CALL US TODAY 574-498-8474

Common Reasons for Knee Pain After Deadlifts & How to Fix It

Common Reasons for Knee Pain After Deadlifts & How to Fix It


Knee pain after engaging in heavy squats or deadlifts is not uncommon among fitness enthusiasts. This discomfort can stem from a variety of issues related to knee strength, form, or pre-existing knee conditions. Throughout this blog, we will look into the role of the knee joint in deadlifting, identify common causes of knee pain after deadlift, and provide actionable solutions to relieve and prevent it.

The Role Of The Knee Joint In Deadlifts

The knee joint, comprising the thigh bone (femur), shin bone (tibia), and patellar tendon, is a critical component in deadlifts. This hinge-like structure supports your body’s ability to perform the lift by maintaining a balance between the hip position and knee movement. The correct technique ensures that the knee moves in alignment with the ankle and hip, maintaining a stable range of motion without undue stress on any part of the joint. Proper alignment and movement help prevent deadlift knee pain, ensuring safer lifting sessions.

Common Reasons For Knee Pain After Deadlifts

In one’s goal for strength and fitness, the deadlift stands out as a foundational exercise. However, this powerful lift can sometimes lead to knee discomfort or pain, detracting from its benefits. Below, we explore several common culprits behind knee pain from lifting and knee pain weight lifting following deadlift sessions. From the nuances of form and technique to the impact of existing health conditions, understanding these factors can help you maintain both your performance and knee health.

Poor Form

Poor technique during deadlifts, such as improper hip position or starting position, can lead to acute inflammation in the knee. This is often a result of the knee becoming overly dominant in the lift, where the shin bone and thigh bone do not align correctly, placing extra pressure on the knee joint.


Knee pain from overuse is commonly seen in individuals who perform heavy exercise regimes without adequate breaks. This repetitive strain overwhelms the knee muscles and tendons, particularly the quadriceps tendons and patellar tendons, leading to chronic pain and soreness.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Those with pre-existing conditions such as knee osteoarthritis may experience exacerbated symptoms after performing knee-dominant exercises like deep squats or traditional squats. The increased load and range of motion required can irritate the joint, leading to increased discomfort.

Inadequate Warm-Up

Neglecting to warm up properly can stiffen the knee muscles and restrict blood flow, which makes the knees less responsive and more prone to injuries during intense exercises like sumo deadlifts or heavy squats.

How To Fix Knee Pain After Deadlifts?

How To Fix Knee Pain After Deadlifts?

Experiencing knee pain after deadlifts can be discouraging, but it’s often manageable with the right approach. This section provides practical strategies to fix knee pain related to deadlifting. By focusing on corrective actions like improving form, balancing your training program, and addressing any pre-existing conditions, you can enhance your lifting technique and alleviate knee pain. Here, we will dive into effective methods for maintaining proper knee health and ensuring your workouts remain productive and pain-free.

Correcting Form

It’s crucial to use the proper technique to avoid knee issues. This includes setting a correct starting position, ensuring the hip and knee joints are aligned, and maintaining a balanced stance, whether wide or narrow. Form checks by a personal trainer or physical therapist can be invaluable in correcting and refining your technique.

Balanced Training Program

A balanced workout program should include both deadlift variations and squat variations to prevent muscle imbalances and improve overall knee strength. Integrating exercises for knee pain, such as foam rolling and specific stretches, can enhance flexibility and reduce tension in the knee muscles. Also, keep in mind that rest and recovery is an equally important part of your training.

Addressing Pre-Existing Conditions

Individuals with conditions like arthritis should consult with healthcare providers to adapt their exercise routines accordingly. A physical therapist can provide exercises that strengthen the knee without causing additional pain.

Proper Warm-Up And Cool-Down Techniques

Effective warm-ups should include exercises that increase blood flow and prepare the knee for the range of motion required in deadlifts. Cool-down routines, including stretches and foam rolling, aid in recovery and ensure that the knees remain flexible and less prone to injury.

Relieve Knee Pain From Deadlifts With Freedom PT & Wellness

Relieve Knee Pain From Deadlifts With Freedom PT & Wellness

At Freedom Physical Therapy and Wellness, we understand how crucial it is to maintain your mobility and strength, especially when knee pain from activities like deadlifts threatens to sideline your fitness goals. Our dedicated team of experts specializes in physical therapy solutions that are tailored to address and alleviate knee pain, helping you return to your favorite activities with confidence and less discomfort. Whether you’re dealing with acute discomfort or chronic issues, our approach combines cutting-edge techniques with personalized care plans to promote healing, prevent future injuries, and optimize your physical wellness.


Understanding the causes of knee pain and implementing strategic changes in your exercise and recovery routines can greatly alleviate knee discomfort and enhance your lifting performance. Remember, proper care and attention to technique are your best tools for preventing knee pain and ensuring long-term joint health.


Is it OK to workout with knee pain?

Exercising with knee pain is a common concern for many athletes and fitness enthusiasts. The key is to assess the severity and type of pain before deciding how to proceed. Mild discomfort, such as a slight ache, may be manageable with reduced exercise intensity or modifications to your routine. For example, switching to low-impact activities that put less stress on the knee can be beneficial. However, if you experience severe or sharp pain, it is crucial to stop the activity immediately to avoid further injury. Such symptoms often indicate a more serious issue that could require professional medical advice.

How do I protect my knees while deadlifting?

Protecting your knees during deadlifts involves several strategic practices. First, ensure that you are using proper squat and deadlift techniques. This includes keeping your feet flat on the floor, your back straight, and your knees aligned with your toes as you lift. Incorrect form can place undue stress on the knees. Additionally, consider using knee sleeves, which provide compression and support, helping to stabilize the knee joint and increase blood flow. These sleeves can also warm the joint, potentially reducing the risk of injury. Regular strength training exercises that target the muscles around the knees, like the quadriceps and hamstrings, can also enhance knee stability and reduce the risk of pain.

Is it normal for my knees to hurt after working out?

Experiencing some degree of discomfort after a new or particularly intense workout is normal as your body adapts to the demands of new activities. This type of pain is often due to muscle soreness and typically subsides within a few days. However, if the pain is localized around the knees and persists or worsens over time, it may be indicative of an injury or underlying condition. Persistent or severe knee pain should not be ignored, as it could be a sign of issues such as ligament damage, arthritis, or other joint problems. If you experience ongoing knee pain after working out, it is advisable to seek a medical evaluation to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

A young man in a white sweater standing in a wooded area.

Dr. John DeVries

Freedom Physical Therapy and Wellness

We help those frustrated with their current physical status get back to doing the things they enjoy.