How to Protect Your Knees

Do you know a lot of people with “bad” knees? Are you afraid that one day you’ll become one of them? Fear not! In this newsletter, I’ll teach you how to protect your knees.


What This is Not

I should note that I’m not a physical therapist or chiropractor, so this is not a “how to rehabilitate your knees” type of newsletter. If that’s what you want to know, I recommend you give Dr. Stephanie a call: 416-523-7950.

You can see her videos here:


What’s Missing?

             Obviously everyone is different, but if I had to pick just one cause of bad knees, it would be an imbalance between the muscles on the front of your thighs (the quadriceps) and the muscles on the backs of your thighs (the hamstrings).

Most people have much stronger quadriceps relative to the hamstrings, so the front of the thigh pulls harder on the knee than the back of the thigh can counteract, and you’re being set up for either acute knee injuries like ACL tears, or more chronic conditions, like osteoarthritis.

You are particularly at risk for knee problems if you’re a woman. Why? Because your imbalance between quadriceps and hamstrings is even greater. That’s due to the fact that your hips are tilted forward just slightly more than a man’s (for the geeks among you, women have a greater anterior pelvic tilt). Over years and decades, it adds up. The fact that you wear high heels isn’t helping. This shifts your center of gravity even farther forward, tightening up the quadriceps even more.

In fact, when I see a woman in high heels, I think knee pain, lower back pain, neck pain and even migraines. Actually, that’s what I think when the woman isn’t particularly attractive. When she’s attractive, I think other things if she’s wearing high heels. But I digress. Anyways, yes, believe it or not, you can get lower back pain, neck pain and migraines from wearing high heels.

How Do You Correct It?

             To correct this imbalance, perform more exercises for the backs of your thighs and your butt than the front of your thighs (and for God’s sake, stop wearing high heels. If you wear them to make your legs look longer, I have a better idea: wear shorter skirts. Nobody will complain. Promise.)

Exercises like deadlifts are excellent when performed properly. Here is a video of a good deadlift:



In addition, I would stretch the front of the thighs right before deadlifting. Stretching temporarily makes the muscle weaker, and that’s what we want. We want to weaken the front of the thigh and strengthen the back fo the thigh so that they pull on the knees more evenly.


The Notorious IT Band


No, IT doesn’t stand for “information technology.” It stands for “iliotibial band.” It’s a dense piece of connective tissue that starts at the side of the hip and goes all the way down to the side of the knee and shin. It is not a muscle. It looks like this:

In particular, runners, cyclists (and I would imagine, Nordic Pole walkers) have a problem with this. Often, it gets too tight from all the abuse it takes. But unlike muscles, you can’t stretch the IT band, because it’s much less stretchy than a muscle. So what do you do?

You either get a deep tissue massage (the kind that doesn’t feel good), or you can use a foam roller to roll it out. Here is a quick tutorial on how to foam roll the IT band and what a foam roller is:

Implement these strategies, and your knees will thank you.


Quick Summary


If you want to protect your knees, do more exercises for the backs of your thighs and buttocks than the front of your thighs. Also, do some deep tissue work on the side of your thigh. This can be done by either someone qualified as a manual therapist or by buying a cheap, but important tool, called a “foam roller.”


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If you like this blog post, it would be very much appreciated if you share it on facebook and LinkedIn, tweet it on twitter, and pin it on pinterest.

Do you have any questions?


Email me, and I’d be happy to answer them.


Until next week,






Know anyone who would like to get the information in this newsletter? Just ask that person to email me ([email protected]), and they’ll start receiving this newsletter.

500 Denison St.,

Markham, ON


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