View Full Version : More knee questions.

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sean mcdonnell
04-24-2003, 11:47 AM
Well, this is my first time posting a thread so we'll see how it goes. I am 15 years old and I started taking Aikido about a month ago. I love it and would train at my dojo all day every day if I could. My problem is this; after beggining my class I notice that my knees are really hurting me. When I walk up stairs now, it's kinda painful or if a try to lift myself up using my knees. I noticed that it is also fairly painful to sit in seiza for me because it feels like it's streching my knees further than they want or have ever gone before. Maybe I'm just not flexible enough? If I were to put this into a question, I would say, is this pain I'm experiencing just normal strengthening of the knees or is something wrong and I should stop.(Not Aikido, but whatever makes my knees hurt.) I mean I'm only 15 and I've never had knee problems, I'm in the prime of my life! I plan to talk to my Sensei about it tonight.

-Sean McDonnell

Kevin Wilbanks
04-24-2003, 12:00 PM
You need to get an accurate diagnosis of what exactly is going on in your knees. It could be that it's nothing alarming and just cutting back the training volume and easing into a more demanding schedule is the solution. On the other hand, it could be symptomatic of some kind of misalignment, weakness, or biomechanical abnormality that won't get better without some very specific kinds of pre/rehabilitative training that should probably be designed by a physical therapist and/or experienced athletic trainer. No one is going to be able to give you responsible, specific advice over the internet, you need to be examined by someone with knowledge and experience. Try a sports med MD, physical therapist, and maybe even the trainers from your school sports teams, probably in that order.

sean mcdonnell
04-24-2003, 12:05 PM
Is it at least a little painful for you or anybody else to sit in seiza? I heard that it can take a month or two before someone is perfectly comfortable with it.

sean mcdonnell
04-24-2003, 12:08 PM
I'm also pretty skinny so I doubt that my weight has strained my knees. I admit I'm not the most flexible person in the world and I do use my knees much more now that I'm in an Aikido class.

Thor's Hammer
04-24-2003, 08:14 PM
I have the same problem with my knees, especially in seiza. What you may have is Osgood-Schlatters disease. It is relatively common among boys of our age group and results when the tendons in the knee are pulled in a direction other than straight forward and back, ripping off soft new bone on the knee in the process.

That's my problem, it may be different for you so of course see your doctor.

Daniel Mills
04-25-2003, 02:43 AM
I find seiza unbearably painful to the point of resorting to sitting cross-legged sometimes.

But I do weigh well over 300lbs so it's my own fault :)

Get it at least checked over by your GP, better safe than sorry, as they say. :)


Kevin Wilbanks
04-25-2003, 03:33 AM
I dunno about going to a general practitioner or internist about this kind of thing. I've heard some startlingly ignorant and out of date advice on running/athletic injuries that has come from them. It made me wonder whether the doctors in question had given a minute's thought to sports medicine since their required unit in med school.

For instance, a novice runner who had a form of tendonitis which is commonly taken to be caused by overpronation was told that the problem was 'too much impact' - he was advised to take a month of complete rest and buy softer running shoes. This is 100% wrong on multiple levels. 'Impact' per se has nothing to do with most tendonitis problems. Complete rest for chronic running injuries is nearly worthless. Overpronation problems are exacerbated by soft surfaces and spongy shoes. Many a shoe salesman who works at a shopping mall could have done better.

I wouldn't take any advice regarding such a problem from them, I'd go to an experienced sports medicine MD or directly to a physical therapist, if allowed. The important part is to do some research/asking around and find someone with a reputation for helping amateur athletes.

04-25-2003, 03:43 AM
once after a 10 days hiking trip with lots of climbing up and down big rocks (not real climbing, but i needed help of my hands to push the body up, and involved lots of knee work out) i had pain specially on my right knee, whenever i needed to force it, even to go up or down stairs. maybe it's similar to what you're experiencing, i dont know. anyway, after a while (maybe two weeks it went away). but i never had it because of aikdo nor did it refrain me from sitting in seiza or anything.

the thing is my right knee is not so good, makes a horrible crack noise whenever i pull my body up (no pain, just noise), so the reason why i had pain may be different from yours. i dont know for hoe long i have it making noise (i long time, as far as i can remember), but it dates from much before i started aikido.

04-25-2003, 04:01 AM
I used to have knee problems. I don't believe it is from seiza. I do believe it is from incorrect irimi tenkan technique. You must remember that your knee is designed to bend in only one direction. Thus when you turn the knee should be directly over the foot. It must not be over the foot, nor must it be pushed out to either side (lateral strain on the knee).

The best way to achieve this:

practise irimi-tenkan very slowly - as you step in turn your foot inwards so that the ball and socket joint of your hips is working (you may need to stretch your hips over time to achieve this). You can hold it here if you want (both feet on floor, turned equally inwards, you should feel the turn on your hips, no your knees). Then, as you turn and step back your front foot should be straight in front of you.

Pointers to show you are doing it wrong:

1. your front foot doesn't point straight in front of you.

2. your back heel has swung around beyond the centre line. (Ideally your front heel points directly to the back heel).

Following this my knees have recovered and I no longer have any problems.


(an alternative is to do irimi-tenkan on your heels - this reduces movement in your knee and helps to stretch the hips; however it is not thee way it is supposed to be done and gradually you'd have to get back to using your whole foot, but turning with the hips).


04-25-2003, 04:04 AM
P.S. many people practising Tai Chi in the west also experience knee problems (but very few in China). I believe there is often a tendency to rush and ignore how important the lower part of the body is in order to get rapid progression with upper body technique. As Ueshiba said - the mind of man is in the hands, the movement of the universe is in the feet.

