Charles Keenan CSCS, USAW
Many of us spend close to 50+ hours a week sitting in front of a computer, driving or watching television. All of this time spent sitting causes major problems, including tight hip flexors and quads. As odd as it might seem, tight hip flexors and quads can result in knee pain.
Before we talk about solutions, I want to talk a little bit about anatomy. There are several muscles that become tight and and can result in knee pain. Today I want to focus on the rectus femoris (one of the quad muscles), the tensor fasciae latae (TFL), and the Iliotibial Band (IT Band). The rectus femoris is a multi-function muscle; it flexes the hip AND extends the knee. The TFL flexes the hip and attaches to the IT Band. The IT Band is dense connective tissue that attaches to the patella and patella tendon below the knee. After sitting for extended period of time, these tissues become "tight".
So what’s the solution? Quit your job, sell your car, and kill your TV? Maybe. However, a more practical solution would be to pick up a foam roller and learn how to stretch properly.
Let’s start with foam rolling.
Position yourself side lying on the foam roller. Your bottom leg should be raised slightly off floor, your top leg used to brace yourself/control the amount of pressure applied to the IT Band. Start just below hip joint and roll down the lateral thigh to just above the knee joint for 10 reps.
Position yourself on your side/slightly rotated toward the floor. Begin just below your waistband. Roll down to the crease in your hip (along your “pocket”) and back up to your waistband for 20 reps.
Position your shoulders and hips square with the ground. Begin rolling at the hip crease and continue down the quad , stopping just above the knee cap for 10 repetitions.
Here are some stretches:
Begin by elevating your rear foot. Keep your rear knee behind your hips. As you push your hips forward, be sure to keep your shoulders in line with your hips. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds.
While standing, elevate your rear foot. Flex your rear foot. As you try to bring your heel to your glute, be sure to keep your shoulders in line with your hips. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds.
Still have questions or need more info? Send me an email - I’m happy to help!