I hope you’re all well. One of our members mentioned that she started suffering from hip and knee pain a while after giving birth. There were no issues during the pregnancy, it just kind of flared up after the pregnancy.
This is one of those common things but there can be a several causes. I’ll go through the most common scenario here and give you the solution.
Just to be clear, I would always recommend seeing a heathcare professional if I felt a pain “in the joint”, such as under the knee-cap. A GP should be able to give you a referral to a physio and they should be able to narrow down the cause quite quickly.
During the pregnancy two things happen.
1; Your body makes room for the baby to come out. Relaxin, one of the pregnancy hormones, starts flowing through your body and everything that needs to relax and shift does exactly that. This means the hips move slightly as well as the ligaments holding everything in place start to ease off a bit.
2; A small, but growing, human starts piling the pressure onto your pelvic floor. And this pressure is constant so something has to give.
As soon as you’ve given birth that second part is done with but Relaxin can take up to 4-5 months to completely leave the body. So, congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a shiny new human and a body that comes with aches and pains and isn’t as stable as it once was.
This is where the hip pain and knee pain come in. They are almost always related so the solution is the same, which is great news!
Knee pain is slightly trickier as it can be caused by many things. However, unless you have banged your knee on something it is hardly ever actually a problem with the knee. Technically it could be bursitis which requires some ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory and some rest but I find that most post-natal knee pain is mistakenly diagnosed as bursitis as “the weight gain can cause the inflammation”.
If you have been relatively active during the pregnancy, without doing anything silly, there is no reason why your joints can’t handle a bit of weight gain.
The knee pain I come across a lot is a sharp’ish pain, not chronic, that feels like it’s behind the kneecap, to the inside of the leg nearer the top of the knee cap rather than the bottom. It usually happens when you put a fair bit of pressure on just one leg. You might feel it during exercises like “step ups” but it tends to be fine during a squat.
This is usually caused by weak glutes or by hamstring issues.
For those of you who have read other articles of mine this will come as no surprise. It’s always those bloody glutes, right?
Do your glute and hamstring exercises. The HPNB sessions are full of them but you might need to focus on them a bit more for a little while. So that means that when you get to the 4 month point you should choose the Leg routine over the Posture or Core home-routines.
Start focussing on the strength part of the exercises. So start dropping the number of repetitions a bit and start increasing the resistance. If you’re doing resistance band glute kicks, start using a heavier band.
If you’re doing bodyweight squats or lunges, start adding some weight. And REALLY focus on the muscle whilst you’re doing the exercise. I bang on about this a lot during the videos but it really is that important. Squeeze that glute, those hamstrings or those quads as hard as you can on every single repetition.
Should your hips feel really tight then it’s time to add some more stretchy exercise to your routine.
This Yoga flow will help with the tightness as well.
Make sure everything is really activating. If you can’t feel your glutes working when you’re doing a Jump lunge then go back to basics and do exercises such as glute bridges again. Resist the urge to move onto more advanced exercises such as the Split squats that we have later on in the program. If, after 3-4 weeks, you can’t feel any improvement you should definitely get a referral to a physio as you might just need someone to “manipulate things a little bit”.
For those of you unfamiliar with physios or massage therapists “manipulate a bit” translates as “this is going to F’ing hurt like hell”.
As with most aches and pains post-natal, this to can usually be resolved by some exercise and muscle work. You have to give it a bit of time but with 10 minutes a day of targetted exercise you will feel results after about 3-4 weeks.
All the best and do get in touch if you are experiences any issues or have any questions.