How do you guys deal with knee problems?

TColumbia37

Silver Member
I'm sure this has been touched on many times, but I can't seem to find a good source of information on in here.

Having weak knees at 22 is certainly a disadvantage. I can credit that to the hours upon hours that I would spend each day skateboarding when I was younger.

It was never a problem when drumming, as I always sat pretty high. More recently, I lowered my throne so that my hips sit just above my knees. I immediately noticed great improvement in stability and overall comfort behind the kit, but at a cost. Now, I can't sit and play for over about 30 minutes without my knees starting to ache. I have to stand up and stretch between songs

Lately, I've been stretching and exercising regularly, making healthier eating choices, and I've been taking vitamin and fish oil suppliments. I've noticed improvements in nearly every aspect of my well-being, aside from this.

I'm going in to see my doctor sometime within the next couple of months for an unrelated condition, so I'll ask about it then, but in the mean time, is there anything that anybody can recommend? Of course, there is the obvious of raising my throne, but I don't want to sacrifice my abilities, as the pain isn't enough to inhibit my playing.
 

sdedge

Senior Member
well i had the same problem ,you no what the problem for me was,my shoes,to must grip.
So what happens when your lower the throne the angle of your legs becomes more 90 degrees and you're foot wants to move more forward ,then downward,.
So your leg wants to push out, but your feet has to must grip on the pedal by your shoes sole,so the pressure begins to built up on your knees.
And after some playing it gona hurt like a burning feeling at the front of the kneecap[by me].so i played on my soks ,and no problem.
Now i use dansers shoes no grip just felt sols on the shoes and no problem any more.

But this helpt me,don't now if its helps with your problem /.
 
Last edited:

tamadrm

Platinum Member
No offence,and I'm not trying to be a jerk ,but if I had knee problems,I wouldn't be asking Steve Gadd what to do about it..You should consult with a medical professional.or a sports medicine physical therepist.I'm sure,there may be excercises your can do,and prehaps nutritional supplements,and change in diet,that you could benefit from.

Even if the was an MD here ,that happen to be a drummer,he wouldn't give you medical advice,on a drum forum,without the benefit of a physical exam first,and some medical history,as well as a list of current medications.Just keepin' it real.

Steve B
 

CraigG

Senior Member
I'm with tama on this one. The best way to deal with knee problems is go to your doctor and get referred to a ortho or physiologist.
I have some problems I'm dealing with right now, so I can relate.

Also, there have been a number of threads in the past about one of the ingredients in diet soda (can't remember the name of it right now) and if you consume a lot of diet sodas, it contributes to joint pain. I usually heard about elbow issues though, not knees.

Good luck
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I have a knee problem due to an old running injury, and they say there is arthritis in the joint. At 62 years old how many joints wont have a little arthritis? Anyway, I find cycling builds up the muscles to support the knee and taking Glucosamine with Condratine helps me a great deal.
Try raising the drum stool. It worked for me but all knee problems are not the same. Mine is from an overuse injury, and possibly age related. Get a diagnosis from a doctor first, but dont take everything they say as gospel. Try seat position and other things cos If it works for you, It works, despite what others might say.
 

TColumbia37

Silver Member
No offence,and I'm not trying to be a jerk ,but if I had knee problems,I wouldn't be asking Steve Gadd what to do about it..You should consult with a medical professional.or a sports medicine physical therepist.I'm sure,there may be excercises your can do,and prehaps nutritional supplements,and change in diet,that you could benefit from.

Even if the was an MD here ,that happen to be a drummer,he wouldn't give you medical advice,on a drum forum,without the benefit of a physical exam first,and some medical history,as well as a list of current medications.Just keepin' it real.

Steve B
"I'm going in to see my doctor sometime within the next couple of months for an unrelated condition, so I'll ask about it then, but in the mean time, is there anything that anybody can recommend?"

As was stated, I am going to consult my doctor about it, but I figure there are probably plenty of people on here who have had similar issues in the past, it couldn't hurt to get some input on the situation while I'm waiting for my visit. A little pain here and there isn't exactly an emergency room visit, so it's going to be a bit before I have the opportunity to speak with my doctor. Of course I'm not going to listen to some internet diagnosis, but if somebody has some way that they have used to ease some discomfort, that wouldn't be a bad thing to share. What could be lost by asking about experiences that others may have had in regards to the subject? Nothing. What could be gained? Maybe nothing. Maybe the knowledge of what some others may have experienced, and what worked for them. Maybe an idea of what to expect upon my visit. Maybe counterproductive comments.
 

brady

Platinum Member
"I'm going in to see my doctor sometime within the next couple of months for an unrelated condition, so I'll ask about it then, but in the mean time, is there anything that anybody can recommend?"

