Will Doing Yoga Hurt My Knees?
It is important to understand how your body responds to exercise. Because yoga is typically thought of as being less strenuous than walking, running, or lifting weights, many patients are unaware of the effects yoga can have on their knees.
The knee is a large and complex joint made up of bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Patients who injure their knee typically experience pain that may range from mild to severe. Some of the most common causes of knee injuries include overuse, overtraining, and not performing movements/exercises properly. If you are thinking about starting yoga, here is all of the information you need to help you avoid knee injuries and maximize knee health.
General Yoga Participation Guidelines
In simple, straightforward terms that relate to knee health, yoga can be described as a series of physical poses and meditation activities that promote musculoskeletal health and overall well being. General guidelines to follow while participating in yoga include the following:
- Start slowly – Yoga can be challenging. Trying to do too much too soon may cause injuries or pain.
- Work with a trained instructor – Instructors who have been properly trained know how to teach clients how to perform poses properly.
- Do not do poses that hurt – Some yoga poses may be uncomfortable. When discomfort turns into pain, your body is telling you to stop.
By following these simple guidelines, you will be able to enjoy yoga and have fun. Additionally, you will be able to create a unique yoga program tailored to your wants, desires, and goals. This program can exclude poses that may cause knee pain and include poses that are great for your knees.
Yoga Poses That May Cause Knee Pain
If you are concerned about knee pain while participating in yoga, you should be aware that the following poses have been known to cause pain:
The Camel Pose
Direct pressure is placed on the knees while they uncomfortably rest on the floor.
The Hero Pose
The knee ligaments are stretched and pressured.
The Lotus Pose
May overstretch the knee muscles, ligaments, and tendons if they are not flexible enough for the pose.
These poses should be modified or stopped if they cause pain.
Yoga Poses That Are Great for Your Knees
Poses that can increase your knee strength and flexibility and help prevent knee injuries include the following:
- The supported chair pose – Used to strengthen the quadriceps and hamstring muscles that support, extend, and flex the knee.
- The bridge pose – Primarily used to strengthen the quadriceps and lower back muscles. Also used to strengthen the calves, ankles, and feet.
- The mountain pose – Used to improve posture and strengthen the entire lower body.
It is important to realize that the benefits of these poses may only be seen when they are performed properly. As previously mentioned, working with a trained instructor is always recommended.
Seeking Additional Advice
You now know that yoga should not hurt your knees. You also know that it can be tremendously beneficial to your knee health. If you are ready to start yoga, but want more advice or want an orthopedic specialist to evaluate your knees, please do not hesitate to contact our office to make an appointment.