T Nation

Knee Help


My right knee has been aching lately whenever I put it in loaded extension and the day after.

It "pops" consistently at right above parallel during an unloaded squat if that puts anything into perspective. It's been doing this for four years but hasn't caused me pain until recently.

I feel like my right knee isn't tracking right, and on single leg movements, it's always weaker than the left leg. Also, my right ankle clicks consistently when I walk but this doesn't cause any pain.

Is their a muscle imbalance that is happening? Everywhere I've read it says to work the Vastus Medialus, but my tear drops are my strongest part, even on the right leg. Is their a way to correct the knee so that it stops "popping" and tracks correctly? Is their any tests I can do to find out what muscle imbalances I may have in my right knee?


A friend of mine had a similar situation.

Clicking and popping is never a problem and quite common among people who train legs heavy( only in certain movements).

But the pain means there is something wrong in there. It sounds suspiciously like an ACL joint issue.I suggest you get it checked out by an orthopedics ASAP!!!!!!!!!!


I did some "exploring" of the knee and this is how I view the alignment issue.


When you're squatting or pressing for your legs, does your weaker knee track and collapse inwards?

If so, it's a VMO weakness. Push your knee out forcefully while doing the lift and you'll build strength up again over time. Things like squats and lunges help, but start lighter till your strength gets up.


I had the same type of pain in both knees. Turns out it was slightly arthritic. The test the ortho did is he had me sit on a chair with both legs bent so shin is at 90 degree angle with my thigh. He then grabbed my leg by back of ankle and top of shin. He pulled toward himself. There shouldn't be any movement. In my case there was.

Don't bother seeing a regular Dr. if your insurance doesn't require it. Go straight to an ortho. If you're in NJ I can recommend mine. He's worked with pro athletes.


I provided a better picture. In the blue circle area, there's a tendon or something laterally above the knee, that "(pops, clunks)" and you can see it visibly "move" whenever my knee approaches 90 degrees.

I'm pretty sure I can't afford an ortho as I'm a poor college student. Are they expensive? What types of exercises did they have you do to get better alignment?

Everybody says the VMO is weak in everything on this forum, but the thing is, I can feel my VMO firing on my right knee during any quad movement, but I can't feel my lateralus doing really anything... I guess tight muscles can sometimes be weak muscles? Is there anything posterior that could be causing this? Am I posting this in the right forum?


Honestly, sorry but I don't even know what he charges since insurance covers it. I ended up tearing my ACL (unrelated to the mild arthritis) and both pre-op and post-op he sent me to a physical therapist. The ortho didn't even prescribe exercises. I can tell you what my therapist has me do but I don't think it'd apply in your case since it's mostly post-op stuff that wouldn't challenge you enough. To put it in perspective, I can only leg curl 20lbs with my right leg right now. I used to do the entire stack with both legs for reps before the injury.


What you're describing is the patella femural joint. My advice, stop asking question in the wrong place and go to an orthopedic with more knowledge than here.


This is going to sound like a dumb, un-educated meathead reply.. So yes, I expect flames. But I'm speaking from experience, and if I weren't I wouldn't be saying this.

Did you recently switch shoes? I had always had a bit of a bum knee (from hockey), and I always had the popping. I bought a pair of Nike Shox and started wearing those to workout / train my clients in. For a month or two they were fine, and one day I started feeling pins and needles around my knee. I worked through it for about a month, not thinking twice about it. It eventually got so bad that I was limping. I couldn't figure it out.

I skipped every leg day for 2 weeks (I used to squat and DL with no shoes on, so I didn't tie it together sooner), didn't demonstrate a single leg exercise to my clients, iced it, tried to stay off my feet as much as I could, and it did nothing.. I was pissed off, and it was starting to get to me when, I saw a commercial for those ridiculous looking Shape Up shoes. It hit me then, what if it was because the shox heel was throwing me off.. I had only felt the pain once I switched to those shoes... I switched to a pair of Converse, and literally within 2 hours my knee was fine. I kept up my flame out, and within 2 days I was squatting deeper than I ever have..

Again, if I didn't feel this, and see this for myself, I wouldn't of said anything because I know this just sounds stupid.. I truely hope for you it is something as easy as this, because I definitely know where you're coming from, and how shitty knee injuries can be.

And ^x2 to that post, if the above wasn't the case. If you're in college you're still under your parents insurance I assume? Go see a doctor!


Ankle and hip mobility.


If you struggle with single-leg lifts, that's a red flag - not saying you need to be perfect at them, but a big difference side-to-side shows you probably have some asymmetries you need to address.

Check out my "Bulletproof Knees" article here on T-Nation. If it helps (and you need more specifcs), I wrote a manual as well that outlines the system in more detail.

Regardless, I would try and figure out what asymmetries you have (ankle mobility, hip mobility, hip/leg strength, etc.) and work to address them.

Good luck!





There are different things that can cause the knee to pull off track. If your VMO is not weak than, than maybe your VL is weaker and allowing the VMO to pull more than it's suppose to. Also take a look at your calf muscles. Roll your calf with a field hockey ball. Assess your own knee, are you stronger in the stand up raises or in the sit down raises? Try hopping on that stationary bike for a good hard 20 minutes. What do you feel more?