Your Knee Injury Isn’t About Your Knee

Anthony Mychal

As a strength and conditioning coach my first goal is to keep my athletes healthy. For the past 3 months I have been dealing with knee pain and referred to Anthony Mychal’s manual for help. This is a guest post by Anthony Mychal. Feel free to drop him a question below. 

Ignoring pain and injuries is normal in the quest for athletic dominance. When it comes to chronic knee pain, despite the baggage knee injuries carry, it’s no different.

Chronic knee pain is one of the easiest injuries to ignore. Since most athletes will—at some point—have it, it doesn’t scream of being a major problem. Many good athletes can play for years while suffering through it. A mind-boggling feat. With the fancy gadgets, and specialized exercise techniques we have, chronic knee pain continues to proliferate. What does this say about our traditional way to rehabilitate the problem?

There’s a reason tendonitis is considered a chronic problem—it doesn’t like to leave. It’s one of the trickiest injuries an athlete can face. So as to not interfere with training, athlete’s are prone to do everything possible to minimize its detriment. Some might wrap it. Others, ice it. But the worst, and most common, thing athletes do are the leg extensions, leg curls, and other knee-centric isolation exercises.

All of these treatments focus directly on the workings of the knee. But when it comes to chronic knee pain, the problem is rarely in the knee. I know, I know. It doesn’t make sense. But from an anatomic perspective, the knee is a boring place. It flexes. It extends. That’s about it. If you make it excessively rotate, adduct, or abduct, you’re going to bereading this from the emergency room.

So take a step back and think of what it means to have patellar tendonitis. It means that, for whatever reason, your patellar tendon hates life. The patellar tendon doesn’t do much. And most people with chronic knee pain can lift their leg in the air, and both flex and extend it. So if these movements can be done without pain, why do we think that it’s the cause of the problem? And why do we think that doing the isolation exercises is going to “fix” anything, especially if those movements aren’t broken.

Yet if an athlete with chronic knee pain stands, supports their body weight, and starts running, jumping, and squatting, and they cry in pain. The knee doesn’t have problems working in isolation, it has problems when being integrated into the entire system during movement. The knee is still doing its flexing and extending, but the patellar tendon suddenly hates life.

This is because the knee is more of a henchman and less of a boss. It’s at the mercy of the hip and ankle. The easiest way to prove this is to stand on the outside side of your foot (evert your ankle) and try to collapse your knee inward. Doesn’t happen. The master equation is this: ankle + hip = knee, and that’s what An Athlete’s Guide to Chronic Knee Pain is about.

So if you’re suffering from chronic knee pain, and you’re toying around with modalities that focus on the knee and nothing else, seeing no results, you’re likely to be plagued with that problem for years. If you want to start thinking and moving in ways to fix yourself, click here to check out An Athlete’s Guide to Chronic Knee Pain. It’s a resource I compiled after being plagued with chronic knee pain.

After finally wrestling myself from its stronghold, I wanted to get the information out there. So I wrote a book since there are few training materials out there that deal with athletes that have chronic knee pain. Most importantly, I went through the process myself so I know the kind of pain you’re going through. As a bonus, there’s a pretty lengthy free preview that you can download on the main website of An Athlete’s Guide to Chronic Knee Pain. So if you’re interested in putting your problems behind you, you have to check this resource out. Click here to be taken to the main page.

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