T Nation

Knee Pain and Squats


Hi guys I have a question:

The other day I was at the gym squatting, and some big guy comes up to me and tells me that my knees are going too far ahead of my toes. He said I could try fixing it by practicing squatting in the smith machine so I did it:
1. It made no difference, I guess it's a flexibility issue. I'm working on that.
2. After about 2 weeks of training in the smith machine, I had some horrible knee pain in my left knee, which forced me to stop.

I figured I'd take some time off to let my knee get better, but it's been 2 months and the pain is not going away...and now my legs are shrinking :frowning:

The pain is on the upper inner part of my knee and it usually hurts when I bend the knee in a certain position. I tried searching the forums for knee pain but everybody says something different. If it is at all relevant, my knees click whenever I bend them really fast (for as long as I remember).

My question is what could I do to make the pain go away: I'm taking fish oil, stretching everyday and today I'm going to experiment to see what other exercises I can do without causing pain. I'm going to buy some joint supplement when I get enough money, and I don't have enough money to see a doctor yet. Is there anything I'm missing or is the doctor my only hope?

If this is a redundant topic, I apologize, any help or links would be awesome. Thanks.


That is probably some of the worst advice I have heard. I do not see how the smith machine would help in any way to correct a faulty squatting pattern. If anything, it may contribute to new faulting movement patterns in the squat.

I would be curious as to how the guy determined that your knees were too far ahead of your toes. Were you having any knee pain before squatting in the smith machine?

Can you post a picture marking where exactly the knee pain is? Even better, can you post a video of your squatting technique?

Here is a photo that I feel helps point people in the right direction in terms of squat technique/form and where your knee placement can be expected to go. It will vary person to person, but as a general guide I think it is spot on: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_DQQnVR1R8NI/TSEXWhpqGGI/AAAAAAAAEfU/i5GmNOJ24eQ/s1600/squat.jpg


Thanks for the reply.

Yeah I didn't really know enough about the smith machine to doubt this guy. He's a pretty big guy, one of the few at my gym. He was waiting to use the squat rack and was watching me squat and told me how far ahead of my toes me knees were.

No, I never had the knee pain before the I used the smith machine. I'm positive the pain came from that machine I just don't know why. My "bad" form never caused me any trouble until I took this guy's advice and tried the smith machine.

According to the picture you posted, my form looks like the middle pic except my knees are much further ahead.


Here's a picture of where the pain is.






I don't get why the pics aren't uploading...you click choose file, select pic, then submit right?


There we go, this is some pic I found off google. That's the exact spot where the pain is.


Here's a pic I just took of myself squatting down. My flexibility is extremely bad and for some reason it's getting worse. I used to be able to go all the way to the ground but now I can't go below parallel without my back rounding. I think it's pretty obvious that my knees go way beyond my toes. Sorry for the bad angle and quality. I've started stretching more frequently and I've started foam rolling. Not sure what else to do.


It's hard to get a good view from that photo and hard to give good advice based off of a static photo. A video of you squatting would be better, but I would assume you are not pushing your hips back far enough and probably have tight hip flexors.

How tall are you by the way?


I'm 5 foot 9 in. I work out alone so I cant really get a video of myself. And yeah, I recently realized that my hip flexors are tight. I've been doing various hip stretches and rolling it out over a tennis ball but so far, not much difference.