IT Band

Knee Pain? How To Train Smart

Do you or someone you know suffer from knee pain? A common knee issue for many American's is patellar tracking of the knee. Patellar tracking can be fixed through proper activation, strengthening and lengthening of specific muscles that will help realign the knee. Whether you are training for a marathon, triathlon, bike race or just wanting to move more pain free throughout the day this discussion will include the skeletal anatomy of the knee joint associated with patellar tracking, the muscles involved and how to train smart for an effective and productive workout.    

The anatomy of the knee joint is very sophisticated. The patella is located between the femur and the tibia and fibula. The kneecap is held in place in the front of the knee joint by tendons on the top and bottom and by ligaments on the sides. A layer of cartilage also lines the underside of the kneecap. The muscles and tendons related to a patellar tracking problem include the iliotibial band (IT Band), the hamstring tendon, quadriceps muscles and tendon, the lateral patellar retinaculum and the patellar tendon. 

The quadriceps muscles are hugely related to patellar tracking disorder because they stabilize the kneecap. Patellar tracking disorder is usually caused by a combination of things. The shape of the patella, too loose or too tight of muscles and tendons in the leg and overuse are typical causes of a patellar tracking problem. 

There are a few exercises to perform to help build knee stabilization to correct a tracking problem. One option is to strengthen the quadricep muscles by doing leg extensions, slow squats and single leg exercises. If the patella shifted towards the inside of the leg, performing wall sits with a small ball placed in between the knees will help strengthen the inside of the thigh (vastus medialis) muscle which in return will help externally rotate the knee for realignment.