WODdoc Episode 96 Project365: Flexion Knee Gapping To Relieve Knee Pain

Today’s episode originated as a discussion between me and another health professional (who also squats a lot). We were talking about why we thought knee sleeves helped or, if they did anything all. This is actually an interesting conversation because what many people think isn’t necessarily backed up by research. Knee sleeves are advertised to be prophylactic by adding compression, support, and protection to the knee joint. Some even say they increase recovery because the compression encourages blood flow to the knee. Others say they only use knee sleeves for the “carry over” effect. Today is not about that banter. If it does or it doesn’t …. we’ll talk about that in the future.

What I found interesting is why knee sleeves reduced my knee pain. Like I said in the video, I was a wrestler for 20+ years. My knees have seen better days. During heavy squat cycles or large changes in the weather they bark a bit. One thing that helps me is flexion knee gapping.  Quick definition… Flexion knee gapping is a technique where an object is placed in the hinge (back) of the knee and the joint is closed (flexed) over it. The object acts as a wedge, gapping the joint as the knee is brought into full flexion. Gapping mobilizes the knee capsule and allows synovial fluid to lubricate the articular surfaces of the joint. More mobile, better lubricated joints generally feel better.

When I wear knee sleeves (especially the thick 7mm ones by Rocktape seen in this video) I feel like there is a good bit of material in the crook of my knee during full flexion. I propose that doing squats while wearing knee sleeves acts as a very mild “flexion knee gaping” mechanism and thus is a possible reason they reduced knee pain. Now, there is no research backing this…. its just something to chew on!!!

Today’s WODdocket:

1. Squat with and without knee sleeves… tell me which feels better.