As was stated, I am going to consult my doctor about it, but I figure there are probably plenty of people on here who have had similar issues in the past, it couldn't hurt to get some input on the situation while I'm waiting for my visit. A little pain here and there isn't exactly an emergency room visit, so it's going to be a bit before I have the opportunity to speak with my doctor. Of course I'm not going to listen to some internet diagnosis, but if somebody has some way that they have used to ease some discomfort, that wouldn't be a bad thing to share. What could be lost by asking about experiences that others may have had in regards to the subject? Nothing. What could be gained? Maybe nothing. Maybe the knowledge of what some others may have experienced, and what worked for them. Maybe an idea of what to expect upon my visit. Maybe counterproductive comments.
Since you are going to a doctor there is something you can do in the meantime.

Try to raise your throne back up very slightly. Do it in very small increments though. Measure the throne height, then raise it maybe an inch, probably closer to half an inch if you can feel the difference. Play with it at the new height and see if you have any pain. Keep raising it back up about a half inch at a time until you don't experience any pain.

I used to do something similar when I raced bikes (bicycles). A saddle adjustment of just a couple millimeters could cause all kinds of soreness.

This doesn't replace going to the doc at all. If you have any pain other than normal "I'm getting used to a new position" type of pain, definitely get it addressed.
 

Henrik Simonsen

Junior Member
Hi
I'm 60 years old and have been playing drums for about 48 years, both rock and jazz. I've tried many different techniques on both bass drum and hi-hat, heel up, heel down, buried the beater in the bass drum head or let it bounce back right after the stroke. My hi-hat technique has mostly been heel-up but lately I've been using a lot of flat foot playing and, in jazz playing, the rocking motion with heel down on 1 and 3 and down on 2 and 4.
I've been sitting quite low for many years but again I've tried another way and raised my seat.

I've never had any problems with my knees and for many years now, I've been letting the bass drum beater bounce back all the time, both with heel up and heel down. I also try to use the rockin' hi-hat motion as much as possible. These two ways of playing has been the most relaxing for me. By the way, I think Keith Carlock talks about using this bass drum technique to avoid leg-problems.
I also practice the Steve Smith way, one stroke with heel down and one with heel up, I think it makes my leg/foot relax.

And I try to practice an hour a day at my kit using all four limbs most of the time.
 

TColumbia37

Silver Member
Firstly, thanks for the replies, guys. I appreciate your input. I know that asking other drummers about their experiences and what they did about them isn't a substitute for medical attention. That being said, I'll certainly try a few of these suggestions out and see what kind of results I get leading up to my visit.

well i had the same problem ,you no what the problem for me was,my shoes,to must grip.
So what happens when your lower the throne the angle of your legs becomes more 90 degrees and you're foot wants to move more forward ,then downward,.
So your leg wants to push out, but your feet has to must grip on the pedal by your shoes sole,so the pressure begins to built up on your knees.
And after some playing it gona hurt like a burning feeling at the front of the kneecap[by me].so i played on my soks ,and no problem.
Now i use dansers shoes no grip just felt sols on the shoes and no problem any more.

But this helpt me,don't now if its helps with your problem /.
I can certainly rule that out. I have the issue whether I'm wearing grippy shoes or just socks.

Also, there have been a number of threads in the past about one of the ingredients in diet soda (can't remember the name of it right now) and if you consume a lot of diet sodas, it contributes to joint pain. I usually heard about elbow issues though, not knees.
I stay away from that stuff as much as possible, fortunately.

I have a knee problem due to an old running injury, and they say there is arthritis in the joint. At 62 years old how many joints wont have a little arthritis? Anyway, I find cycling builds up the muscles to support the knee and taking Glucosamine with Condratine helps me a great deal.
Try raising the drum stool. It worked for me but all knee problems are not the same. Mine is from an overuse injury, and possibly age related. Get a diagnosis from a doctor first, but dont take everything they say as gospel. Try seat position and other things cos If it works for you, It works, despite what others might say.
I have been exercising on an elliptical at least three times a week to tone the muscles in my legs and improve cardiovascular health. It seems to be helping, slowly but surely.

I did raise my throne a bit with positive results, but I didn't like playing so high.

Since you are going to a doctor there is something you can do in the meantime.

Try to raise your throne back up very slightly. Do it in very small increments though. Measure the throne height, then raise it maybe an inch, probably closer to half an inch if you can feel the difference. Play with it at the new height and see if you have any pain. Keep raising it back up about a half inch at a time until you don't experience any pain.

I used to do something similar when I raced bikes (bicycles). A saddle adjustment of just a couple millimeters could cause all kinds of soreness.

This doesn't replace going to the doc at all. If you have any pain other than normal "I'm getting used to a new position" type of pain, definitely get it addressed.
I raised my throne about an inch today and played for about an hour. I didn't experience any knee problems, but I wasn't comfortable sitting that high again. I'm getting a new, much nicer, throne at the end of the month though, so maybe seat height won't be as much of an issue with something that is all around comfortable.

Hi
I'm 60 years old and have been playing drums for about 48 years, both rock and jazz. I've tried many different techniques on both bass drum and hi-hat, heel up, heel down, buried the beater in the bass drum head or let it bounce back right after the stroke. My hi-hat technique has mostly been heel-up but lately I've been using a lot of flat foot playing and, in jazz playing, the rocking motion with heel down on 1 and 3 and down on 2 and 4.
I've been sitting quite low for many years but again I've tried another way and raised my seat.

