Why do knees become irritable with sudden load changes?
Sudden load changes are the biggest risk factor for overuse injury. The knee seems to be one of the joints that gives us pain first when we increase our training too quickly. This is because the knees act as our suspension system during activity. We need strong knees to cope with the demands of day to day life as well as sport. If we do too much in a short period of time we tend to overload our system with mechanical stress. This stress takes it’s toll on our body. Even when we are fit and strong, overdoing exercise will still result in the same toll.
Why do the knees get sore with load changes?
Our knees are one of the most used joints in the body. Any weight bearing sport involves our knees. Sports that involve running and jumping place extra load through our knees, giving plenty opportunity to cause issue when we do too much. The body needs time to adapt to exercise. This adaptation can takes weeks to occur. If we don’t allow it time to adapt then it’s more likely to give us problems. Load injuries don’t always occur soon after a change in load. Sometimes it can take weeks for us to adapt to certain training stressors. It can also take weeks for overuse injuries to occur.
How do I know if I’ve done too much?
As overuse injuries can occur over a longer period of time we need to assess our training load regularly. Training load can be changed through total duration of time in training, intensity of training, and total amount of stressors in life. If you’ve changed any of these variables in a large amount you may start to notice changes. You may feel some aches and pains through your thigh muscles or knee joint after exercise or first thing in the morning. These aches and pains might warm up over the cause of the day but over time they may linger for longer. You may start to feel more tired during and after training sessions and may lose motivation to train. If a change in training load isn’t addressed soon after you start to feel any of these symptoms then you may develop an injury.
How do I revert these changes?
If you have noticed these symptoms or know you’ve made a change to your training load it’s not too late. The first step is to reduce your training load. If you haven’t developed a true overuse injury then simply reducing your training load to before the load increase may be the fix you need. Booking in with your physio for some massage and pain reduction strategies. Backing off and getting some massage is usually enough to reduce the impact of loading injuries. If you’ve progressed to an injury that doesn’t respond to a reduction in load you may need to take some time off to allow your body to heal. Booking in with your physio will also help.