An Athlete’s Guide to Chronic Knee Pain
Got patellar tendonitis? Jumper’s knee (patellar tendonosis)? How about patellar mistracking? Chondromalacia? Or maybe your knees are always in pain, for reasons you don’t quite know yet?
I’m going to tell you two things. If you’re an athlete with chronic knee pain, you NEED to know these two things.
You have a friend named Kong. Kong likes touching hot things. Don’t ask why. That’s just Kong. He’s a weird guy.
You’re a good friend. You don’t want Kong to burn himself, so you scour his house, getting rid of everything that can potentially burn him. Kong lives happily ever after, right?
Not really. Because Kong is limited to a “fake”
world. If he ever returns to the real world, he’s gonna’ get burned. It’s possible to live pain free in a fake world without really being healed.
The root of Kong’s problem is his wacky tendency to touch hot things, not necessarily the pain he experiences as a result of his strange behavior.
Pain is just one piece to a much larger puzzle.
So here you are. You can’t run. You can’t jump. You can’t squat. Even standing up from the toilet makes you wince. Your knees are in shambles.
And there you are. In bed. Waiting for a miracle. Waiting for the physiology gnomes to tap your knee with a magical star wand.
Because, well, that’s everyone recommends. Rest. Rest. Rest some more. Rest. Rest. Rest. Rest. Rest.
But “rest” is the cheap answer.
You can avoid the sports and activities you love and feel OK, but when you go back to them…? You get burned.
Most rehab theories are based on an arbitrary concept of being damaged one day, resting for a little bit, then being magically healed overnight.
This is true and false at the same time. Your body is amazing. It can heal itself. But as long as you still have the behaviors that forced the damage, you’re going to continually breakdown.
This is Kong’s paradox.
You can eliminate the pain (feel healthy) without fixing the root of pain.
And if you continually ignore the root of the pain? Your short-term inflammation (knee pain, tendonitis) turns into long-term tissue degeneration (jumper’s knee, tendonosis).
The first thing you need to know is this: rest isn’t going to permanently fix your knee pain. You have to fix the root of your problem, and the root is (not surprisingly) the second thing you need to know.
You can’t make the following logical mistake: thinking your knee is the thing that’s broken because the knee itself is the thing in pain.
Take a look at the pictures below. I cropped them out of some random YouTube videos.
Both of these guys are doing vertical jumps. The guy on the left claims a 30″ vertical jump. The guy on the right, 50″. (Which is very high, so let’s just say 40″ to account for internet inflation.) Honestly, the output doesn’t matter much.
Aside from the raw numbers, there’s a difference between the two: I consider one a knee pain candidate, and the other a knee pain conqueror.
Below are more still shots from YouTube, but with NFL combine athletes (a little less random than, well, random YouTubers).
Notice how their body positions are more similar to the guy on the right in the first picture? It’s no coincidence. (Rule 39: There is no such thing as coincidence.)
You might be wondering, “I see the difference, but what the heck does this got to do with chronic knee pain?”
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. You’ve heard that saying before, right? Makes sense. But if you focus on the fire, you arsonist running out of the back door and breaking for the woods.
Chronic knee pain is a global phenomenon, so you have to zoom out and see beyond the knee itself.
But before I do that, I want to tell you about who I am and how I know all of this.
My name is Anthony Mychal. I’ve written for some fitness magazines and websites, like T-Nation, Schwarzenegger.com, Greatist, Elite FTS, Onnit, and STACK.
Some of the articles I wrote were about knee pain. But I’m not here to tout my credentials. I’m here to show you something.
One of the questions I’m asked most: do your knees still make that noise? And I get asked this because back in 2009 I put a video on YouTube of my snapping, crackling, and popping knees.
I was Googling for answers. I was posting on forums. I had just about every chronic knee pain possible. Tendonitis. Jumper’s knee. Tracking problems.
Here’s the part where I’m supposed to smile and say, “And I haven’t had an knee problems since I’ve found this magical cream!” But that’s not true… I still struggle with knee pain because I ignored my initial tendonitis. I thought I could fight through the pain.
Pshhhh. Ain’t nothing gonna’ stop me from playing my sports and lifting. I’ll get through this pain. Yeahhh. Only the weak care about pain.
And then my tendonitis turned into tendonosis. In other words, my short-term inflammation became long-term tissue degeneration.
If you love your sports and activities, the goal is simple: keep playing. That’s why you play through pain. But when you play through pain you cause long term problems that put you out of the game.
The kicker in my story? It wasn’t like I totally ignored my pain. I followed most highly touted advice, like resting, popping pain pills, and icing. One doctor even told me that my knees would never be quite “right” ever again.
I even tried to train my way out of my pain with leg extensions and leg curls. If you’re in as deep as I was, you’ve probably also done your fair share of terminal knee extensions.
