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why do lunges and squats hurt my knees?

i know lunges and squats are great for the buns and thighs, but whenever i do them i feel like it puts stress on my knees! after a while it begins to feel uncomfortable and they make popping noises. anyone else have this, or at least know what the deal is?

i am a 20 year old, fairly fit woman with no previous knee injuries. am i doing the lunges/squats incorrectly, or do i just have bad knees??

thanks for any input,


Sat. Jul 22, 3:16am

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Seriously I am only 22 years old and I hear popping noises and feel pain from my knees.. is there is reason for this I am 164lbs at 5'2" does this make a difference???

Saturday, July 22, 2006, 4:33 AM

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the same thing happened to me and i found out that it was because of the way my knees were lining up. in order to do exercises like this, you have to do them in the correct form and you also can not over-do it. you should talk to a professional trainer about this since it needs to be demonstrated in person.

Saturday, July 22, 2006, 9:04 AM

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Most of the time when there's pain, it's bad form.

are your knees pronating? Are they rolling inwards? They shouldn't be. Get a mirror and make sure your knee is aligned with your ankle. Do not lean towards your knee. Perhaps try leaning away from your knee, and try to keep your back flat and straight (no arched back with butt sticking out).

Saturday, July 22, 2006, 9:06 AM

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probably your knee caps don't track correctly. it's a common problem in women because our legs don't go straight down from the hips to the knees to the ankles like men's do. our legs go in at an angle instead. exercises that work the quads, butt, thighs, etc put more stress on women's knees than on men's knees for that reason. either find a good trainer (i mean a good one) to show you how to modify the exercises, or go see a physical therapist to give you some variations.

Saturday, July 22, 2006, 2:28 PM

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there is a way to modify your foot position to help the knee cap track correctly. wish i remembered what it was...

Saturday, July 22, 2006, 3:11 PM

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Make sure your knees stay in line with your feet and that your knees don't go past your toes. Your lower leg should be more or less straight up-and-down and you should be sitting down behind, like you're sitting down in a chair. For lunges, I find I only have problems if I alternate sides - I do OK if I do all the lunges on the right, and then all of them on the left, rather than right-left-right-left - the knee is forced to stop your body weight if you don't control your momentum when you lunge.

Saturday, July 22, 2006, 5:30 PM

Add comment has some good form pointers & ideas.


Sunday, July 23, 2006, 12:28 PM

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My knees hurt until my form was corrected. Remember to push from your heel, not from your toes. It's slight modification, but it makes a huge difference.

Also, consider your shoes. I know proper fitting shoes and shoes that are correct for your gait are necessary for running. Since the proper shoes correct for pernating gait or flat footedness so that your heal strike is in alignment with your hips and back, etc, perhaps the same could be said for any type of exercise. To get good shoes, go to a place that specializes in running. I took my sister, who didn't believe me, and now she's amazed how she doesn't hurt any more after exercise! :)

I totally agree with other poster. Just ask a trainer on the floor of your gym. Most times, I find that they are happy to help.

Sunday, July 23, 2006, 1:11 PM

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This is helpful information. I was doing Yoga squats, and I really enjoyed the workout. But my knees did not and I stopped doing them.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006, 5:02 PM

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I had this exact same problem while I did track. A group of us were required to do lunges and squats (without weights) around the track, and none of them had any pain or problems with it. I did, however, and one day, afterwards, I could barely walk. I tried to run and almost fell flat on my face.

I went to a local knee/sports doctor, and he told me that in actuality, lunges and squats are frowned upon by most doctors, because the exercise does nothing beneficial for you. Yes, you end up with muscles, but you're not going to be using them the way you do for any activity other than lunges and squats. What's more, some people's bodies are not created to do lunges and squats (I'm one), and we can end up seriously injuring ourselves.

As it is, I was put on a painkiller, Naproxen, to help with the inflammation, for a month, and it helped a lot. Of course, the injury took place in early April, and I didn't get to the doctor until June. By July, I was able to resume throwing shotput and discus, but running caused me pain. It also hurt to drive or even ride in car because my knees would act up. Now, it's almost September, and although I can drive without pain (usually), I'm still unable to run or walk very long distances without my knees acting up.

My doctor diagnosed me with a problem that has do do with strain/stress on ligaments, but I can't remember what it's called.

I hope this helps, and if lunges and squats really do hurt you, DON'T DO THEM ANYMORE! Find other exercises and make time to run to build muscle. (Running is the best exercise, in my opinion; you get a nice butt and legs, and it's great for your circulation.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007, 10:23 AM

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I was doing launges with personal trainer, and she made sure I had correct form. Yet, my knees hurt.

I still do them occassionaly, but I don't push myself as hard, I don't really bend all that much.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007, 12:09 PM

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My knees hurt when I do squats, even with good form, and I'm 5'1", 113lbs, so not overweight at all (mid- to low- end of healthy BMI range for my height.)

Some people are just like that...

I do well walking up stairs instead (but not down!) It firms my butt and thighs pretty well. Though, stair machines at the gym make me dizzy. So, I take the subway a lot, which is a lot of stairs! Walking up hills works great too. Too bad I live in Chicago - not too hilly!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007, 1:17 PM

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To paraphrase the old joke, "if it hurts to do that, maybe you shouldn't do that."

My wife shredded her knees doing squats and lunges, and it took a year plus of inactivity and physical therapy to get them back to normal.

If it hurts, stop.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007, 1:33 PM

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Maybe you should try a stationary backwards lunge. My knees never hurt when I do it. But, I agree with the other posters-consider form, shoes AND surface.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007, 9:45 PM

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i went to the doctor due to my own knee problems and he said in women have bad knees to being with due to the anatomy of the body and everything like that. it is actually normal to have popping noises in your knees for women. not something to stress about. also.. he said women also have pain in there knees and gave me some strenghtening exrises to do becasue that is most likely the problem. look online for some exrises.. but be sure not to due lunges becasue they are really bad for the knees.

Sunday, January 20, 2008, 10:45 AM

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Knees are popping and I'm only 12

I lift weights but I don't do lunges and swats, but my knees are popping alot, can someone please tell me why?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009, 1:51 AM

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My knees sometimes ache from exercise or hurt during exercise, esp squats (plus i'm overweight and in my 40s)
The pain was less if I took a wider stance and pointed my toes out more. But then I pulled a hamstring! For me, i'm better off if I adjust when something hurts and try not to push too hard on weights and stretching. The bod doesn't like that anymore! And I'm losing weight, which makes the knee pain less of a problem.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009, 1:57 PM

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