Crouching and squatting usually affects muscles in the lower back and limbs. If, after crouching and squatting, you feel pain and weakness throughout your limbs, you are likely to realize that actually your body does not react well to this sort of physical movement. It may be a good idea to start doing less prolonged and vigorous exercise in this form, especially if your occupation involves sitting down all day.
Here are 3 quick tips to minimise your knee pain when squatting:
- Do your squats properly. Some forms of squatting are also very bad for your knee joints. They basically are not designed to take weight in this way. If you watch young children or toddler’s squat, they do this more like trying to sit on a low stool. Their knees don’t go beyond their toes. This is actually a much better way to squat or crouch.
- Limit how far you lower yourself. Often just restricting how far you squat will make a big difference to the stresses on your knees and supporting muscles. You will often find that by halving the movement, you can stop or minimise the pain.
- Don’t hold the position for a long time. This multiples the stresses and makes it more like that pain or injury may occur. Another problems is that the synovial fluid that lubricates your joints can literally get squeezed out of your joints and it takes movement to get this back into your knee. In the mean time they can get painful and stiff.
The rectus femoris muscle is the cause of pain in the knees, as well as the adductor magnus muscle, which is at the inner part of the knee or thigh. Pain at the back of the knees is caused by from the hamstrings. In the outer aspect of the knees, stress may be due to the tensor fascia lata muscle.
The main muscles which a prone to injury are rectus femoris, tensor fascia lata and the hamstrings. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is that they cross both the hip and knee joints, so are probably going to be more easily injured by crouches and squats. Many people expect that the quadriceps muscles are most likely to be injured. However, this is wrong because the quadriceps only cross the knee joint.
In disagreement with what most people think, posterior thigh pain is not actually the most common type. Anterior thigh and knee pain is actually more common. As human beings, we often remaining sitting for long periods of time. This is just because of how our generation has been brought up. When we sit the knees are always bent, so the muscles in the knee, in which the function is to extend the knee, are often weakened and stretched to the limit, in contrast to the hamstring muscles, which bend the knee and become short and tighten easily. This is due to the imbalance of power in the muscles. It is often called the see-saw principle. The muscles in the front of the hip are often shortened by this prolonged sitting, whereas the muscles in the back of the hip are lengthened and weakened.
Excessive shortening and lengthening in the knees is a very common cause for knee injury. This is often because of exaggerated and tougher exercise, such as crouching and squatting. Therefore, the rectus femoris and tensor fascia lata muscles become shorter and tighter in the hip areas, and longer and more outstretched around the knee.
When a person does crouches or squats, their muscles around the knees, thighs and hips become strained, as they are put under a lot of stress. The muscles at the back of the hip are lengthened to excess, whereas the knee contracts, becoming very short. Therefore, the muscles at the back of the hip are much bigger and stronger then muscles in other body parts, such as the knees. The hamstring muscles have extremely concentrated power, which is directed towards the knee. When the hamstring muscles pull harder, they are using more power.
For all the above reasons, after crouches or squats, discomfort and heavy pain can often be felt, which may be the beginning of future knee and thigh pain. Pain in the hips may also occur. It is better to either squat correctly, like a child, or avoid these altogether. There are also more specialised squats such as the ‘Hindu Squat’ that some health gurus believe actually help to repair knee damage.