View Full Version : Cure for bad knees??

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12-01-2009, 09:21 PM
I have lately started training a lot more on a daily basis. As a result, my legs have started giving up on me. The area right above the knee hurts badly when i bend my legs. I can run all right but when getting in a horse stance, it starts screaming bloody murder. Any ideas ladies and gentlemen on what i could do to
1. Make my legs stronger so that they stop hurting?
2. Give it rest so that i dnt completely break them?

I am looking for long term solution really. I know it would get stronger eventually, but i am just wondering if i am doing tooo much.

Piyush Kumar

Linda Eskin
12-01-2009, 10:13 PM
Work with a good physical therapist or very skilled personal trainer to diagnose what's actually going on with your knees, and give you an idea of what can be done.

I find that mine just kill me about 2 hours after class, when my quads start to tighten up, and pull my kneecaps out of whack. Warming up and stretching fixes that. I figured it out when I did a retreat out in nature, so there was no sitting in seiza - just standing. By then end of day 2 I could hardly walk, my knees hurt so bad. It took me a while to figure out the problem was that I hadn't really stretched my quads much the whole time. Very painful, but easy to avoid/fix. I never realized the value of sitting at the edge of the mat every so often during the course of a class!

On the other hand, I have a tiny pain in my right knee sometimes, and that's a miniscus issue. Whole 'nother can of worms.

So the first thing to do is to figure out what's really wrong. Then you can learn what to do about it. A good physical therapist can be a lifesaver.

12-02-2009, 12:48 AM
Seiza will ultimately get to your knees unless its properly conditioned first. Get a full grown adult who's never seiza'd once in his life to immediately do shikko and stuff is a sure path towards that end.

So flexibility and tendon strength training is a good idea for the adult joining in.

Another thing is to reduce weight and have more overall leg muscles and good posture or body alignment. The difference of 8 pounds is huge when it comes to the knees. Imagine losing 30 pounds. Trust me I know.

12-02-2009, 05:49 AM
Maybe daily training of the same muscles is not a good idea.
You should have at least a day's rest in between workouts of the same muscles.
If you want to train daily alternate between upper body and lower body.


12-02-2009, 07:44 AM

@David- I meant training techniques themselves by myself or i'll be doing rolls or aiki-taisos. And all of the aikido techniques require one to bend their knees and move around. So, if i am training daily, it is going to ruin my knees.

@Ahmad- Good idea. I am going to work on reducing weight. I was wondering if there is anything more i could do like massage the place daily or something?

@Linda- If nothing else, i'll definitely stretch them out nicely from now on. I was thinking perhaps cold might be factor? Coz i train outside in the mornings or evenings here in texas.


Neal Earhart
12-02-2009, 07:52 AM

Linda's recommendation of seeing a qualified Physical Therapist is spot-on.

Your problem may be as simple as needing to strengthen your legs more, or there could be an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

I've had 3 knee surgeries (2xL, 1xR). The most recent was this July. I am still doing the exercises the PT gave me, along with the stationary bike, and aikido.

The best thing I did for my knees, from an aikido perspective, was stopping suwari-waza and sitting in seiza.

Now, I sit cross-legged. When I teach class, I bow in and out cross-legged. The only time I am on my knees is when I'm demonstrating pins,


12-02-2009, 08:24 AM
I have some knee issues so I have to be careful with some of the things I do. First off you say its is the area above the knee not the knee itself right? This sounds more like a muscle strain than a joint issue. If that's the case well as was recommended. Give the muscles time to heal in between sessions, massage is a good idea it will help increase blood flow to the area for healing. Use Heat/cold treatment. Use a muscle rub such as Tiger balm or Asper cream.

For the join itself. A few things that help protect my knees.
A good joint supplement that has MSM and Glucosomine at the 1,500 mg per dose . I use one made by Schiff that costs about $12 a month or so. I definitely notice a difference when I am taking it over when I am not.

Warm up the joint well before working out. Lots of slow easy stretches, no bouncing and just work the joint. I always notice an improvement in flexibility in seiza after warm ups compared to before. Do not force the joint to flex ,beyond what is comfortable, immediately, work up to it.

Avoid sitting in seiza for extended periods of time. Fortunately this is not a big issue on my dojo. My senseis don't tend to be long winded so we spend a lot more time actually practicing than sitting. But if I sense we are going to be down for more than a minute or two I sit cross legged.

When doing Swari Waza take breaks. Don't be afraid to say you need to stop and unkink your knees for a minute. Don't push much past the limits you know your knees will take.

If you start to have pain during class slow down. Be mindful to give the joint a break by either not taking more falls or taking time to get back up more carefully. You can still practice and learn without doing further damage.

If you do over do it and have pain that you know means an injury is coming take a break. Give your body time to heal. Slowing down for a few days is much preferable to being sidelined for weeks or months.

12-02-2009, 09:11 AM
I have some knee issues so I have to be careful with some of the things I do. First off you say its is the area above the knee not the knee itself right? This sounds more like a muscle strain than a joint issue.

It sounds to me like an inflammation of the quadriceps tendon or maybe possible bursitis, but this is why we go to doctors: to find out what the problem is. Whether ice, heat, massage, anti-inflammatory, or other intervention is called for really depends on the nature of the problem. Generally, though, tendonitis is an overuse injury -- where "overuse" simply means that you tried to do too much for your current level of conditioning.

12-02-2009, 09:31 AM

@Neal- Yeah, i know i should goto a physical therapist, but the problem is that i am doing my PhD and i am an international student, so i am not very keen to spend the little money i have on going to a doctor before exhausting all other possibilities. :)

@Cherie- Appreciate all the advice ma'am. I'll definitely take a break rather then getting sidelined.


