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What Causes Knee Pain When Squatting or Bending?

Knee, being one of the most important joint, is used during most of the activities. Movements ranging from running, exercising, squatting and other regular activities can cause strain on the knee joint. The knee may also be easily subjected to injuries, infections or other joint disorders. The body posture, form and involvement of other joints too play an important role in gait, proper movement of the legs and knee pain.

What Causes Knee Pain When Squatting or Bending?

While there are various conditions in which knee pain can be experienced, one of the commonest complaint is knee pain when squatting or knee pain on bending.1 It requires good range of motion to be able to bend the knees fully and while squatting, the knees have to bear entire body weight while being bent.

What Causes Knee Pain When Squatting or Bending?

Squatting may be performed as a part of sport, exercises or may be required during personal and regular activities. Bending of knees is commonly done during exercises, daily movements, sitting on floor and similar activities. In these positions, most of the muscles and ligaments supporting the knee joint are used; which need to be well maintained to perform squatting or bending of knees effectively.

Bending of the knee is full flexion and straightening the knee is full extension. Knee bending or squatting may be restricted due to pain, swelling or limited range of motion. Understanding the complaints, recent history of any injury, fever or infection and evaluating range of motion of the knee joint is important.

Knee Pain When Squatting or Bending

Conditions that can cause knee pain with squatting or bending can be related to the knee joint, surrounding tissues, injuries, body position and the ways of performing these activities.

Some of the common causes of pain in knee when squatting or bending include:

Joint Conditions That Can Cause Pain in Knee When Squatting or Bending

The knee joint is commonly affected by joint disorders like arthritis, most commonly osteoarthritis, which is caused by excessive wear and tear of the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune form and other forms of arthritis affecting the knee joint, can also cause knee pain when squatting or bending the knees.

Sometimes, joint infections or other infections in the body, which can spread to the knee joint, can also cause knee pain on bending or squatting. Such cases may have additional symptoms like fever, swelling, redness and warmth of the joint and may require thorough evaluation.

Other conditions like patella-femoral pain, anterior knee pain, chondromalacia patella, mal-alignment can also contribute to knee pain when squatting or bending.

Injury To The Knee Joint, Muscles or Ligament

Another common cause of knee pain when squatting or bending can be injury to the knee joint or to the muscles and ligaments supporting the joint. Ligament injuries, sprains, muscle strain, meniscus tears and other injuries to the knee bones can cause severe pain in the knee with squatting or bending.

Improper Body Posture Can Cause Knee Pain When Squatting or Bending

Body posture is important for healthy movement and protection of joints. Knee joint can get affected by abnormal postures, awkward gait and movement thereby causing pain in the muscles and ligaments. Poor posture during sitting, standing, walking, daily activities and while exercising can affect the alignment of the knee and its nearby structures. This can gradually progress and can ultimately lead to knee pain, which may be more during particular activities like squatting or bending knees.

Exercises and sports activities also need to be performed with correct body posture and positioning without compromising for any other problem. Along with proper conditioning of muscles and ligaments, poor posture during sports can cause knee pain when bending or squatting and can also increase the risk of injuries to the knee joint.

Improper Squatting Technique Can Cause Pain in Knee

Just as body posture is important during regular activities, knowing the correct method or technique to perform an activity, exercise or sport is equally crucial. When squats are performed as exercises, the correct technique, weight distribution, angle of the legs, etc. are important factors; which if not understood correctly can cause knee pain when squatting.

Similarly, when knee bending or squatting is performed during routine activities, knowing proper method to move the knees is important. Incorrect ways of knee movement, bending or squatting, overstretching of muscles and ligaments or exerting more pressure on places not required can all contribute to knee pain.

Managing Knee Pain When Squatting Or Bending

The exact cause can be identified by appropriate investigations depending on the complaints. Treatment involves correcting the cause as the case may be. Application of heat or cold may be helpful. Use of knee braces for a short period may be suggested in some cases.

Rehabilitation, exercises and physical therapy may be advised in case of injuries, arthritis and other causes of knee pain. Those with previous knee injuries, joint conditions or surgeries need to undergo proper rehabilitation to keep muscles flexible, prevent further injuries and minimize knee pain during activities.

Tips to Avoid Getting Knee Pain When Squatting or Bending

  • Perform knee strengthening exercises to keep front and back of thighs strong.
  • Proper warm up, cool down and stretching exercises are important.
  • Strengthen abdominal and back muscles with regular physical training.
  • Maintain proper posture while standing, walking and learn equal weight distribution on both legs while standing and walking.
  • Learn correct ways of squatting and bending knees to avoid undue strain on knees.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle and a healthy weight. Shedding some pounds can relieve the knees to a great extent.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 8, 2019

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