Breaststroke in pool

Is Breaststroke Bad For Your Knees?

Breaststroker’s knee is a common problem amongst swimmers. This pain originates from the medial compartment of the knee, which is located on the inside of the knee closest to the other leg.

In breaststroke, the majority of acceleration comes from the legs. The breaststroke kick requires the legs to switch from extension, to flexion at the knee, and back to extension using an external rotation of the lower leg in order for the legs to snap back together. This motion happens as fast and efficiently as it can, which can cause stress to the knees. 

Prevention and Treatment

Swimmers that are experiencing this type of pain can find relief in a variety of ways. One option is to work on strengthening the muscles around the knee by doing bodyweight exercises including squats, forward and backward lunges, and sit to stand movements. All of these exercises work to strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

Gate openers are another great option to increase range of motion in hips and knees. To do the gate opener exercise, stand on one leg and raise the opposite knee up to hip level. Then, turn out and open away from the body.

The easiest way to keep your knees from hurting is to perfect the mechanics of the breaststroke kick. As you begin the kick, bring your heels to your bottom with the knees in line with your hips. As your heels come up, turn the feet outwards and around in a circle until your feet touch each other at full extension. Remember that repetition creates muscle memory, so every time you swim breaststroke, make sure that you don’t fall into old habits.

So is breaststroke actually bad for your knees?

Short answer, no. Long answer, possibly. Without proper strength and use of proper technique, breaststroke has the potential to hurt the medial area of the knee.

If you are experiencing knee pain, contact our office at 215-997-9898 today! We have 5 convenient locations in Hatfield, East Norriton, Harleysville, Horsham and North Wales, proudly serving Bucks County And Montgomery County, PA.


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