I've never had any problems with my knees and for many years now, I've been letting the bass drum beater bounce back all the time, both with heel up and heel down. I also try to use the rockin' hi-hat motion as much as possible. These two ways of playing has been the most relaxing for me. By the way, I think Keith Carlock talks about using this bass drum technique to avoid leg-problems.
I also practice the Steve Smith way, one stroke with heel down and one with heel up, I think it makes my leg/foot relax.

And I try to practice an hour a day at my kit using all four limbs most of the time.
Typically, I play heel up with my right foot and a mix of heel up and heel down with my left, and I bury the beater when I'm playing rock type stuff, but it's mostly heel down when I play jazz and softer stuff. Sometimes I let the beater rebound, and sometimes I bury it, depending on what sound I'm looking for. I can see playing too hard and burying the beater causing some fatigue, but It's never been an issue for me before.
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
Ditch the elliptical. Learn to squat.

Now, before anyone shouts "But squats are bad for the knees!", this is not true. Squats done CORRECTLY actually benefit the knees greatly by strengthening the supporting muscles and tendons which stabilise the knee joint. Furthermore, squatting below parallel with good form prevents loading the knee and instead keeps the load on the muscles.

That being said, if the damage to your knees is not related to tendon and ligament strength then you absolutely should see a physio before undertaking any sort of strenuous physical training. But in the meantime I would certainly start developing 'air squats', ie. squats without any weight, and also practise sitting in a 'third world squat' for extended periods to help develop the strength and flexibility you are probably lacking.

There is a bit of a mantra amongst good strength trainers that squats fix everything, and it's not far from the truth.

Going back to the musculature side of things, a lot of knee, hip, ankle, back and neck issues are all muscularly interrelated. Essentially what happens is people quite often have developed muscular imbalances over time where some muscles are shortened and others are lengthened. Having been a skateboarder myself, I always attributed my having had good healthy knees to the conditioning they received back in the day, but I never had any knee injuries related to impact or trauma when I used to skate.

A simple example of a muscular imbalance is the effect seen on people who do a lot of bench press, but without working the opposing muscles. What happens is they end up having tight chest and anterior (front) region muscles, which shorten and cause them to have what appears to be a pulled-in posture.

What could be (and again, this is just in theory) occurring with your knees is that you either a muscular imbalance involving the major supporting muscles of the knees (quadriceps or hamstrings), or an issue related to your hips (which could also extend to ankle problems). This is why it is important to see a physio because a good physio will be able to work with you and figure out what the exact cause of the knee pain is, and where your muscular imbalances are.

With all that said and done though, squat!


EDIT:
I recalled that you mentioned you get the knee pain when sitting lower. This is very likely to be related to hamstring issues. What is probably occurring is that your hamstrings are tightening as you sit lower (due to your knees being raised), and this is changing the loading on your knees. What I would suggest are that you get in the habit of doing DYNAMIC hamstring stretches as much as possible, and work on some deep, LONG lunge stretches and lunges. In the lunge stretches you are essentially trying to do a 'mini split' between your upper legs, and this will be a great stretch for your hamstrings and hip flexors. Start off easy, and if you feel any pain that feels like damage is occurring, then stop and wait for the verdict from a physio. Otherwise, a bit of pain is likely not an issue as it should be related to the muscles and ligaments being stretched. Just don't injure yourself by overdoing things while cold or before you've gotten used to the stretches/exercises :)

And take it easy when starting off doing lunges, you will be sore for a few days if you're not used to them :)
 

coolhand1969

Senior Member
I am absolutely not a doctor, but from reading the posts, I found 3 things.

First, raise your throne, a little at a time, this may help

Second, try playing in you socks, it allows you foot to move much easier over the pedal. I play barefoot, but have no knee problems, yet, do not play barefoot.

Third, see your Orthopedic Surgeon, knee problems are much easier and less painful to fix at your young age, as to letting them go.

Good luck!
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I did raise my throne a bit with positive results, but I didn't like playing so high.

I raised my throne about an inch today and played for about an hour. I didn't experience any knee problems, but I wasn't comfortable sitting that high again.
First off, the doctor will certainly know more about "what's going on .... so go see a doctor.​
That said, before I had my hip surgeries, I had an "opposite" situation. I used to sit really high. And after an hour of playing, I could hardly walk, until I worked my legs/hip joints out. After a little experimentation .... I started lowering my throne. Half inch at a time. When I got it down a bit, it felt better. I sit at a 20/21 inch height, now. This was all around 1992.​
A few years ago, I had both my hips replaced. And, that means lots of physical therapy. And I made my doctors and therapists aware that I play drums. And, not a problem. As long as there's no pain, exercise is good. Pain is your bodies way of telling you you're doing something wrong.​
 
Top