This article will discuss how to use your foam roller to treat pain and tightnesses around your knee. However, to understand how to use the foam roller for anterior knee pain (front of knee) you will need a quick understanding of how the knee joint works!
Knee Joint Anatomy
As you can see the knee joint consists of:
- The Femur (thigh bone)
- The Tibia (shin bone)
- The Patella (the knee-cap).
The patella has a special groove on the femur where it must glide (called the trochlear groove). There exists an important balance the medial structures on the inside of the knee (notably the Vastus Medialis muscle) and the lateral structures of the outside of the knee (notably the Vastus Medialis muscle and the dreaded Ilio-Tibial Band or ITB).
What will frequently occur in those who have knee pain is the lateral (outside) structures become TIGHT and the inside structures become WEAK. This means that the patella (knee-cap) is pulled out of its regular groove or alignment and produces PAIN.
What You Can Do About This Pain?
If these lateral tightnesses are causing patellar malalignment (frequently called patellar maltracking, patell0-femoral pain or patello-femoral joint syndrome) then you should use the following exercises to improve your knee pain
ITB Foam Roller Exercise
The Ilio-tibial Band (ITB) is a structure that runs down the outside of the thigh; from the hip to the lateral (outside) knee. As previously suggested, when it becomes tight it can have an influence on patella alignment and biomechanics. This exercise will help reduce the tightnesses in your ITB:
Gluteal Foam Roller Exercise
Tightnesses in the gluteal (gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, gluteus medius) muscles and piriformis muscle, these are your bum muscles, will contribute to or increase the tightnesses in your lateral thigh structures; including your ITB and quadriceps (vastus lateralis). In order to improve the length or flexibility of your ITB, you should also release your glut muscles with the following exercises:
What Foam Roller Will Be The Most Useful?
If you are suffering from knee pain because of tightness in your ITB, quadriceps and gluteals, the following foam rollers are appropriate for you:
- Medium Foam Roller
- Medium Thera-Roll