Knee Pain? This Rolling Technique Is a Quick Fix

POPSUGAR Photography | Kat Borchart
POPSUGAR Photography | Kat Borchart

Knees tend to take the brunt of all of our workouts, right? Unless you're purely doing low-impact exercises and happen to have superstrong legs with wildly flexible IT bands, you've probably experienced knee pain now and then.

While I'd like to think my legs are strong, with all the running, cardio, plyo, and HIIT exercises that I do — combined with what a physical therapist called "the worst IT bands" he'd ever seen/felt — my poor knees tend to suffer.

Fortunately, my trainer Caroline Jordan has been helping me give my knees a little TLC. The solution? A rolling exercise with a yoga, tennis, or lacrosse ball. My muscles kill when I do these moves, but it's totally the good hurt, like when you get a superdeep-tissue massage. Know what I'm sayin'?

All you need is a ball — and if you don't have one of those, a foam roller will suffice. Here's how it works (and if you need some visuals, all these moves from Caroline are covered in her "Pain Free Knee" video). Get ready for pain-free knees!

  • Above the knee. Lie flat on your stomach and position the ball just above the kneecap in the meatier part of the quad. Bending your knee, kick your heel up slowly toward the ceiling, and then restraighten your leg. Repeat for one minute.
  • Outer knee (IT band). Come onto your side, lying flat on the ground. Bring your bottom leg in front of you, bending the knee. Position the ball or roller just above the kneecap, under the side of the thigh (IT band) that is on the ground. Extend and straighten your bottom knee and bend it back in, repeating that motion for one minute.
  • Inner knee. For me, this was the killer. Holy shnikeys are you going to feel your VMO muscle. Flip back onto your stomach, bringing your knee out to the side. Place the ball or roller under the inside part of your quad, just above the kneecap. Repeat the "extend-and-bend" motion from the last two moves for one minute.
  • Repeat all three exercises on the other leg.