Top Reasons for Pain in the Knee When Squatting

pain in knee when squatting

Squatting Incorrectly

Squatting with bad form can give you knee pain instead of the desired soreness in quads and glutes.

This is because improper movement can put pressure on the knees rather than using the thighs and glutes.

Squatting is a weight-bearing exercise that has many benefits, including improved fitness levels, burning calories, and reducing body weight.

When you hear a cracking noise and experience knee pain, it is most likely that you have injured your cartilage or developed arthritis.

Squatting incorrectly can cause knee pain and leave you feeling discomfort in the joint.

Knee pain after squatting may be the result of a minor injury or overworking the joint—so it is important to take caution when performing this exercise.

Spraining the Knee

Sprains are a common injury that can occur when the ligaments that connect the thighbone and shinbone are suddenly stretched or torn.

They often cause pain, swelling, and difficulty walking.

Spraining the knee while squatting can be particularly painful and may cause swelling in the knee joint.

Injuries to the ligaments around the knee can cause pain and swelling. This type of injury is called a sprain, and it may be either acute or chronic.

Acute sprains happen suddenly, while chronic sprains develop over time.

Treatment for a sprain usually includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). Prevention of knee sprains involves good physical conditioning and regular exercise.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFS) is a condition that can be caused by overuse or muscle imbalances. The condition is often caused by running too far or too hard without easing into it, and by doing constant stair climbs or squats.

Taking dedicated rest days, and doing no running or leg workouts, might give your knees some rest. This will help you recover from PFS.

PFS is also known as runner’s knee. If you are running a lot and also doing squats, then you might feel the pain more at the front of your knee cap.


Tendonitis is a type of inflammation that affects the tendon, which is a band of fibrous connective tissue that attaches muscle to bone. It can be caused by either straining or overusing the tendons around the knee, causing them to swell.

Arthritis of the Knee

Arthritis is a joint disease that often causes knee pain. This also causes limitation of movement in the joints. With Arthritis knee often swells, stiffens and pain around the knee.

If you are experiencing this type of pain, it is best to see a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome is a condition that is caused by excessive compression of the iliotibial band (ITB). The ITB is a thick strip of connective tissue that runs down the outside of your thigh. Symptoms of IT Band Syndrome include pain on the lateral side (outside) of your knee, thigh, or hip.

The location of the pain can be one of the best diagnostic tools for differentiating IT Band Syndrome from other forms of knee pain.

Can squats Cause Knee Pain?

The poor squat technique can lead to knee pain. To avoid knee pain, make sure to keep your spine upright during squats and focus on using a tall posture with your shoulders pulled back.

How to Prevent Squat Related Knee Pain

Ankle Mobility Improvement

Ankle mobility is extremely important for proper squat mechanics—if you lack the ankle flexibility to sink into a deep squat, you’re at risk for patellar tendonitis. Athletes who have limited ankle mobility are also worse at absorbing impact during jump landings, making them more susceptible to injury.

Patellar arthritis patients typically have less ankle mobility than healthy individuals. This is because the ankle joint helps to control the motion of the knee cap.

When you increase your ankle mobility, you can help to take some of the pressure off of your knees and prevent pain while squatting.

Improve Your Hip Strength

Hip strength is important for controlling the knee from rotating inwards during squats and lunging movements. Females naturally have greater hip mobility than males, which can lead to difficulty with squatting and lunging movements.

Lack of quad strength can cause stress on the knee caps, as well as ankle stiffness and movement control issues.

First and foremost, to prevent knee pain while squatting, you need to increase your hip strength. This can be done by adding exercises that work your hips and glutes into your routine.

These exercises will help improve mobility, stability, and coordination in these movements.

Additionally, knee rotation inwards is a massive contributor to knee cap pain. To decrease the amount of knee cap pain you experience, focus on increasing your hip strength.

Wear a Knee Support

Many different types of knee braces and sleeves can be worn to help reduce pain when squatting.

Some braces work by redistributing pressure away from the painful area, while others provide more stability to the joint.

If you are experiencing knee pain when squatting, it is a good idea to speak with your doctor or physical therapist about what type of brace would be best for you.

Visit North Melbourne Osteopathy for pain in the knee when squatting treatment in Melbourne

The main reason for knee pain while squatting is always the bad form. Other than that muscle injury, too much stress on the knee joint while doing other activities may also cause knee pain. We at Melbourne Osteopathy can help you identify the main reason for your knee pain when squatting and fix your squat form as well.

To schedule an appointment, simply give us a call on 03 9328 1151 or book through our online booking system.

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