Woman? Knee problem? You’re not alone!
It appears that woman have more knee problems than men, a combination of hormones and bio-mechanics seems to be responsible.
Research from Texas University has implicated the menstrual cycle as a culprit with a decreasing ability to control musculature around the knee as the period approaches. This mechanism causes a potential greater injury risk to the ligaments and cartilage of the knee. Without good muscle control knee stability is compromised and injury can more easily occur to the structures holding the knee together.
The answer? Back off more rigorous exercise in the week leading up to your period, perhaps using the cross-trainer or stationary bike as a solution as they are gentler on the knees.
The other problem is mechanics. Generally you girls a have a wider pelvis than us blokes and its more “open” at the front, this means that your thigh bones (femurs) have to descend at a greater inward angle than the guys
result, a tendency to genu valgus or “knock-knees”.
This angle of the knees places more strain on the structures on the inside of the knee and puts more pressure on the cartilage on the outside of the knee, as a consequence ligamentous knee injuries in women are more common than men.
Add to this the fact that those bloody hormones can soften your ligaments taking strength from them and you have a recipe of problems.
The answer? Become a bloke!!? Failing that get stuck into strength work for your gluts (bum muscles), quadriceps (front of thigh) and hamstrings (back of thighs) as these add stability and control when stronger.
The muscle that plays an influential role in this stability of the knee (and knee-cap) is the Vastus Medialis Obliquus or VMO for short.
This is the muscle above the knee but more inner thigh. It’s a lazy muscle and given the opportunity will let the other guys do all the work. The answer? Squats but done demi-plie style (ballet like) with the feet turned out and a wide stance. This rotation of the legs out means the VMO has to work harder. Descend and ascend in the squat as slowly as you can as this forces the VMO to try to control your knee-cap and knee posture. Do 10 repetitions 3 times a day.