Knee pain caused by leg weakness

Knee pain can be caused by limited leg strength.

If your level of activity is consistent but suddenly increases, the muscles of the leg can sometimes experience pain.

This can happen with folks who sit at work for most of the day but then are up on their feet for a long period of time suddenly for whatever reason (holiday shopping, New Years exercising goals, etc).

The body was not prepared to handle the load and can create the sensation of pain in several places, including the knee.

How to prevent this:

For beginners-

Gradually increase your activity over several weeks, rather than all at once. This can be difficult with unexpected shopping trips and visits to family gatherings.

Regular leg exercise addressing the major muscle groups of the legs (squats, lunges, deadlifts, calf-raises, etc). If you’re new to this, start out slow. It might be helpful to “Google” each exercise prior to attempting it, to make sure you’re doing it right. Don’t be afraid to ask for help on your technique, as these can be challenging to master at first).

Attempt each exercise without any weight, 10-15 reps. For the first day, this may be enough to leave you sore for a few days, but that’s normal! Try it again in a few days after the soreness goes away, as strengthening takes time and consistency to work! Slowly increase the weight each week as you improve, but remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were you.

If any of these exercises cause you pain, please let me know rather than continue pushing yourself through pain. There are modifications to each exercise to reduce pain, depending on the cause.

For experienced lifters/runners-

If you are an experienced lifter or exercise regularly, you still may have knee pain caused by muscle weakness. Oftentimes, weak hip muscles can cause knee pain on the outside (lateral side) of the knee. Focusing on strengthening the “butt” muscles can help with pain in this scenario. Focus on deadlifts, Farmer’s carries, and squats with proper form.

Also, increased pain following a drastic increase in training volume is an indicator of limited strength and “load capacity” by the body. Strength training will help your body to tolerate increase activity and load, and reduce risk for pain.

If you have any questions, please let me know! Visit our website at We provide further pain management and exercise programming for athletes at all levels, here in Wapak, Ohio.

Thanks for reading!