Knee pain while climbing or bouldering : Injury prevention for drop knee

Many climbers avoid routes that require specialized beta, such as tricky knee bars or aggressive drop knees. Because they are uncomfortable with the movement required, even though it might be the most efficient solution. Here are some exercices to improve and reinforce the movement pattern of a drop knee in climbing.

Imagine you’re trying a challenging boulder problem that requires three-dimensional movement. You see a right foothold in front of you and a left foothold out behind you. You know that you need to oppose pressure with your feet and perform a drop knee so that you can reach the next handhold, so you aggressively rotate your left knee inward and down as you move into position. Suddenly, you feel a grinding sensation, like a rock in a cheese grater. You then hear a loud pop. What just happened?

Knee injuries during climbing are frequent. But seldom discussed. They often occur during specialized movements such as heel hooking, drop knees, or highsteps. Or they can even occur from overuse. For example repeatedly landing while bouldering or during approaches and descents with a heavy pack.


Climbing, and the complex movements it demands, can place the articulation in suboptimal positions that stress the ligaments and cartilage. This can occur in specialized movements such as drop knees when the large thigh bone (femur) torques inward on the smaller lower-leg bone (tibia). This movement stresses the structures on the inside of the knee, including the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the meniscus.

The drop-knee position is just one of several different specialized movement patterns that you can train on the ground to get stronger on the wall. Focusing on this training will not only strengthen the muscles that protect your articulation. But it will also increase your ability, efficiency, and comfort while performing the actual movement when climbing.

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