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Author Topic: Are deep knee bends bad for you?  (Read 6060 times)

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Online sampaguita

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Are deep knee bends bad for you?
« on: August 27, 2011, 08:41:18 AM »
I remember a thread in this forum that discussed this, at least tangentially, but can't find it because "deep knee bend" occurs too frequently...so I thought I might as well just create a new thread.

It has been established that very deep knee bends can injure your knees and lower back, even without weights. Does the same go with skating? Have you ever heard of retired skaters who had problems with their knees due to years of doing deep knee bends?

Offline hopskipjump

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Re: Are deep knee bends bad for you?
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2011, 08:57:59 AM »
I'm sure falling cause more injuries to knees.

Offline jjane45

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Re: Are deep knee bends bad for you?
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2011, 07:11:31 PM »
Are deep knee bends bad for you?
Yes, overdoing them is bad fore sure, overdoing them in poor form is calling for injury.

Have you ever heard of retired skaters who had problems with their knees due to years of doing deep knee bends?
IIRC Plushenko had multiple knee surgeries. I heard figure skaters nearly always have arthritis later in life (is it true?) not sure how much comes from jump landing and how much from sit spins (assuming the really deep knee bends primarily come from sits).

I remember a thread in this forum that discussed this...
There is a brief discussion in the Fooling around thread, a more in depth thread is Query About Knee Health, and an archive thread from the old forum Could weak muscles cause front of kneecap pain.

It's not just how deep it goes, the body alignment also matters. My shoot the ducks are way deeper than sits, but sit spins messed with the skating knee much more than ducks ever did. If someone could explain more about "knee over toes" vs "knee over heels" theory I am all ears.

I'm sure falling cause more injuries to knees.
Knee pads effectively take care of the falls, but long term damages to knees are more difficult to prevent.

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Re: Are deep knee bends bad for you?
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2011, 09:15:47 PM »
Knee pads effectively take care of the falls, but long term damage to knees are more difficult to prevent.

That is true, I don't know a single skater who wears knee pads 100% of the time.  I don't.. I only wear them when I plan on doing a lot of jumping, but I've never actually fallen on my knees with them on.  I have extensive cartilage damage to one kneecap due to falls as a teenager, and the other has been surgically repaired, however it now has tracking issues.  I also have OA in that same knee as the result of a repaired meniscus. 

My "bad" knee is not my sit spin knee (it's my landing leg) and actually neither knee gives me trouble doing sit spins (back sits are fine, though like my forward sit could be lower and faster).  Certain moves bother them (anything that has me stepping onto my R foot from a LBI edge for example) but even that is really hit or miss, as it really depends on whether my kneecap "catches" on the step forward, which is related to the tracking issue.  I don't (won't) do lunges or shoot the ducks.

I do not have a problem achieving deep knee bends on certain moves and I don't feel that the knee bend is contributing to any joint damage I already have... if anything it works to strengthen muscles which only helps.

Offline jjane45

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Re: Are deep knee bends bad for you?
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2011, 10:10:30 PM »
That is true, I don't know a single skater who wears knee pads 100% of the time... I don't (won't) do lunges or shoot the ducks.

I wear full protective gear 99% of the time, the exceptions being skating shows and the final run through before them, and really stay in comfort zone on those occasions.

Oh forgot the lunges, and hydroblades too then. And off-ice squats.

Offline Skate@Delaware

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Re: Are deep knee bends bad for you?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2011, 07:24:03 AM »
I'm sure falling cause more injuries to knees.
So true! My knees didn't start hurting me until I fell on them. I don't believe that deep knee bends are bad for knees. Knees are designed to bend deeply. Look at other cultures (especially the less advanced)-many of them spend a lot of time in a deep squat as a preferred way of sitting.  Improperly balanced musculature, over-loading of the knees, overuse, among many, can contribute to knee problems. 

Part of my exercise routine involves deep squats where my bottom touches the floor. I've been doing them for over 20 years off & on. But I make sure that I properly warm up and take it slow. 

As for protective gear, I haven't found knee pads that are comfortable i.e. don't bunch up behind my knee or feel like I'm wearing a huge ginormous pad on top of my knee (that gets in the way of my skating). I have boney knees-they stick out bad enough lol!
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Offline Doubletoe

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Re: Are deep knee bends bad for you?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2011, 11:03:31 PM »
There are so many factors that come into play, both with deep knee bends and knee problems in general.  First of all, you stress your knee less if you are on the ball of your foot with your heel lifted and your chest over your knee over your toes.  If you do a deep knee bend flat-footed without pushing your chest forward, it's a lot more strain on the knee.  Also, in the long run, knee problems for skaters commonly develop from an imbalance in the muscles surrounding the knee, not just deep knee bends.  That's why cross-training is important.  The repetitive movements in figure skating tend to build outer quads more than inner quads and hamstrings, creating an imbalance.  I know there is at least one physical therapist on this board who can explain further, but this is what I have learned so far from mine.

Offline Skate@Delaware

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Re: Are deep knee bends bad for you?
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2011, 09:10:34 AM »
There are so many factors that come into play, both with deep knee bends and knee problems in general.  First of all, you stress your knee less if you are on the ball of your foot with your heel lifted and your chest over your knee over your toes.  If you do a deep knee bend flat-footed without pushing your chest forward, it's a lot more strain on the knee.  Also, in the long run, knee problems for skaters commonly develop from an imbalance in the muscles surrounding the knee, not just deep knee bends.  That's why cross-training is important.  The repetitive movements in figure skating tend to build outer quads more than inner quads and hamstrings, creating an imbalance.  I know there is at least one physical therapist on this board who can explain further, but this is what I have learned so far from mine.
This is exactly what happened to my daughter. She was great at jumping, not so great at cross-training. Skating was her only exercise (if not for skating, she would be on the couch lol).  After years of skating, the imbalance from weak inner quads and strong outer quads was so great it caused major damage & injury when she had to run at boot camp.  It also transferred to her ankles because her whole leg structure was out of alignment which caused instability in her ankles and injury to them as well. She has been in the military for four years now and is just ENDING her physical therapy and just got permission to start running again (four years of physical therapy!).

I like to do squat exercises standing with a block under my heels, and I also work on pushing my behind out behind me (while keeping my chest "high" and lifted).

Bottom line-if you aren't sure about squats get professional help. If you aren't sure about your muscular imbalances-get professional help. Many sports physical therapists will evaluate you to make sure you are physically capable of achieving what you want to do. Even if you have to pay a fee, it's worth knowing what you should/should not do instead of finding out through injury & damage.

My daughter doesn't think she will be able to skate like she used to (she had some doubles and an uber-low sit spin). She hasn't been on the ice in the four years because of her injury. She just turned 22.
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