Knees Passing the Toes (Knee Pain)

I just wrapped up my Exercise Rehabilitation of the Knee course at Douglas College.

I learn so much from the fitness professionals that attend.  They all have great questions and I wanted to share one with you.

I got a great question from one of the registrants about knees passing the toes.

Commonly taught in fitness certification is the fact that you should not have the knees passing the toes.  My response to this is, it depends on the situation.

The Deal on the Knees Passing the Toes

CLICK HERE to watch the video on what the deal is with the knees passing the toes

3 Situations on the Knees Passing Toes

There are three different situations to consider when it comes to the knees passing the toes.

#1 – Client with a Knee Injury or Knee Pain

If your client has some sort of present knee injury or knee pain, you don’t want the knees to pass the toes, period.

You want to work the full range of motion of the knee, but this would be done in a non-weight-bearing situation.

#2 – Client with No Knee Injuries or No Knee Pain

If your client doesn’t have any knee problems or knee injuries, you want them to be able to squat all the way down and come back up.

In this situation, squatting down is going to have the knees pass the toes.

In an unloaded situation with no dumbbells, no barbells, no hack squat machine, and no squat rack; you want your client to be able to go from standing, squat down and come back up, in the individual with the uninjured knee.

#3 – Adding Load to the Squat

If you start adding load (dumbbells and barbells and machines) you want them just to go to 90 degrees.

When the knees pass 90 degrees in a loaded situation, it ends up putting a lot of stress and strain on the knee joint.

I hope this clarifies things when it comes to the knees passing the toes.

So remember, in a client that has a knee injury, or previous knee injury, you don’t want the knees to pass the toes; you want to try to keep the weight shifted on the heels in order to activate hamstrings and glutes a lot more and decrease the strain on the knee joint.

In the second group of people, and the people that don’t have any kind of knee injury, you want them to be able to squat all the way down and come back up in an unloaded situation; that’s perfectly fine for them to do.

In the third group, when you start loading things up and loading joints, you want to limit them to 90 degrees.

Thank you for reading.  Make sure to leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the blog post.

Rick Kaselj, MS

P.S. – One group of exercises that I make sure my knee injury clients do are gluteus maximus exercises.  To learn The Most Effective Gluteus Maximus Exercises, CLICK HERE.

Best Gluteus Maximus Exercises