All of these things made my knee worse.
Is when I started to treat my knee as a victim, not a culprit. Your leg is made up of a ton of muscles and is controlled by three main joints: the hip, the knee, and the ankle. Anytime you move, force flows through these three joints. Up the chain, down the chain. The knee is the middle man.
So picture an assembly line. Three guys. You’re the middle guy. What happens when the guy to your right stops working? All his load gets thrown onto you. What happens when the guy to the left stops working? All the work you’re trying to do piles back up onto you.
There’s one equation you gotta’ remember. (Even if you hate math.)
And it just so happens that athletic ability follows a similar equation.
Hips + Feet = Athleticism
Remember those pictures from above? The body positioning? Stud athletes have similar body positions during exercises because they drive movement from similar muscles and structures. And those muscles and structures are also key in chronic knee pain.
If you have pain squatting (back squatting, front squatting, any kind of squatting), running, or jumping, you need to learn how to move more athletically.
This doesn’t just happen. You have to make it happen. You have to retrain your body. And this is what An Athlete’s Guide to Chronic Knee Pain is all about: a program designed to fix chronic knee pain that delivers a pleasant athletic side effect.
An Athlete’s Guide to Chronic Knee Pain is actually two programs smashed together.
The first is Theories and Solutions for Patellar Tendonitis, Jumper’s Knee, and Patellar Tracking Problems. It digs deeper into the relationship between the ankle, knee, and hip.
There is an eight week foundation program that builds muscle activation patterns and mobility with a specific selection of movements.
The goal is to kick muscles and movement patterns into gear that’ve long since been sleeping, and then build a ton of endurance to be able to maintain ability in those muscles forever and ever, no matter how fatigued you are.
The second is Increasing Strength and Explosiveness Through Barbell Exercises, Leaps, and Bounds. It transitions the newly found endurance and activation patterns into barbell exercise and athletic movement.
It builds positional awareness and correct activation patterns within those positions. It also teaches you how to absorb and propel force within those same positions. This second program is full of linked up videos to help you learn.
Both of these programs are crammed together. No dual fee. No leg extensions. No leg curls. No bed rest. Just a seriously comprehensive reconstruction of athletic and pain free lower body movement from the sand to the sky. 180 pages filled with information, pictures (exercises, stretches), and videos.
And some more bullet points because bullet points are cool:
(P.S. You’ve spent more on video games or on a night out at the bar.)
So consider what your knees are worth to you. Seriously. Think about it. What does your knee let you do that you love doing? How does it feel not being able to do it?
When I was unable to move and trick and lift, I lost myself. Don’t lose yourself. Give your knees the care they need so that you can do whatever makes you feel alive. So that you can do the things you love doing — the things that form your identity as a person.
That expensive treadmill is nice…if you’re healthy enough to use it. That monthly gym membership? Those kettlebells and barbell you just bought? All nice. But only if you can use them.
Don’t worry, you’re protected under my No Ass-to-Risk Guarantee. My No Ass-to-Risk Guarantee is in place to prevent you from being misled or mistreated from online business malpractice. Everything that others choose to hide within asterisks at the bottom of pages are stated below, in addition to who exactly this product isn’t for. It’s all in an effort to better serve you.
First, An Athlete’s Guide to Chronic Knee Pain is a digital product. You buy, you download instantly. The file is readable by Adobe or any other PDF reader. No shipping fees, so you save some bucks.
Second, your satisfaction is my guarantee. You may return this product if it doesn’t meet your expectations. Anytime. Anyplace. Even if my retailers refund period has expired (my retailer is ClickBank and they have a 60 day refund policy), I’ll handle it in house.
Third, An Athlete’s Guide to Chronic Knee Pain is for those with chronic knee problems (tendonitis, tendonosis, tracking issues), that want a better understanding of how chronic knee problems are created, that are willing to work hard to conquer their pain, looking to learn how to put less stress.
It’s not for those with serious internal injuries (ligament damage, meniscus injuries), those not ready to put in time and effort to fix their problem, and those that aren’t ready to do progressive bodyweight exercises.
Fourth, you have to be ready to work. This program is demanding. I’m not here to baby you. I’m here to fix you, and there’s a hard dose of reality with this. You’ve been moving the wrong way for a long time. You have to hit this hard to fix it.
Fifth, in regard to typical results, I always give the same disclaimer with any digital product: one of two things will happen when you buy my products.
But don’t listen to me. I think I’ve talked enough anyway.
