T Nation

Odd Feeling in Knee Post-Squat


#1

Hi guys,

I'd really like some help from some sciencey/medically folks, I'm pretty concerned about this.

I've been on the Stronglifts 5x5 for about 2 months now, but only training it twice a week and playing 5 aside one evening.

I'm up to 165 pounds (5x5), but only weigh 155, so a fair amount for me personally. After my last session on Monday, during which I got a bit, but not unberable amounts, of pain in my right knee. Today (Tuesday), both my knees feel...weird. They're not hurting as such, but the way they feel is making me squirm... It's kinda like nails on a blackboard, or kinda like teeth grinding. Does this make any sense? Has anyone else had this?

I have no fluid (phew) in the knee, but I am getting a lot of clicking when I fully extend it, and I've got the strange urge to try to click it.

So questions:
1. What is this and should I be concerned?
2. What should I do about it?
3. My feet naturally stick out a bit (rather than being straight and paralell with each other) - should I get my knees to follow this path? Surley this is better than them ending up inside the line of my big toe?
4. Should I try to keep my feet straight (which ffeels uncomfortable in the knee and stops me going low, too)
5. I've today bought some knee strap things. These have small holes in where the knee actually is to allow full movement. Is this right, or should I get the kind without holes?
6. My next session is Friday... Can I still add on the regular 2.5KG? I'm on a tight schedule becuase I want to 5x5 250lbs by crimbo so I can do a 1 rep 300lbs....

Thanks a lot in advance guys, I'd really appreciate some advice here,
David


#2

Unfortunately I'm not the medical expert or even seasoned lifter that you're probably looking for. But I have done and still do 5x5, and in the beginning I too felt some strangeness in one knee (about a 4 on pain scale) from squatting. I would only feel it when I did heavy weights within 20lbs of my 5 rep max. I stopped doing the heavy weights and would only do medium weight barbell squats for like 10 reps, focusing on perfect form (butt back, squeeze butt, chest up, and leading with the chest in the ascent). I also started doing bulgarian split squats for 10 reps each set, thinking that it would strengthen whatever stabilizes the knees. After a couple of months of on and off lifting I went back to traditional 5x5 and the pain/strangeness was gone. I don't know exactly why it went away, but it must have been some combination of rest, better form, and single leg workouts.

Regarding your foot placement, my feet stick out at about 45 degrees because it would be otherwise impossible for me to balance with straight feet while squatting ass to grass. Try to wear as flat a shoe as you can too (I squat barefoot in my own garage). Keep checking your form and good luck to you.


#3

I'm no expert either, but I had some knee pain when I first started doing heavy weight squats. I finally realized that it was because my form was bad. I was bending my knees too far in when squatting down. You should try to keep your knees pretty stable and really use your glutes and hamstrings more when you descend rather than leaning forward and primarily relying on your quads.

After I deloaded (which required sucking up the ego for a few weeks) and worked on the form the knee pain went away. Check out this page:

http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/excelling_at_the_big_lifts

Look at the videos near the bottom called "Squat - Vertical Shin" and "Squat - Non Vertical Shin".

Once again, I have no idea if this is the problem or not, and it may be worth getting a physical therapist to look at it. But this may be one tip that could help you. You also may want to try posting a question in the Rehab section of this site. I had a shoulder problem that I posted over there and got some extrenely helpful responses.


#4

I also got knee pain from squatting, got told its probably tendonitis. But with me its something to do with my hamstring being to strong for my quad, or something. I have no idea how this helps... but maybe tendonitis?


#5

Hey guys,

Thanks a lot for the reply. I'm going to rest for a few days, and then if I'm at all worried I'll deload :(.

Just to clarify, I felt a small amount of pain during the squats, nothing for the rest of that day, but then the day after I felt NO pain, but I did have this -weird- feeling in the knees. I wish I could describe it becuase it can be quite intense. It's just a squimish feeling in the knees?! Urgh.

I'm going to post this in the recover section as well, thanks for that tip.

David


#6

A massive error many make with alot of these overly simplified programs is assuming their body works properly when they start the program. There is a reason for DVDs such as Magnificent Mobility and Assess & Correct, most trainees bodies don't work properly, and will never work properly unless they focus specifically on it.

The main issue is usually that the glute medius and glute max are not working properly. If those two aren't working properly then your entire routine is shot.

Knee pain = poor hip muscle recruitment & most likely poor ankle ROM. Go buy Magnificent Mobility.

I'll tell you another thing. I guarantee you this is not a form issue per se, there are recruitment/strength issues with the glute medius and glute max. The best strength coach in the world could work with you on this and it wouldnt fix a thing unless you started doing mobility and activation work.


#7

Hi Shadowzz, thanks for your reply. I'll buy the dvd now. I'm already doing some mobility work: General PWO stretching, hip flexor stretches reverse bridge, glute kickbacks....I'm guessing there's a lot more to it than that though...

If I want to get someoen to asses my knee health, form and whether I have any imbalances, who do I see? I physiotherapist? A Personal trainer? I've met quite a few PTs who I don't think could tell me what's going on with my squat other than a basic critque of my form....

Cheers again,
David


#8

I'm not an expert lifter or medical person, but the Starting Strength book by Rippetoe goes into great detail on how to do the squat properly. I'm not even doing the Rippetoe program and I got a lot of help in my squat technique by reading his book.

90% of the book is technique, while only the last part focuses on his specific program, so it's a great reference for anyone regardless of the program they're doing.


