Although not the most common spot for pain and injuries, knee pain can be debilitating and make playing golf unbearable.
As golfers what can we be doing to help promote recovery from knee pain, as well as build future resilience into the future?
Let's dive in.
THE BIGGEST MISTAKE WITH PAIN...
The largest mistake I see athletes make all the time when experiencing pain is simply doing nothing.
The doc says, "take it easy for a month."
Certain acute injuries and pain do call for rest, no doubt about it.
But, if we are experiencing chronic (long-term) pain in a joint, resting it is probably the LAST thing we should be doing.
Our body needs a degree of stress in order to create adaptations.
In order to strengthen and improve the function of the troublesome joint, a degree of stress needs to be placed on it to promote adaptation and recovery!
And stress is created through MOVING the joint and LOADING the joint.
The difference between chronic and acute pain
Chronic pain is long-term pain. It's often not caused by a specific injury and simply develops over time and lingers.
Our body is incredibly adaptable. Most instances of chronic pain recover on their own over time.
HOWEVER, if you are experiencing chronic pain that just seems to not go away, it more than likely is something that needs intervention of some kind in order to promote healing and recovery.
Acute pain is normally derived from a minor injury at a specific moment in time. Because of this, it is usually something that will disappear in the short-term as your body heals. For example, a sprained ankle, a jammed finger, or a strained muscle are all instances of acute, short-term pain that the body can pretty much heal on its own without intervention.
Now, in all cases there are things that we can do to promote recovery, but the point is, the body will heal, and the pain will go away.
If you randomly start feeling knee pain, take it easy for a few days and see what happens, in most cases it will go away on its own.
BUT, for my CHRONIC knee pain athletes out there, the 3 exercises below can be used to help build strength and confidence in the joint - helping the repair process and removal of knee pain!
The goal of these exercises is to promote recovery, movement, and minor amounts of loading into the knee joint in order to strengthen the surrounding muscles, stabilize the joint, and increase the function of it.
3 Exercises for Athletes with Knee Pain
A few tips:
[1.] Don't take exercises into high amounts of pain. For the most part, keep exercises pain free. Slight discomfort is fine. Pain should be avoided.
[2.] If you do have pain, don't throw away the exercise - modify it. Use less range of motion, use less load, try changing your stance or body position to be able to complete a version of the exercise with minimal to no pain.
[3.] These exercises are not meant to replace medical advice. Be smart and go see a doc if you think your pain requires it. I am not here to diagnose your pain; I am here to provide some generalized exercises that may help you battle back against it!
First, SPLIT SQUAT ISO
Isometric exercises are great for rebuilding confidence and strength in specific positions.
The lack of movement makes them less stressful and better suited for those battling pain.
Try completing this movement multiple times weekly.
If it feels good and is pain-free, the more the merrier!
Accumulate 1-2 minutes of holding on each side. Break into as many sets as needed.
Second, 2 DB SQUAT ISO
Same idea as the first exercise, isometrics are a great reintroduction into load and strength training when we encounter pain.
Try to accumulate 1-2 minutes in the bottom position.
Third, slow controlled GOBLET SQUATS
Goblet squats are an excellent, fairly low impact squat variation.
This third exercise now introduces the additional stress of movement, into the knee joint.
Complete reps slowly and under full control.
If pain is present, try limiting your range of motion or decreasing the load.
If it is still present, return back to the isometric exercises above.
Complete 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps each set.
If you experience chronic knee pain, try reintroducing training stressors into the joint via the exercises discussed above!
Do so multiple times per week, and watch as the joint strengthens, pain decreases, and function improves!
Reach out if you have questions for your specific instance of pain.
Founder and Head Coach - SCRATCHGolfTraining.com
Carter is a strength and conditioning coach out of the Milwaukee area working with athletes, in-person and virtually. Having helped hundreds of athletes, ranging from the middle school to the professional level and beyond, Carter brings a breadth of experience and knowledge to every athlete he works with. He launched SCRATCHGolfTraining.com in the summer of 2021 to help empower golfers to greater performance and longevity.
Carter believes ALL golfers are athletes, and they should be training accordingly.
Become a SCRATCH Athlete today, and start training like the ATHLETE you are!