for now. Mike, I’ve had achilles injuries and, I tore my right ACL a few years ago. My right knee is worse than my left, but they both bother me sometimes. I went through rehab and all that and healed fairly well.

Mate - in my experience (3 surgeries on knees), there is no such thing as finishing rehab and healing well!! I believe that once a joint has been compromised by surgery or major injury, rehab is something that needs to be ongoing otherwise for whatever reason, the joint/muscles/tissues will reduce to an imbalanced state. Research has shown that even 20 years on people with ACL recos have asymmetries that effect function. You tend to get away with it if you are not really active - but the T-lifestyle prohibits that!!

The advice some gave above is good - try to go back to regularly performing some of your rehab practices that you were performing towards the end of your initial rehab. Do them religously - I personally do a small bit everyday, either stretching, foam roller work, icing, VMO activation practice, hamstring balance etc etc. The list goes on. Good luck.[/quote]

Swerven, good advice. Thanks buddy. I agree that there’s no such thing as finishing rehab. I’ve been pretty happy with what I’m still able to do, but I definitely need to always keep after it. Working on some rehab-specific stuff is a good idea. I will do that.

Atlas, thanks. I agree-I’m not a big fan of leg extensions and do find that they cause my knees to act up. Haven’t done em in years. I actually worked legs (and other body parts) today. Didn’t push it ridiculously with legs but had a decent workout. Ice, stretching, and foam roller work too. So far so good. Still irritated some, but they’re not worse than before the workout.

[quote]KiloSprinter wrote:
well today was my first real day of lower body lifting/plyometrics since march when the knee started giving me trouble. I was lucky and got in my workout with no knee problems. I even did a personal best for the stiff leg deadlift - 245 for sets of 3. I also did some bodyweight jump squats and stair sprints. Last night I was even able produce my highest peak wattage this year, on the bike. Hopefully I can continue like this. [/quote]

That’s great Kilo! Friday’s an explosive day for me, so hopefully jump squats, etc… will go ok for me as well.

Bump for Mike Robertson. Any suggestions you might have to heal better and/or prevent further flareups would be great. thanks!

You sound pretty smart about your body, so I’ll ask you this: Have you been over-doing it? If so, it could just be an overuse issue like quad tendinopathy.

The clicking is odd though; that just came on? Have you had recent films taken? I always like to remove the possibility of arthritic changes in the joint before doing anything else. It could be some crepitus, which when accompanied by pain, it typically due to maltracking of the patella.

Let me know!

Stay strong
MR

[quote]jsbrook wrote:
Thanks for the responses. Some good advice. I think I will lay off the squats for awhile and stick to presses for now. Mike, I’ve had achilles injuries and, I tore my right ACL a few years ago. My right knee is worse than my left, but they both bother me sometimes. I went through rehab and all that and healed fairly well.

I’ve never been quite the same, but I can still do a lot. I’ll be able to train for months at a time essentially painfree without any real problems. But then I’ll have a flare-up like now. Clicking is minimal, but I do think some of it is soft tissue damage. I take glucosamine chondroition and fish oil regularly even when I’m not experiencing problems.

The pain right now is mostly in the middle of the knee from the top of the kneecap to the bone below. thanks again! and any further input is much appreciated. [/quote]

Thanks for the input Mike. You are probably right about over-doing it. I just finished with ABBH, and had some great gains. But, with my past injuries, I might just not be able to do 50 heavy reps of squats. My volume will be less for the time being as I’m leaning out. But it’s something for me to think about for the future. I’m a little concered about the clicking too, but it is minimal. I might go get it looked at though and make sure everything’s ok in terms of joint health and cartilage. I’ll keep you posted. How’s your own healing going?

[quote]Mike Robertson wrote:
You sound pretty smart about your body, so I’ll ask you this: Have you been over-doing it? If so, it could just be an overuse issue like quad tendinopathy.

The clicking is odd though; that just came on? Have you had recent films taken? I always like to remove the possibility of arthritic changes in the joint before doing anything else. It could be some crepitus, which when accompanied by pain, it typically due to maltracking of the patella.

Let me know!

Stay strong
MR

jsbrook wrote:
Thanks for the responses. Some good advice. I think I will lay off the squats for awhile and stick to presses for now. Mike, I’ve had achilles injuries and, I tore my right ACL a few years ago. My right knee is worse than my left, but they both bother me sometimes. I went through rehab and all that and healed fairly well.

I’ve never been quite the same, but I can still do a lot. I’ll be able to train for months at a time essentially painfree without any real problems. But then I’ll have a flare-up like now. Clicking is minimal, but I do think some of it is soft tissue damage. I take glucosamine chondroition and fish oil regularly even when I’m not experiencing problems.

The pain right now is mostly in the middle of the knee from the top of the kneecap to the bone below. thanks again! and any further input is much appreciated.

[/quote]

jsbrook,

The healing is coming along nicely. I’m still trying to work on the swelling, and yesterday was my first “leg” workout since the surgery 14 days ago. Thanks for asking!

Stay strong
MR

Well, if anyone knows what to do to heal you do. Here’s to quick healing!

[quote]Mike Robertson wrote:
jsbrook,

The healing is coming along nicely. I’m still trying to work on the swelling, and yesterday was my first “leg” workout since the surgery 14 days ago. Thanks for asking!

Stay strong
MR[/quote]

Yes, I keep telling everyone I work with that my trainer is excellent (and dead sexy to boot!)

Stay strong
MR

[quote]jsbrook wrote:
Well, if anyone knows what to do to heal you do. Here’s to quick healing!

[/quote]