Do you have knee pain while climbing?
Updated: Jan 20
Ever have knee pain during or after a climb? Listen to this pain!
It is typically an indication that something is mechanically wrong with your knee joint… and, more times than not, it is indicative of a range of motion or muscular deficit elsewhere along the core and lower extremity.
We often ask our body, particularly the joints in our limbs, to get into extreme and awkward positions when we climb. The knee is a complex joint comprised of a series of stabilizing ligaments (ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL), cushioning menisci, multiple muscle groups and tendons, bursae and fat pads, the IT band, and a large all encompassing joint capsule. These structures work together for the task of stabilizing and moving where the upper and lower leg bones join together. With this many functioning parts, it is easy for one or more structures to become damaged or stressed from a traumatic injury, osteoarthritis, poor body mechanics, a history of surgery, and many other health related events.
Specific to climbing, it is likely that the knee joint is often twisted in a weight bearing position which offers a fair amount of wear and tear damage over time. Many of these structures have poor blood supply, which in turn leads to a natural difficulty in the body’s ability to heal the damaged or sprained structure. Continuing to climb through pain and even swelling is likely creating a chronic cycle of pain, inflammation, and inhibiting the ability to heal.
Having an evaluation by a physical therapist is a great way to figure out the source of your knee pain and be treated accordingly. Physical therapy is a good way to create a long term solution for your pain versus relying on the common quick fixes like KT tape and general massage. More often than not the muscle imbalances need to be addressed to keep your pain away, to keep climbing sessions longer and more frequent, and have quicker recovery time. A physical therapist’s goal is to keep you participating in the activities you love or to get you back to the things you have had to stop due to pain or injury.
If you are having pain, or have had to stop or modify your activity, it is probably time to have your painful body part evaluated. Head on over to a physical therapist who specializes in manual therapy and fixing sport-based body mechanics, and we will start you on a path to better climbing! Our goal is to keep you active at Sportrock while you recover. And best of all, increase your climbing ability while preventing future injury as well.