Pain at the Kneecap

By Niki Vetten

Knee pain that occurs around the kneecap is usually called Patellofemoral pain and can be caused by tightness in the Rectus Femoris muscle or an imbalance between the Quadricep muscles that stabilise the patella. One way that this occurs is through weakness of the Gluteus Medius in the hip. The Tensor Fascia Latae muscle is an internal rotator of the hip so if it compensates for a weak Gluteus Medius, The knee sways inwards towards the centre-line of the body, and any exercise performed with the knee in incorrect alignment reinforces bad alignment and creates imbalance in the Quadriceps, which leads to misalignment of the kneecap and pain.

Also, if you have an anterior pelvic tilt, the hip flexor muscles tend to be overactive as pelvic stabilisers, which contributes to weakness of the Gluteus Medius. Those with kneecap pain can check if this is the problem in the following way: in Utthita Hasta Padangustasana without holding the toe, bend the knee to squat, only as low as is comfortable. If you can’t hold the knee stable and it wobbles from side to side then hip stability is lacking and you need to consult a Biokineticist to retrain the hip muscles, as well as to re-balance the Quadriceps. Sometimes knee pain of this nature is also just from tight Quadriceps, mostly the Rectus Femoris muscle: people love to stretch their Hamstrings in yoga, but neglect to stretch the Quads, or they stretch their Quads with the hip in a flexed position- The hip must be extended if you want to stretch the Rectus Femoris.

Pain around the kneecap has a variety of other causes besides the ones mentioned and if it is persistent, it needs medical assessment.

Reading sources: Ellenbecker, De Carlo, DeRosa, 2009, Effective Functional Progressions in Sport Rehabilitation Cash, 1996, Sport and Remedial Massage Therapy Sports Injury Bulletin: Gluteus Medius Sports Injury Bulletin: Knee Rehabilitation

Author: Niki Vetten

View Profile

Visit Niki’s Website: Yoga Anatomy for the Perplexed

Here are some of the other articles posted here by Nikki Vetten:
  • Lower Back Pain in Yoga Practice and the Lumbar Spine March 11, 2013 By Niki Vetten The Lumbar spine, unlike the lower thoracic spine, moves very little and should not be used during back extension movements, because the vertebrae or discs can be damaged. Any muscular imbalances between the hips, legs and lower back cause pain and restriction in the lumbar spine, and can ultimately result in injury. Hamstring ...
  • Neck Pain from the Hips March 12, 2013 By Niki Vetten Posture affects our necks negatively when there is anterior or posterior pelvic tilt because the spinal curves are altered and the head is carried in a forward position. The muscle at the front of the neck, the Sternocleidomastoideus (SCM) shortens and the shoulder girdle rounds and shifts forward, exaggerating the curvature of the ...
  • Reciprocal Inhibition and the Hips March 9, 2013 By Niki Vetten Reciprocal Inhibition is a process that the body uses to create movements. All movement is controlled by opposing sets of muscles, called Agonists or prime movers, and Antagonists that create the opposing force which returns the part being moved back to its original position. Movement is also aided by other surrounding muscles, called ...
  • Using hip muscles effectively in yoga practice – part 1: bridging and back bending March 7, 2014 By Niki Vetten Weak Gluteal muscles are very common amongst yoga students and teachers alike and cause Sacroiliac pain and dysfunction, lower back pain and hamstring injury. Causes and symptoms are covered in the article on yoga butt and this post looks at the effects of various hip movement cues taught in yoga. Different instructions are ...
  • Understanding and Managing Sacroiliac Pain in Yoga Practice March 11, 2013 By Niki Vetten It is common for yogis to develop painful sacroiliac joints, with serious consequences: dysfunction at the sacroiliac joint inhibits the hip muscles and starts a vicious cycle of hip instability and body misalignment. Painful sacroiliac joints must be treated and stabilised to avoid chronic pain and it is not advisable to continue with ...
View more articles by Niki

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match