How to: Muscle Scraping for Knee Pain

Ariana Purificati Fune

During load-bearing movements, the knee is the weakest link of the lower kinetic chain, making it very prone to injury and pain.

As there are many causes of knee pain, there are also many ways to treat it. If you feel like there’s something missing from your usual treatment plan, you should try muscle scraping!

It’s fair to be skeptical about scraping for knee pain. This article will walk you through how scraping can relieve knee pain, and the proper techniques to make scraping effective.

Why do I have knee pain?

Knee pain can be caused by a number of different imbalances above, below, or right within the knee joint. Tightness in the hamstrings and IT band puts extra pull on your tibia, preventing your knee joint from moving properly1.  

In addition, muscle tightness can lead to improper patellar tracking. When one of the quadricep muscles is tight or overactive, it pulls the patella too far in one direction2. The patella shifts slightly out of place when bending or straightening the knee, causing pain.

Another common cause of knee pain is patellar tendinopathy. Inflammation of the tendon connecting your patella to your tibia is linked with pain right at the front of the knee. 

How will scraping help me?

Muscle scraping tools provide extra leverage to help you work out the adhesions and scar tissue causing tightness in the muscle. Scraping the hamstrings, IT band, and quads relieves imbalances that cause improper functioning at the knee joint.

Based on the traditional East Asian Healing technique of gua sha, the muscle scraping technique helps create a better healing environment in soft tissues. By breaking down old blood vessels, it brings new blood flow to the area to help damaged tissues heal. This will be beneficial for relieving inflammation in the area to treat patellar tendinopathy.

Tips for scraping for knee pain

  1. Hit every muscle group. As knee pain can be caused by tension in many muscle groups around the knee, it’s important to hit the quads, hamstrings, hips and IT band when scraping.
  2. Use long strokes on the muscles. Adding strong but tolerable pressure, and working proximal to distal will be the most effective in relieving tension in the thigh muscles.
  3. Scrape when muscles are elongated. Scraping the quads while the knee is bent, and hamstrings when the knee is straight will add stretch to the muscles. Adding this extra tension helps you get deeper relief and makes muscle scraping more effective.
  4. Use quick, light strokes on and around tendons. Inducing petechiae with light strokes will bring new blood flow and encourage a better healing environment for patellar tendinopathy.

How to scrape for knee pain

Step 1: Spray the quads with Revive Emollient spray to reduce friction when scraping.

Spraying the quads with Revive Emollient Spray.

Step 2: Use either the Bow or Echo muscle scraper. Starting near the hip, scrape with strong but tolerable pressure down to the knee. Scrape on all sides of the quads, using the convex edge for deeper relief. Continue for about 30 seconds.

Scraping the quads with the Bow muscle scraper.

Step 3: Repeat on the hamstrings, IT band, and around the patellar tendon. The Bow is the most effective for large areas, while the Echo is best for scraping smaller areas around the knee.

Scraping the hamstrings with the bow muscle scraper.
Scraping the quads with the Echo muscle scraper.
Scraping the knee with the Echo muscle scraper.

Conclusion

As knee pain can be caused by many factors, it’s necessary to attack from many angles. Scraping relieves tension in muscles that are linked to improper joint function. New blood flow that is stimulated by scraping promotes a better healing environment for inflammation-based pain.

If you’re suffering from knee pain, scraping could be the missing piece to your recovery!

Don’t have a muscle scraper? Buy yours today

References

  1. Patellofemoral pain syndrome. Physiopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2022, from https://www.physio-pedia.com/Patellofemoral_Pain_Syndrome 
  2. Patellar tendinopathy. Physiopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2022, from https://www.physio-pedia.com/Patellar_Tendinopathy
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Ariana Purificati Fune

Ariana is a Certified Personal Trainer and holds a BSc in Kinesiology. She has a passion for making fitness inclusive and accessible to everyone.

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