12-02-2009, 10:03 AM
First let me say that I would not do what I did. Mine were sore after I started doing iaido and aikido. Mine hurt just above the knees as well. I just sort of dealt with it. I went home, rested, massaged them and took hot showers. It eventually went away once my muscles were stronger. The responsible thing to do would be get it checked out since you don't know the severity of your problem. Maybe cutting back a tad will do some good until the pain has been taken care of.

12-02-2009, 10:07 AM
Oh, you can also try an ice massage then warm soak. Take a paper cup, fill it with water and freeze it. Then, you can peel away the paper and massage the area with the ice. Then you could either soak it in warm/hot water or use a heating pad. This was a tip I got from a massage therapist to use for my shin splints, but I imagine it could help you there as well.

Lyle Laizure
12-02-2009, 10:45 AM
Leg curls, leg press, leg extensions, and squats. Start light weight and build from there. It worked for me and I'm more than a big guy. lol

Janet Rosen
12-02-2009, 11:20 AM
We are giving this poor fellow a grab bag of info, some of which is pertinent to arthritis in the knee (oral supplements), some of whihc is pertinent to tight muscles, some of which is pertinent to weak muscles.... sheesh....:-)
Above the knee is likely muscle pain, probably the quads.
There may be an imbalance in which part of the quads are strong and which weak, and there may be trigger points in one or more parts of the quads. This is important to find out before you just start exercising the legs, so I heartily agree with those who suggest you find either a Physical Therapist or an athletic trainer or other certified rehab person who will actually assess hands-on what the issues are.
Please also remember that stretching is not safe on muscles that are cold (can create small tears) and is not effective on muscles that have trigger points. Actually, strength training is also not very effective on muscles that have trigger points. And in my experience many of the folks who have above the knee pain DO have trigger points in the quads.

12-02-2009, 11:43 AM

@ashley- Thanks for that particular bit of info. I'll try that out. I guess i forgot that i have shin splints too (had that for a year but i soldiered on n off n it disappeared over time). I guess i was just wondering if i am working it to breaking point or something.

@Mary- Yeah, i am overdoing it. I'll take a break :).

@Lyle- Thanks for the tip sir, i am 15 pounds overweight so i guess my first idea is just to start losing weight (n trust me, its hard enough being indian :D, we r not pre-disposed towards having good bodies).

@Janet- I am cool with it ma'am. Trust me, i am gonna filter out and run it through my sensei too but i am just glad to learn all the different scenarios.

Thank you all once again,

12-02-2009, 12:48 PM
Piyush, "taking a break" may not be what's indicated. Get a proper diagnosis and advice from a qualified person. Unless your sensei is an MD or PT, that's not him/her.

12-02-2009, 01:08 PM

@mary- Thanks for the concern :). Really do appreciate it. But i do not know if my insurance would cover it. And in india, we were never given ne medicine for cold or fever or anything else for that matter unless it persists and/or is dangerous.I brought this on myself and i am sure it will take care of itself. Rest is enough and nature takes care of the rest.

12-02-2009, 01:24 PM
Hi Piyush,
You may want to check out ; http://www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/archive/knee.php

that website has a lot of really good info. on all kinds of injuries.

Here are a few things I found:
Aikido knee walking and seiza puts your knee joint oftentimes in traction. This is not usually encountered by people and is something new. It is completely different and will tend to 'soften' up the joints. Arguably this is by design...but you can definitely do this to excess.

For instance, it is possible to introduce too much laxity into this (or any) joint, or asymmetrical laxity (i.e. too much slop in one side/axis). Be careful. If you can rule out an acute injury; i would gently suggest that there may be a mis-use pattern in movement. Listen inside your body to see if things are fitting as they are supposed to. Approach the pattern like a koan to solve.

Also; it seems (again barring an actual injury) that the onset of knee pain in a lot of cases (I AM NOT A DOCTOR!.. this is IMO) is due to asymmetry in the insides to outsides of the leg. The adductors (i.e. the muscles on the inside of the thigh that move the legs toward the body's centerline) are too tight and the abductors (i.e. the muscles that move the leg outwards away from the body's centerline) too weak.

Less common but totally within the realm of possibility are likewise to have such length-tension imbalances between front and back (i.e. hamstrings/quads). Other imbalances also can exist. Generally ;stretch everything that is too tight. Know that you will have a blindspot for the muscles that are the most tense...untill they start to soften up too.

Foam rolling on the TFL and adductors really can't hurt. Scratch that. at first it will hurt like a bugger; but it will help...there's lots of info on that.

Figure this out. Listen in your body. Heal it up.
Good Luck. you only have the one set of wheels.

p.s. go to the doctor if you can, if you suspect injury (i suspect you do suspect it). Good Luck.

12-02-2009, 02:26 PM

@ Josh- Good link. N yeah, ur right, i am a little afraid for my legs coz i have never been so passionate about something and i would like to avoid putting a stop to it by my own actions (if it happens, it happens but i am still gonna try). Its not the knee but the quads that hurt. I talked to my sensei and he confirms that it is coz i am working those muscles a lot more given the stances and the way one must move in aikido. And perhaps also the idea is i should stop training in the cold before i condition myself more (young but not that young either i guess). Right now sitting here with heating pads, i feel comfortable with those muscles. But hey, appreciate all the information you guys have given. I know now what to do if anything ever really happens to me or anybody else for that matters.

Three cheers for aikiweb and all the gr8 people who actually make it happen :D.
Thank you, again :)