The knees are the body’s shock-absorbers, taking the weight of the body with every step.
When you think about it, the knee is a marvel of divine design!
The knee is a hinged joint that offers the exact right amount of stability with flexibility.
The knee is also the largest joint in the body — and the most complex joint…making it very susceptible to aches, pains and injuries.
Anatomy of the Knee
When you’re suffering from knee pain, your surfing also suffers!
Whether you’re landing a floater, carving a bottom turn or smacking the lip, your knees help keep your legs stable while your body torques and twists.
Every pop-up can be unbearably painful, and you might find yourself limping home after your surf session.
When your knees have taken all the abuse you can dish out, they’ll start to ache (if you’re lucky) or blow out (if you’re doomed).
What is causing your knee pain?
According to the Mayo Clinic, knee pain is a common complaint for people of all ages — not just middle-aged surfers!
Knee pain can be caused from an acute injury, overuse, poor body mechanics, osteoarthritis, gout, and infections.
For surfers, often the cause of knee pain is simply wear and tear on the body from repeated pop-ups, and the torquing and twisting the knees take when you’re carving a turn.
How to get rid of knee pain
Barring any serious injuries or conditions (ruled out by a doctor’s check-up), here’s how to keep those shock-absorbers bullet-proof and rust-free.
1. Lubricate and stretch. Before every surf, warm up your knees with this great move from YOGA for BOARD SPORTS:
Stand with your feet close together, knees slightly bent and hands on kneecaps. Circle your knees in one direction about 8-10 times, then reverse.
Keep your hands on your kneecaps to help them track without pain. Move in a way that feels good — and stop if it hurts!
I like to do this move with a few slow deep breaths as I’m sussing the surf. You don’t want to hit the beach and paddle right out without taking a few minutes to warm up!
Click here to get your free YFS Pre-Surf Warm-Up, if you haven’t tried it already.
2. Strengthen and Stabilize. Stretching is only one part of the equation when it comes to knee health — you also “kneed” to strengthen and stabilize those joints.
Try one of my favorite knee strengtheners here, also from YOGA for BOARD SPORTS.
Exercise to Strengthen the Knees
3. Support and protect. Lose any excess weight to reduce pressure on your knees. Every pound of excess weight exerts 4 pounds of pressure on the knees.
That means if you are just 10 pounds overweight, you are putting an extra 40 pounds of pressure on your knees with every step!
Another fantastic way to protect your knees is to use therapeutic tape. Ask your physical therapist about it, or check out www.KTTape.com for videos and info.
My own experience(and many dozens of my yoga students/surfing buddies agree) — that using tape is much better than a knee brace.
Stay tuned for another blog post all about therapeutic taping.
4. Rest and recover. This last tip can be the most challenging for those of us who thrive on activity. I always think about the advice hubby gave me when I had to be out of the water for a while, and he said, “You have the rest of your life to go surfing…” — and I realized I didn’t want to compromise a lifetime of surfing ahead of me for the short-term restlessness of trying to speed up the healing process.
What about surgery for knee pain?
I’m not a medical doctor, so I cannot give medical advice.
But I would suggest you google the “placebo effect for knee surgery.” You will find an abundance of evidence suggesting that no surgery for knee pain s just as effective as surgery — and of course, there are no side effects!
My own hubby David blew out his knee after vigorous hiking, and the osteo offered arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Due to the timing, he put the surgery on hold — and low and behold, six months later (using the steps outlined above) hubby’s knee was back to normal, pain-free and functional — without surgery.
I also know of another buddy who had surgery which didn’t help — and only set off a cascade of subsequent surgeries, all to no avail.
How to Accelerate Healing
Your mental outlook is KEY in getting a positive outcome, regardless of whether you undergo surgery for knee pain or not.
Frustration and anger release stress chemicals in your body, which delay healing and actually aggravate your aches and pains.
An outlook of hope and optimism will promote the release of beneficial chemicals to support your body’s own natural healing abilities.
I explain how to harness the power of positivity in my new YOGA for HEALING video.
There are times when a slower, more mindful practice with gentle stretching and conscious breathing can be “just what the doctor ordered.”
What about you? Let me know in a comment below what aches, pains or injuries you may be dealing with, and let’s get you back up and riding again!
More Surf Yoga Tips…
Did you get your FREE Pre-Surf Warm-up yet? This 10-minute sequence comes from YOGA for SURFERS 1 and will get you energized and focused before paddling out. Get started today and start feeling better fast!
Avid surfer and certified yoga instructor Peggy Hall has been inspiring thousands of surfers to surf better — and live better — since 2002. Her upbeat energy, down-to-earth teaching style and positive encouragement will get you fit, focused and fearless on the waves, and in your life!
Join the YOGA for SURFERS Online Stretch & Strengthen Series to surf better longer!