T Nation

Knee Pain When Squatting

So I haven’t been able to squat for 7 months due to surgery, and no deadlifting for 10 weeks due to lower back strain. I have been working on my mobility in the time being and upper body stuff. However, I am just starting to come back to deadlifting and squatting and when I squat (just the bar) I get a pain in my right knee. Could this be a form issue or mobility? I guess I’m just looking for some guidance to head me in the right direction to clearing this up. THe last thing I need now is another injury or something to hold me back. thanks

Where is the pain and when in the movement does it occur?

pain is like right behind knee cap and occurs just above parallel and gets the worst right below parallel. Idk if this helps but its seems that a wider stance lessens the pain a bit

Does it fit this description? This is my best guess given your symptoms.

yeah kinda, except this only hurts when I’m in that position. And I haven’t been able to squat in like 7 months so would that mean my quads are weak and my patella is out of alignment? If that’s the cause I’m confused cause the very exercise that would solve the problem is the one that hurts (squatting).

And if it is that is it something I’m gonna have to work around like an injury? Or is it basiclaly start squatting again and it will sort itself out?

Your quads may be tight from not training for so long and they are pulling on your patella, causing a lot of pressure as your knee angle decreases. Since it only hurts during the actual movement, when the knee is at the angle that produces the most pressure between the patella and the femur, I would say it isn’t very serious, but you do need to do some work to stretch out your quads and prevent it from becoming worse.

I would do stretching, foam rolling, and mobility work for the quads daily (ideally multiple times a day). I would progress squatting very slowly and possibly switch to a low bar, more hip-dominant form of squatting until your quads regain their mobility and gradually change to an olympic-style full squat. I would also do assistance work to make sure my glutes and hamstrings were strong to take some of the load off of the quads.

THanks man you’ve been really helpful. After messing around with it some more it seems like the pain is mostly above the knee cap and possibly under it too. Hard to tell. I’m gonna progress slowly on my squat anyways as I have taken a lot of time off and my back is still not perfect. I was thinking about 2 months to get to 245. Sound too fast?

That sounds fine, but just let your pain be your guide–back off if it is not getting better.

Sounds like a tug of war on your patella between the quads and hams. My guess is tight quads, weak hams. Roll quads and do leg curls. Problem should be solved in a couple weeks. Any idea if you have anterior pelvic tilt at all?

Yes I do have anterior pelvis tilt, nothing terrible but it’s there

*pelvic

I will spare you some time. Go through these: articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/training-concepts-recovery-and-knee-rehab-with-buddy-morris/
and then go back to squatting. 2/3 sets of 20-30 reps of progressive single leg work… + in your case, stretching, tons of glute and core (obliques) work.
Don’t try to squat through pain. Not worth it.

I would rather look at these articles

articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/rehabilitation/solving-anterior-knee-pain/

robertsontrainingsystems.com/blog/knee-pain-basics-part-1/

^(check out parts 2 and 3)