Look Good & Prevent Knee Pain
By: Rommer Dizon, PT
Glen Burnie Location
Yes, you read that right! Work out these groups of muscles to prevent or even help with current knee pain. These muscles will also make you look good wearing those favorite jeans! You guessed it, I’m talking about the gluteus muscles.
The gluteus muscles are comprised of gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. Located behind the outer hip area, these muscles outline the buttocks or behind of a person. Now, what does this have to do with knee pain you ask?
First, let me tell you the function of these muscle groups. These muscles extend, abduct, and externally rotate the hips. They are very useful when in the single-leg stance of walking. Yes, walking! Walking is so natural to humans that we don’t even need to think about how we do it. We just do, like fish know how to swim and birds know how to fly. Walking consists, in a nutshell, of a swing phase, stance phase, and double stance phase.
Now, the function of glute muscles is to keep the hip of the swing leg from dropping too much. This is done by keeping and holding the stance leg from adducting (crossing the midline/opposite of abduction, which is the function of glute muscles) during the stance phase. Too much adduction of the hip causes the knee cap to track more laterally, resulting in knee pain when you walk, jog or run.
Recently, society has been obsessed with enlarged buttocks, even undergoing drastic measures such as getting implants and plastic surgery. Strengthening and exercising the glute muscles can improve your looks but more importantly, it helps with a plethora of conditions such as preventing lower back, hip and knee pain.
Here are 5 exercises you can try to greatly improve the strength of your glutes.
1. Bridging/Hip thrusts – lie on your back with your knees bent. Squeeze your glutes together and lift your hips off the floor. Slowly lower your hips down to starting position. You should feel these in your glutes, not on your lower back.
2. Hip abductions – lie on your side with the bottom leg bent and the top leg straight. Lift the top leg, leading with the heel going to the ceiling. Slowly bring it down to the starting position. You should feel these in the side and back of your hips, not the front part of your hip
3. Squats – stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your hips until you are almost seated on the floor. Stand back up faster than you went down to starting position. You should feel this on your quad and glutes, not on your lower back or knees. There are also different variations of this exercise such as box, single-leg, and goblet squats.
4. Hip extensions – lie on your stomach with both legs straight. Lift one leg up as high as you can without bending the knee or the lower back. Slowly bring the leg back down to starting position. You should not feel this on your lower back, only in your glutes.
5. Lunges – stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a large step forward and bring your hip down, making the back knee bend to the point of almost touching the floor. If this exercise hurts your knee, try doing it a little less.
Hopefully, these exercises will help prevent knee pain in the future. If you have knee pain while walking, jogging, or running, consult your PT and they may be able to help you improve your gait and jogging mechanics.