When I developed a knee tendinopathy by tricking, I spent the next two years googling for crumbs on anything I could find on the topic and experimenting with self therapy. Anytime I’d find something I’d wonder if it was really applicable to my own situation. Much later, I felt I had gathered something likening to puzzle pieces, and was able to put these together to see a puzzle image take form. While I can make out the image of knee problems more clearly today, Anthony’s eBook is the finished puzzle with a clear image formed. I hate him for having finished this puzzle after I had suffered my own knee problems! But I will forgive him, because I learned some really neat, and new knee tips in this book I didn’t know, and haven’t seen elsewhere!
Me and Anthony did some video correspondence about my jumpers knee and he gave me a lot of good exercises and stretching techniques. He provided a great push forward to having no major problems and these days I’m back to tricking on my left knee with no big problems. (Picture provided by: Nanna Ward.)
The orthopedist probably would have recommended another surgery. But without Anthony I would still be a lost little puppy just trying lots of things with half assed effort. Getting consultation from him (who I sincerely believe in and really look up to when it comes to this) really motivated me. Contacting him was the smartest thing I’ve done for my training!
I played college hoops at a small college and never had any injuries until I turned 30. I started having knee tracking issues 3 years ago after I got an athletic pubalgia injury while playing flag football. That was a very painful injury to my groin area. After that “healed” (resumed activity to early) I started getting pretty serious knee pain while playing basketball due to compensating from the hip injury. I had lost control of my hip and my knee was making up the difference. I also have a very significant anterior pelvic tilt which contributed to both injuries I’m sure.
Anyway, because of your info I am able to play basketball again pain-free and my knee has drastically improved. This knee tracking pain had been nagging me for over a year and it was very frustrating. I am not quite 100% yet in terms of strength and confidence but will get there. My goal is to completely eliminate discomfort and doubt in the knee and eventually dunk a basketball again.
Thanks so much. I have bought a lot of fitness and nutrition crap and your stuff is legit and truly improved my life.
I tweeted that I loved your book before I had even finished it. Today, I viewed all the videos, completed it and I am stunned at how comprehensive and exhaustive this is. I can’t believe the knowledge you have at your age. You have covered every angle there is and intercepted all manner of backsliding and “executive decision” modifications that many will try to make. I would think it would have taken many years of observing personal sabotage to acquire this foresight. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I remember looking at your photo on T Nation and thinking, “What the fuck, he’s just a kid” However, it’s obvious from the methodical thought process and well crafted writing that you are wise beyond your years.
I just finished your book. I was having patellar tendon pain EVERY TIME I stood up from a chair. I’m now extending the hips similar to the way you described in your RDL chapter, and the pain has disappeared. I’m already impressed. Now to translate this to Olympic weightlifting…
Just wanted to say the Athletes guide to chronic knee pain is an AWESOME resource & a must for anyone with legs! Can’t wait to implement this stuff to my own rehab of some banged up legs!
Q: Is this program for a beginner?
A: Yes, it can be used by someone that has no formal training. I will say that a background in barbell training is useful to pick up on the terminology, but it’s not life or death requirement.
Q: Is there an age requirement?
A: No, absolutely NONE. All exercises begin at bodyweight and are progressed in a sequence. There is NO heavy loading in the initial program, and the second book (that has heavy loading) is optional. The book, however, is written for athletes — so keep that in mind.
Q: How long is the program?
A: It lasts forever. Don’t think I’m kidding. The initial rehabilitation program is eight weeks long, but the principles you learn will carry with you for the rest of your life. This is one of the reasons behind the effectiveness of the program. The second half of the rehabilitation (strength part) takes places after.
Q: How often are the workouts?
A: Every day. Or five days per week. We’re reprogramming the body. It takes time and frequency. If you can’t handle this, then this product isn’t for you. I’ll say it again, if you’re not willing to put in the work, this system will not work for you.
Q: How long do the workouts take?
A: They shouldn’t take more than an hour and can be done in the convenience of your own home. The only equipment needed is an exercise band during the first eight weeks. After, a sequence of progressions is used with a barbell and those workouts will take longer. It’s the nature of the beast.
Q: Does this come in the mail?
A: Nope. Once your payment is received, an electronic copy of the book is sent to your e-mail address.
Q: Can I still do lower body exercises while on the program?
A: Sadly, no. Squatting and deadlifting will have to take a back seat for the duration of this program because we’re reprogramming the body. You can’t heal yourself if you continue to expose yourself to pain. The movements will be reintroduced gradually and sequentially.
Q: What separates you from everyone else?
A: I use a unique approach that focuses on every joint in the lower body, except the knee. I fully believe that the knee pain is a victim, not a culprit.
Q: What if the program doesn’t work for me?
A: Consider it free. I’m willing to put my reputation on the line. You pay for quality work, and if it isn’t up to your standards you’ll get a full refund. ClickBank handles all returns within 60 days of purchase. After that, I’ll handle returns “in-house.”
Q: I have some more questions. How do I get in touch with you?
A: Want to know something? Ask me: anthony /at/ anthonymychal dot com