Getting out of bed, picking up a dropped pencil, sitting down for dinner—we squat plenty of times every day even if we aren’t athletes. That means when our knee hurts, it can seriously impact our daily lives.

Don’t suffer through a knee injury and pain. Get the help you need now so you can get back to your day-to-day life with comfort as soon as possible.

What Causes Knee Pain While Squatting?

Before jumping into how to avoid and treat knee pain, it’s important to first understand what causes that pain in the first place.

Common causes of knee pain when squatting include the following.

  • Jumper’s knee (patellar tendonitis) – This is an injury to the patellar tendon, the tissue that connects the patella (kneecap) to the tibia (shinbone). It commonly occurs among athletes that have to jump, such as those who play basketball.
  • Osteoarthritis (OA, degenerative joint disease) – The most common form of arthritis, OA occurs when cartilage between bones wears down to the point where bone painfully rubs against bone. OA becomes more likely with age.
  • ITBS (iliotibial band friction syndrome) – ITBS occurs when the IT band tightens to the point that it rubs against the femur (thigh bone). The IT band is the ligament on the side of the thigh that connects the pelvic bone to the shinbone. It is a common condition among long-distance runners.
  • Torn meniscus – The meniscus is a cartilage found between two bones. A sharp, forceful twist of the knees can result in torn menisci of the knee joints. This injury is common among athletes.
  • Runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome, PFPS, anterior knee pain syndrome) – Common among athletes, runner’s knee occurs from injury and overuse, resulting in damage to cartilage under the kneecap (patella).
  • ACL tear – A torn ACL refers to an injury of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the ligament that connects the shinbone to the thigh bone at the knee.
  • PCL damage – PCL damage is damage to the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), a tissue within the knee that connects the tibia and femur.
  • MCL damage – The MCL (medial collateral ligament) is a ligament on the inner side of the knee. Like the PCL and ACL, it also connects the tibia and femur. Damage to the MCL may result in pain on the inner side of the knee.

7 Ways to Reduce and Avoid Knee Pain When Squatting

Some of the most popular ways to combat knee pain (or avoid it entirely) when squatting include:

  1. Proper warm ups, cool downs, and stretches – One of the easiest ways to prevent knee-related injuries is to properly stretch, warm up, and cool down before and after every workout. That’s because one of the most common causes of knee injuries are muscle imbalances, tightness, and joint instability.
  2. Strength training – Just as important as warming up/cooling down and stretching is strength training. This kind of training can correct muscle imbalances and help alleviate pressure on your knee joints. Muscle groups to work include the hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and quadriceps.
  3. Proper squat form – Make sure you squat correctly when you work out. For narrow squats, that means keeping the thighs parallel to the ground, keeping your back straight, and keeping your knees and toes pointing forward.
  4. Trying wall squats – Wall squats offer many of the same benefits as regular squats while alleviating pressure on your knee joints and lower back, making them great options for those who experience both knee and back pain.
  5. Switching up exercise routines – Never switching up your workout routine can increase the odds of injury.
  6. RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) – If you have a previous injury or slight pain in your knee, the RICE method is the go-to treatment for many athletes. RICE means you rest the injury (avoid exercising it for a while), ice it, compress it, and elevate it.
  7. NSAIDs – NSAIDs are a class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and they include medications like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). These drugs can reduce pain and inflammation, although they will not cure the underlying condition.

Treatments We Offer

As the St. Louis area’s knee care experts, we can treat knee pain with a number of effective solutions, including:

Conditions We Treat

The most common conditions we treat include:

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I squat through knee pain?

The answer to this question will vary by individual.

The two most important factors to consider are the cause and severity of the pain. For example, you should not squat immediately after a major sports-related injury that causes severe pain. If you have mild arthritis, however, modified wall squats can help you strengthen your muscles and improve your knees’ range of motion over time.

How do I know if my knee pain is serious?

Talk to your healthcare providers if you experience any of the following in and around the knee:

  • Pain that is severe and persistent
  • Tenderness and warmth
  • Significant swelling
  • Reduced range of motion

Get Started at Kneecare Clinics

If you experience knee pain, know that you can restore your quality of life. Find a deeper level of enjoyment in your day-to-day life with the help of Kneecare Clinics! Contact us now or speak to our patient advocate to get started.




Talk to Pat, Our Patient Advocate

Chat with Pat Cashen, our patient advocate here at KneeCare Clinic

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