Anat Amitay
04-25-2003, 02:30 PM
dear Sean,

I do Aikido, I have knee problems and I'm a university student of Phisyotherapy.

My advice to you - go see an Orthopaedic doctor, better if he/ she are specialists in sports and specifically knee problems.

The reason I advice this, is that going to a Physical Therapist will not help if you need to do all kinds of check ups. I don't know how it is in your country, but here only a doctor has the right to send you to x- ray, and other tests. So better go to them, have them send you to whatever they see right to check what might cause the pain, and if needed they will send you to a Physical Therapist to help you out.

My knee problems are from getting them slammed in Aikido training in the past... Not much to do. I was checked by my doctor who sent me to a few check ups and now I have knee protectors while training and also foot pads for daily activities since the built of my foot added to the problems in my knees. I also had a few treatments of physiotherapy where I was thaught some exercises to help out.

So, you never know where the real problem is, even if the pain is in your kness, you better check it profetionaly.

Hope you'll feel alright and continue to enjoy Aikido!


04-29-2003, 03:02 AM
Is it at least a little painful for you or anybody else to sit in seiza? I heard that it can take a month or two before someone is perfectly comfortable with it.
Yes. I feel it more in my feet (though I know the cause of that one). Yes it should go away.

The cause of your pain may be quite benign. Or not. I'd need to see you in person to be sure. In other words - go visit a DC, PT, AT etc.

I should imagine that the femoropatellar / patellar ligaments can get a nasty stretch in sieza position.

Here's a tip. Take a bathroom towel with you. Roll / fold it up and place it under your feet.

(Personally, I always dangle my feet off the mat. We have raised mats, so the effect is the same as with a rolled towel)

04-29-2003, 08:37 AM
you can sit cross-legged if you have some pain when doing seiza, or you can use knee protectors during training and make sure you already have a proper stretching before training. But anyway, listen to the others and go see doctor for better diagnosis.

04-29-2003, 02:29 PM

You were not very specific as to where the knees hurt. Do they hurt inside or below the knee cap? Do they hurt on the bone below the knee cap (location of Osgood Schlatter's).

Flexibility is an issue and most Western cultures do not do anything remotely on the knees and sit in chairs which shorten's the hamstrings. I recommend you see a sports medicine specialist: MD, DC, or DO.

It could be a case of tendonitis but you were not clear enough on the pain location. I've been training over 15 years and my knees still kill me when sitting seiza. Some old timer's cannot even sit seiza anymore.

sean mcdonnell
04-29-2003, 08:39 PM
Well, my sister had Osgood Schlatter's and my mom works in a hospital and she doesn't think that's what it is. The pain is located on the inside of my knees just at and below the knee cap. Do you think it would be a good idea to strengthen them more or to give them a break. I know most of you are not doctors or anything but I would just like some input.

04-30-2003, 06:29 AM
Hi Sean,

as a previous poster mentioned - see a specialist. I was told for years by GPs to rest my knees - when eventually I saw a knee specialist he said I had a rough patella and would be better running frequently (which helped alot) (pain was also directly behind the knee). He did a lot of leg manipulation before he came to this conclusion - so we can't really say!


04-30-2003, 08:46 AM

The inside of the knee generally suggests collateral ligament pain if it is along the joint line. You might also have them check and see if you are flat footed since this pronation of the foot can lead to medial knee pain.

Adam Garrison
05-02-2003, 09:27 AM
John & Bryon (or anyone),

I too suffer from Osgood Schlatters. I have good days & bad days with my knees, but suwari waza is always what sends me home hurting. I wear some serious knee pads designed for baseball that cover from the knee down to the shin - protecting the area where the patellal tendon attaches (which is the painful knob that plagues most people with Osgood Schlatter's). Does anyone know of any way to treat this condition??? I have been sorely disappointed with my conversations & consultation with orthapedic professionals, as there seems to be no recourse. I just find it hard to believe that with the advances in medicine and surgical techniques, that no one has devised some sort of procedure that can help the tendon track better & offer some measure of relief. I appreciate any ideas on how others have coped with this in their training.



05-02-2003, 10:05 AM

This wouldnt be an Aikido site if there wasnt a thread about sore knees from seiza. There is going to be some discomfort in the intial stages of training ie wrist, shoulders, back, knees. I used to ice my knees during lunch breaks at work for a good month. That seemed to help out alot. But if the pain is a chronic occurance, why not be safe and have it checked out.

Kevin Wilbanks
05-02-2003, 10:16 AM
Does anyone know of any way to treat this condition???
Unfortunately, I think the answer is no. My understanding is that it is a growth phase kind of thing that almost always resolves upon reaching a certain age. All anyone seems to know to do is to treat the pain and moderate activities that irritate it. Or, you could just wail away on it and suffer - I'd talk with the orthopedic specialists about long term dangers with this one though. I remember hearing that Shaquille O'Neal had it very bad in both knees as a teen (think growth rate). Apparently he just suffered through, and now his knees seem to function pretty well...

Adam Garrison
05-02-2003, 11:01 AM

Let me tell you...any knees that support Shaq up & down the court have got their work cut out for them! That was how it was explained to me when I was younger. I foolishly disregarded the advice dispensed to me & heartily participated in high school athletics despite warnings not too. They said that I should have taken it easy & let the condition correct itself, but I wanted to play sports. As a result, I never really grew out of the condition as most people do.

I did visit a specialist recently who offered very little advice. X-rays reported that I am not damaging anything (which was my primary concern - what would I do without my Aikido????), but they sure hurt like hell all the time. Oh well. I am willing to pay the price to practice until my body mandates that I stop. Any experiences with accupuncture out there??