live it active

Pain during exercise? Proceed with caution, please.

This weekend I was visiting my aunt and she was asking my opinion about a new workout regime she has started. It’s a high intensity, interval training type workout so of course, I loved it.

However, as I was reading through the exercises, my aunt mentioned that she has experienced significant knee pain her entire life. More specifically, that the squat always gives her grief. She asked me to watch her squat. I did and I didn’t like what I heard. Yes, that’s right, heard. I could hear her tibia rubbing against her femur (yikes). The rubbing of the two bones is likely due to either a breakdown of her synovial fluid and shock-absorbing cartilage over time and/or a genetic predisposition to this particular issue. Regardless of the sounds etiology, I didn’t like it.

I asked her to stop. I stated that doing full squats and lunges was not a good idea. I encouraged  her to engage in a partial squat (going to a 45 degree angle) and to never do another lunge again. The immediate pain and long-term consequences are not worth it.

My aunt is not the only person on planet earth who has avoided and pushed through joint pain. I’ve done it. You’ve likely done it and/or you will do it. All in all, it’s really not a good idea. The more wear and tear you put on a particular joint, the greater the risk for long-term injury.

It is important to listen to your body. As I always say in my Zumba class, “listen to your body. If you feel pain in your joints, stop. If it’s just muscle soreness, sorry, but you’ve got to keep going!”

Next time you experience a twinge in the knee or hip, take time to recover. Ice the area that is giving you grief (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off, 3-4 times per day). If the area continues to give you grief, see your doctor. They aren’t likely going to give you any astonishing advice, so I encourage you to seek the advice of a physiotherapist. Make sure you find a physio through a friend or coworker – it’s important to go to someone who is trusted. And even though your friend likes a particular person, they may not be right for you. So shop around.

Be nice to your joints. I think most of us would like to avoid having a knee or hip replacement in our lifetime.

Take care,



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  1. * Maria Craig says:

    A great tip for trainers ! Sometimes squats and lunges are not a must do. Thanks Morgan for releasing me from the guilt of not doing the essential squat and lunge . I will replace these exercises .

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 9 months ago
  2. * Suzanne says:

    A timely post – off to see an athletic therapist about my knee pain later this afternoon!

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 9 months ago

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