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Knee Problems After Squats/Deads

I’m pretty new to training. I’ve only been squatting and deadlifting for a couple of months, worked up to 240 (my body weight) in the squat, and 315 on the pull. So that’s definitely not where I want to be. I’ve checked out a lot of videos on form, and read in Mark Rippetoe’s starting strength. Squatting and deadlifting has been of the 5x5 form.

The two things I’m aware of with my form is:

  • Butt tucking on the squats
  • Feet not rotated enough outwards

If I try really hard to correct these, or in other words, if I squat while really trying to keep the lumbar spine straight, and drive out my knees, I get a shearing sensation on the outside of the knee. This even happens without any load (when lying on my back). And even then the lumbar spine is not straight - I can’t seem to straighten it completely. I don’t feel any stretch, just the shearing.

Knees have begun to pop a lot, the day after a squat session, they can hurt a little when tension is put on them while they’re bent, as when standing up from a couch.

I’m 22 6’5", and have not been involved in much sports, just some free time biking.

Hope I got all the relevant stuff in there! My question is, why are my knees getting worse, even under such a light load? Will they never be able to adapt to that load?

I also experienced similar knee pain from working out with tight/sore leg muscles from competitive soccer matches. Was doing the Stronglifts 5x5 program squatting upwards of 118kg 3 times a week, and I think the soreness from the soccer games caused me to have bad form for a session or two, causing tight pain in my right knee.

Waited a few days, and actually on Christmas headed to the gym ( I work in China, so gym is like a comfort of home) and continued with squat and deadlift only to leave the gym with really sore left knee. Few days later I’m experiencing intense pain and pressure in my knees walking up and down stairs, getting up from sofa etc. Finally got a MRI after seeing a litany of half-assed doctors & also my Chinese is about 60% fluent.

MRI showed I had bone marrow edema which, although sounds like the plague is actually just a buildup of fluid which causes pressure and pain in the knee. Stopped squats and DL for 2 months still rode my bike to work (16km everyday) and the pain diminished a lot. However in the left knee (my xmas present) I still have a lot of snapping and grinding sounds when extending or walking down stairs. Not so much in terms of pain but the noise is bothering me.

I’ve been taking glucosamine 750mg twice a day and some weird OTC chinese herbal pain remedies. Pain got a lot better after 2 months until last week I felt up for a squat again, a few sets of low weight max like 50-55kg or so at 8 reps and although it didnt hurt at the gym, the pain came back the next day. Now its not like it was back in December or January but a reminder that this is gonna take a long time to heal.

Cutting out squats and DL has been a big challenge and I’m not staying as lean and strong as I was before, but I’d rather make up for it in the future then get osteoarthiritis at age 24 .

See a doc if things dont get better in a few weeks and in the meantime lay off the squat and DL no matter how tempting it may be.

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Thanks for the response. The popping in my knee has basically subsided by know. About the noise, that’s something I got as well (still have it), and it is indeed annoying.

I don’t know. I’m just kind of waiting it out right now. But joints seem to heal stupid slow. I’m thinking about snacking some animal flex on the reg, I’ve heard about people basically having their joint problems go away from taking this product.

I’ll see if I can get a vid of proper quality. I don’t think they are too tight, but I’m not really sure. Is there a simple test?

Generally I think my knees might be a little hypermobile.

Yeah I’m considering taking more supplements. Theres an older guy at the gym who tells me to wait it out because hes 50-something and has all kinds of joint pain from overdoing it in his twenties. Trying to eat a lot more tuna and salmon as fatty fish is supposed to be good for joint healing as well.

You mentioned that you bike. I know that many cyclists tend to have an overdeveloped vastus medialis compared to the rest of their quads. This can mean that your kneecap is not tracking straight up and down, but being pulled slightly to the inside.

That can cause a lot of pain during a squat because it’s pulled off track. I had this problem for a while and my chiropractor rehabed it one session with some active release techniques. According to him the VM comes into play during the last several degrees of extension. If you ride with a high seat and a long stroke you could just be overdeveloping it.

To fix your second problem, just turn your feet out before you squat. I am 6’5 240 and 23 (identical essentially). Crazy. Anyway, get a video and then we can see what is wrong. Are you trying to do oly or pl squats?