#9

How can you guarantee its not a form issue without at least seeing a vid? I'd sure like to see one before I made this comment. Damn near everyone I see at my gym's form is shit and it hurts just watching.


#10

I said its not a form issue per se. Which means I think his issues are probably based first in lack of proper muscle recruitment. His form probably is awful, but I would be very surprised if his body worked great he just had poor form. Everyone's knee jerk reaction when it comes to fixing an exercise is form. Much more of the time it is mobility and activation based. While you are working on those two you work on the form.


#11

Hi,

I don't think my form is awful. I'm not saying there aren't issues, but I do take form seriously and have worked to iron out issues.

Cheers,
David


#12

I sure didn't mean to imply that your form is awful, only that its tough to tell without actually seeing you squat. Why don't you post a vid? My knees used to hurt when I first started squatting and with a few adjustments to my foot placement and the way my knees tracked, the pain went away and never came back. Also, if you are wearing cushy running shoes, don't, get some chucks or wrestling shoes.


#13

Knowing nothing else, it sounds like patellofemoral syndrome.

It might not hurt you now, but if you don't figure out how to fix your muscle strength and get things right, you're going to be in a ton of pain when it starts to act up.

I know as I've had it. Random clicking popping etc. Knee now burns a ton every now and then, but I've just learned to deal with it. Chondroitin and fish oil seem to help.

It could also be a meniscus issue as clicking sometimes indicates that.

If it starts to bother you, see a doc. You don't want something like this getting bad. Knees are important.


#14

FWIW -
I was squatting 3x a week (5x5), and weighed 175lb a couple of months ago. When I worked up my squat from 95 to about 175, I started getting a very weird pain in my right knee, mostly several hours after squatting.
I watched a bunch of videos, decided to work on my form, and dropped the weight to some 150lb I believe, but did proper ass to grass squats without any bounce at the bottom point.
The knee pain did not come back as of now, and my squat is 205x5 with good form, below parallel.


#15

Hey guys,
Relly appreciate the replies.

I took the day off training today. Will play football (soccer) on Sunday and squat again on Monday. Knees feel ok now, but I appreciate the problem could come back if I have either a muscle imbalance or a form issue.

Essentially though, having read your replies and in general about squating and knees, there is no way of telling what the problem could possibly be. I've read so many technical things, but I don't see anyway I can workout which muscles are weak etc...

I'll video record my squating on Monday and post that, so hopefully you guys will be able to say "your knees are doign XYZ, which indicates that XYZ muslce is weak, which means you need to do this exercise".

My other option is to find a personal trainer, but the ones I'ev met wouldn't have a clue about the level of detail you're talking about.

Can you tell a muslce imbalance by looking at the muscles?! Like, I think the muscles on the inside of my leg look quite big compared to the outer? Guess you'll see this on the video...

Thanks again for all your help,
David


#16

Hey MissionSuperman,

I'm not sure if it means anything but here's my experience.

I weigh 155 and I started squatting at about 165. When I first started my knees did the same thing, they would get a lot of pressure or discomfort or something in them, and I would have to pop them, I couldn't even sit for very long without wanting to stand up or something. (sound familiar?)

Anyway, I started looking into it, and a Physical therapist said that this is probably nothing to be too concerned about. The knee joints have to work a bit during squats, more than they are used to at first.

The biggest thing for me was that my hips were not flexible enough. It was a flexibility strain to stand in the squat position for very long with no weights, so my knees were having to compensate. I started stretching my hips after every workout and that a big difference.

Some other workouts I did (they all helped) were: Goblet squats, leg press, sprints, high box squats, and leg curls. I have, however, kept good 'ol back squats as my primary workout.

I now squat 245(still not to impressive), but My knee discomfort is completely gone, my knees have stopped popping, and even better, my toes have straightened out when I walk (I used to be the extreme opposite of pigeon toed). I looked like a ballerina with my toes pointing straight out.

I think, if you are squatting with right form (knees over toes, shins 90 degrees to floor, straight back, etc.), you are just waking up the joints and the stabilizing muscles around the knees. It was weird at first for me too, but having worked past it, my legs feel much stronger and more stable. Not to mention my squats are starting to go up a lot faster.


#17

Hi Ekcell, thanks for the response mate.

That does sound familiar, although more extreme, than my experiences, so that's encouraging. I too have had hip flexibility problems that are being helped by a lot of hip stretching. I do sometimes have difficultly keeping vertical shins, and sitting back on my heels (any tips on doing this?), although I can get parallel without my knees going over my toes.

I think on Monday I'm just going to go slowly back into it and see what happens. If I get no more pain then won't worry. Problem is I'm getting hugely different responses from 'nothing to worry about, just carry on' to 'if you don't find and sort out this problem and perfect all your muscles into exact alignment you'll problem never walk again'. Scarey stuff when it's about a joint!

Cheers,
David


#18

Don't know who this guy is but his videos helped my form a ton:

youtube.com/user/johnnymnemonic2

He addresses a lot of form mistakes as well as about ten thousand supplemental workouts for strengthening knees, hips, hamstrings, quads, and everything else you could possible dream of concerned with squatting.

For me, the real key was not stopping. On days my knees hurt, I would box squat or goblet squat, and on good days I would back squat. It was persistence that fixed my problem.

It probably would be wise to make sure your joints aren't getting shredded though. I'm sure you'll be fine if you listen to your body and to people who know what they are talking about.

Good luck my friend.