If you've been training or lifting for any period of time, chances are you've tweaked a muscle or two and learned to work around it. For me, that means being extra careful with my footing when lifting heavy so I don't put unnecessary pressure on my knees.
Now, if you'e anything like me or the millions of other out there with cranky knees, you need to take the safety of your knees into consideration when working out.
The two most common forms of knee pain are:
Obviously there are other types of pain and the degree to which you experience this pain may vary, but what we want to focus on is safely and effectively working out without irritating the pain any further. One way to do this is by avoiding certain movements.
High impact movements like jumping or running can be massive irritants. This is often because we start to lose our form when we become fatigued.
Walking lunges can also irritate knee pain. Single leg movements require your body's forward motion to be decelerated with the front leg and this places undue stress on the knee.
Another movement to avoid is squatting, especially if you can't maintain good form. Sloppy form will place a massive amount of stress on your tendons and ligaments and cause more than just knee damage if you'e not careful.
So, what do you do if you have minor knee pain and want to keep trekking? Clearly you're going to want to avoid the aforementioned movements, but you can also use a knee sleeve for support.
Knee sleeves will not prevent injuries, but they can give you the support you need to train moderately. They work by increasing the blood flow to you knee and reducing pain. Perhaps the best way they work in my mind, is that they remind me to be more cautious of my form. When I slide the sleeve over my knee and feel that compression, it makes me more aware of my knees and in turn, more aware of my form.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have, especially those in high intensity environments like CrossFit, is that training through pain makes you tougher. In fact, it's quite the opposite. So train smart, and keep your knees safe. You only get one pair after all!