Bulletproofing Coaches - Knee Pain

May 26, 2019

A common misconception is that coaches and personal trainers live their lives without any musculoskeletal issues. Free from niggles or injuries and blissful in their pain-free existence! Watching a coach demonstrate a deep squat or a perfectly executed scapula push up gives the impression that they move so well that injuries must be uncommon for them. This, however, is not the case and coaches, given the nature of their active work, can present with frequent issues that require attention.


From working closely alongside the coaches at FFS, it has given me plenty of exposure to such issues. The first coach I would like to discuss in a series of monthly blogs post will be Sinead.



Assessing Sinead's Knee Issue


Sinead is an Animal Flow Coach, Personal Trainer and also trains in Olympic lifting. She recently reduced her hours in her desk job role to dip her toe in the fitness industry, and with that, her activity levels have increased massively.


She presented to me with:


  • Pain along the front of her knee

  • Pain in deep squatting

  • Running causing her issues


Assessing Anterior Knee and Palpating Patellar Tendon



Assessing Lateral Hip Strength through the Gluteal Muscles



Testing Prone Hip Extension



Assessing Hip Internal/External Rotation



Assessing End Range Knee Flexion



Main Findings


The main findings were the following:


  • Tenderness palpating the patellar tendon (the area Sinead felt was causing her the most pain).

  • Tenderness and tightness reported along the Quadriceps (thigh) muscle

  • Reduced Abduction Left Hip compared to Right Hip.

  • Weakness reported testing Gluteal Muscles Left side.



Exercise Programme





1. Trigger-pointing Quadriceps Muscle


Foam Roller works also to help desensitise the muscle tissue above the knee.

Spend a minimum of 3 minutes in total.






2. Actively working on Internal Rotation of the Hip Joint


The use of foam block/foam roller helps solidify the hip/knee position to give a truer reflection of Hip Mobility.

3 sets x 12 repetitions.





3. Actively working on Hip Abduction


Bodyweight version shown above.

The addition of a Mini-Band around the knees can bring a strength component to the exercise,

which allows Sinead to develop greater Glute Medius strength.

3 sets x 12 repetitions.




Sinead's Rehab Plan


Discussing the volume of training and coaching was a key aspect that we nailed down from our initial physiotherapy session. I made the recommendation to avoid the primary aggravating factors like running and deep squatting. This advice may seem simple but it can yield noticeable improvements in symptoms in the early stage of rehabilitation. By improving Sinead’s glute strength, hip mobility, and quadricep flexibility, the activities that have been causing her knee pain will become a lot more tolerable.


Please note:

The above exercises were prescribed following a detailed assessment of Sinead’s knee issue but can provide benefits to those as part of an active warm-up or training session. However, they are not the solution to all problems. If you think you have a problem with your knee, we advise you to see a Chartered Physiotherapist to get it checked out and given a tailored rehab programme for your specific issue.


Find Out More:


If you need advice, a physiotherapy assessment or feel your team/business could learn more about workplace ergonomics, contact Eric  at physio@ffs.ie or visit www.ffs.ie/physiotherapy.



About the Author:




Eric Cullinane is a Chartered Physiotherapist working with FFS Physiotherapy, a practice based on Leeson St Lower.


Chartered Physiotherapists have specialist knowledge in the field of work related injury management.


If you need advice, a physiotherapy assessment or feel your team/business could learn more about workplace ergonomics, contact Eric @ physio@ffs.ie or visit www.ffs.ie/physiotherapy.

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