My husband has been complaining about knee pain for the past few weeks. He’s been riding his bike quite a lot and that’s what has probably set off the knee pain I would say. He knows my what response will generally be to any complaints about knee pain – stretch your quads! and so he has been – stretching his quads I mean!
Quads in case you’re not familiar with the muscles in your legs or the abbreviation are referring to the quadriceps muscles which are the four big muscles that make up the bulk on the front of the thigh. When they get overly tight, they can cause knee pain that often begins with a feeling of tightness in the knee. There may be clicking or a grinding feeling. A feeling that something just isn’t right in the knee and eventually pain. Sometimes the pain comes on straight away. Stretching the quads will usually help to relieve this problem and it will definitely help to prevent it so always make sure you stretch after exercise.
But sometimes stretching isn’t enough. I’ve experienced this myself over the years probably because I have a tendency to forget to stretch after exercise – or to just miss certain muscle groups – particularly my quads! They just seem like a hassle for me to stretch for some reason and I’m often just too lazy and put them off then forget about them, if I’m honest. Then gradually I feel one or both knees tightening up.
Massaging the quads can help release them and to correct the knee pain. It’s really simple! It doesn’t have to take a long time and it can be done at home.
Even simpler is a soft tissue technique which I use on myself, I’ve used on many clients over the years and I just used on my husband. The knee pain and tightness can be gone in seconds! I’ll try to describe how it’s performed and I’ve added a video below showing the technique.
Have the person sit with the leg out straight, but relaxed. Take hold of the knee cap with the tips of your fingers of one hand (I am right handed and so use my right hand). The fingers are kind of hooked (as though you were making a claw shape I guess) and grabbing the top of the knee cap – in other words the edge closest to the body (or proximal edge if you have any medical training).
If you imagine that you are picking up a tennis ball with your finger tips – your hand and fingers are in that shape – so the palm of your hand is not touching the knee at all, but instead is above the knee cap and your fingers are quite close together (more so than if it was an actual ball).
With the other hand, wrap the inside edge of the thumb and the pointer finger around the fingers of the first hand – so it’s kind of cupped around the fingers that have hold of the knee cap.
Then have the person who’s knee you are releasing (or yourself if it’s your own knee) take a deep breath and as they breath out (slow gradual breath out), place a downward pressure towards the foot with the second hand as though trying to (gently!) push the knee cap down toward the foot (toward the distal end of the limb).
What is actually happening is you are stretching the quad muscles and lengthening them. You may feel a creaking feeling as the muscle lengthens and the knee cap moves a little. A second breath can be taken and the stretch continued.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are a strong person – be gentle!! We want the knee cap left attached to the leg! There should be no pain. Go gently. The release can be repeated if you don’t have it quite right.
This is a simple, quick release that will give immediate relief if done correctly. Give it a try and if you’re not sure that you’ve got it right take another look at the video.