Yoga Teacher Question About Pre-existing Knee Problems

Yoga Teacher Question About Pre-existing Knee Problems

500 hour hatha yoga certification courseBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Some of the questions I receive are timeless. Hopefully, my answers will be too. The following question and answer session is about pre-existing knee injuries, but the same general guidelines and precautions are applicable to any joint injury. One of our duties, as Yoga teachers, is to empower our students to be able to make wise decisions regarding their personal health issues. Our best advice regarding pre-existing injuries is to point our students toward the professional advice of a physician or specialist. 

Q: At the moment, one of my Yoga students has a pre-existing injury to his knee joint caused by football in February this year, and there still is fluid on it to this day. I am not exactly sure what to do with the knee. Yet based on my understanding, hamstring stretches and quads stretches will be useful for him, as well as advising him to elevate his knee higher than the heart, as much as possible.

Would that be a right assumption? In regards to his back, shall it be treated as lower back injury or just stiffness? I know both of these would be advised with a different set of poses.”

A: Elevating the knee is a good idea because he should stay off his feet when possible; Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose) is one suggestion. Seated asanas, without putting stress on the knee, are another consideration.

Related to this, it is very important that he visit a doctor, because a fluid build-up that lasts for months indicates a serious injury. He may have damaged connective tissue, and the fluid is a result of his body’s natural protection to an inflammation within the knee joint.

His physician will likely recommend some ice and heat therapy, but he needs to schedule an appointment for a hands-on inspection of his injury. He might also have to get an X-ray and MRI of his knee for his doctor to give him the best solutions. Seated forward bends should help, but he really needs to see a doctor first, and get approval for the type of postures he practices.

© Copyright 2010 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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