Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums Knee Knee pain after ELEVATED PIGEON

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    • #90805
      AvatarMartin Beaudet


      I have pain in my lower back and lat since a couple of years. Surely related to my job as I’m programmer and most of my days are passed sit from 8AM to 17AM and most of time I work from 20h to 22-23h too.

      Since I was 20, I practice bodybuilding (3-4 days per week) and today I have 40. I believe that sitting all day is the cause of my problem, but I am also convinced that doing bodybuilding increases the pain because the muscles are even more tense.

      Before coming to TRS (last week), I started the stretching from the 2019 november. It seemed promising, the lower back pain was less intense, but the lat pain remained… In addition to flexibility and pain reduction, I wanted to give myself another goal like doing the front/lateral split like when I was young and doing Karate.

      What I was doing

      – Adductors butterfly
      – Supine Lumbar Flexion
      – Standing Lumbar Flexion
      – Hamstring stretch
      – Hip flexor stretch
      – Quadriceps stretch
      – Elevated pigeon
      – Foam rolling on my back

      However, it seems that the ground pigeon exercise hurt my knee. One month ago I tried to extend my knee more than 90° unlike leaving it at 90° like Kelly Starrett mentioned in its video. Thinking that the effect would be more intense in terms of stretch. Now it’s painful when I bend my knee. I’ve stop doing intensive exercise like squat, dead lift, lounge, etc… Since then, I put ice in the evening (each hours for 10min). It doesn’t get better, but it doesn’t get worse. What could it be ? A muscle sprain ? A damaged ligament ? Should I see a doctor ? The problem now is that with this wound I can no longer flex my glutea.

      About my TRS progress
      – Couch stretching (in the evening)
      * I can do it for the right leg but not more than 30s, it’s too painful in the quadriceps.
      * For the left leg it’s too painful and tense in the quadriceps. I cannot lift my other leg to put my feet on the ground.
      – Classic Banded Hamstring Stretch (in the evening)
      – Foam rolling on my back each morning and in the evening
      – Hamstring stretch each morning and in the evening
      – Trigger ball (standing against a wall) on my glutea in the evening

      Unfortunately, I always have this pain in my back when I sit. It’s a nightmare

    • #90883

      Hey Martin!

      Welcome to the TRS community! Seems like you have a solid routine going! So to address some of your concerns.

      For the ground pigeon and the knee pain. You may need to modify or remove this stretch from your routine for now if it is aggravating your knee. Try performing on an elevated surface rather than on the floor. You may find you can better control the intensity of the stretch better from an elevated position. To take the tension of the knee keep the knee bent to less than 90 degrees. The goal is to feel to stretch in the back of the glute, not in the knee. Also we are not big fans of icing an injury. It can delay the body’s natural healing processes. If you have a chance check out the latest video put out on icing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JflPw5FQEY). Try to find pain free movements and modify exercises in ranges that don’t aggravate the knee. Think slow tempo and controlled movements. Goal is to keep moving. If this issue does not resolve and its impeding your ability to exercise however may need to seek out a medical pro.

      For the couch stretch in your TRS routine don’t worry about getting the torso all the way upright. Control the intensity of the stretch by first making sure you can keep glutes squeezed and modifying torso angle. You can start with torso more at a 45 degree angle and support with arms on the ground, again remembering to keep glutes engaged.

      With sitting as much as you do the best way to counteract that is movement! The body doesn’t like to be in chronic postures. Try adjusting your position every 30 min or so, get up, move around, stretch, walk etc. Better yet try and get a standing desk.

      TRS Staff

    • #90973
      AvatarMartin Beaudet

      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for the feedback.

      About the pigeon I can’t do it, even on the ground or less than 90°, because the pain is too intense 🙁 I will have to find another way.

      Thank you for the ice, I will read more on that.

      About the couch stretch. Is it OK if my knee does not touch the wall ? I mean, if I keep my torso at ~45°, my hand on the ground with my other knee on the ground I can do it, also I can squiz the glute. But when I’m doing the complete movement as Kelly, my knee can’t be keep against the wall, there a space of 1 or 2 inch, and obviously I can’t squiz the glutes. What should I do ? Use the partial mouvement and priorize the glut squizing ? Or continue with the complete movement and wait until I can squiz the glut et keep the knee against the wall ?

      Best regards,

    • #91049

      Hey Martin!

      If pigeon stretch is a no go try this banded hip external rotation mobilization instead:

      In terms of the couch stretch start with the partial movement with the torso at 45 degrees. From there work some end range isometrics. Do a few cycles of contract relax at that range and in time as mobility improves you can work your way a Supple Leopard position with the torso more vertical. Also recommend throwing in some quad smashing as you are doing the couch stretch to help open up the front of the hip. Here is a solid routine to follow show the combo of couch stretch + quad smash and seeing how you can progress to a more vertical torso:

      Thursday, February 15th, 2018 – Couch & Quad Stretch

      TRS Staff

    • #91257
      AvatarMartin Beaudet

      Thank you so much Michael, this is what I call a complete reply 🙂

      try this banded hip external rotation mobilization

      I will definitely give a try in the next day. But initially my goal was to stretch my glut muscles without having to bend my knees which are currently too painful 🙁

      In terms of the couch stretch start with the partial movement with the torso at 45 degrees …

      This is what I’ve done the day I read you reply and now I think I understand the effect of opening the hips. Of course it stretch a lot in quads but I feel it in the hips/glute when lowering the pelvis and opening my knee out.

      Best regards,

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