The most common question/complaint I get from people who are trying out Zumba or who have done a few too many Zumba classes during the week relates to knee pain.

First, I am not a doctor. So if you have a medical concern, never go to me or any other group exercise instructor for medical advice (unless that instructor also happens to be a MD).

However, while you’re waiting for an appointment to talk about your knees here are some troubleshooting ideas:

1. Make sure you are wearing proper shoes. The bottoms of your shoes should be slick (like Converse shoes or Keds). NO TREAD. My own knees would hurt from time to time when I took Zumba in running shoes. I now wear a pair of $14 Target shoes and LOVE them. No more knee problems.

2. Make sure you are using proper form. Zumba has a lot of twisting movements. You MUST perform these on the balls of your feet. If you put your heel down and try to twist, you will be hurting the next day. Heels up! It also works your booty more.

2a. If you are in a squat position and doing any booty-shaking, make sure that you are in a wide squat and your knees are over your ankles (think of second position plie). Often I see students who have narrow squat stances, which means their knees jut out past their toes. Again, you will be hurtin’ the next day. Our mantra in my classes “Knees close together, you’ll hurt in bad weather. Knees far apart… good for your heart.”

2b. Think about keeping knees over your ankles when performing any fitness moves (like squats and lunges) in Zumba. I typically avoid fitness in Zumba because we’re moving so fast it’s hard to use good form. However, other instructors DO use these moves. If you’re doing a squat or a lunge, don’t think of pushing your knee forward. OUCH. Setting yourself up for pain. Think of reaching your booty back to touch the wall behind you (or putting it in the lady’s face behind you. She doesn’t mind! She’s doing the same thing!) You should hinge at the hips and stick your rear back.

Recently, I injured my knee at work (not in Zumba, this was a results of too many trips up and down stairs in 3.5 inch Christian Louboutin knockoffs) and wore this brace for a few days.  It’s only $10 on (eligible for free super save shipping!) and I decided to keep it on in Zumba so I didn’t aggravate my injury.  This isn’t a replacement for a doctor’s care but it’s an option to discuss during your visit.

I hope these tips help prevent knee pain but, again, if you are having any sort of issue talk to your doctor.


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