A common condition we see frequently in the office is knee pain. In a lot of cases we can trace the pain in the knee back to a dysfunctional joint above or below it, unless you got a direct trauma to the knee itself.
This is largely because the ankle and the hip have far more range of motion and thus more risk for injury and dysfunction than the knee itself. The knees are hinge joints, which means they primarily move in flexion and extension, with a bit of rotation. The femur (thigh bone) sits on top of the tibia (shin bone), cushioned by the meniscus (cartilage) in-between the two. It’s all held together by a lot of strong ligaments, along with the muscles of the thigh and calf there to support as well. Here are 3 common factors:
1. Big toe dysfunction– this problem is more common than you would think. When the big toe gets stiff and loses movement, the body starts to compensate to try and get the same range. This leads to the ankle collapsing inwards and also the knee along with other problems further up the body. This inward collapse of the knee toward the other one is called a valgus stress- and you don’t want to have this!
2. Ankle mobility– limited motion, specifically dorsiflexion or lifting the ankle up towards the body, requires the knee to go more forward to make up the distance lacking at the ankle. Knees forward over the toes is another risk for injury. There is too much strain on the knee in that position and eventually something will give.
3. Glute activation-or lack there of. With our modern lifestyle we are sitting much more, which means the glutes are not getting worked as much as they should be. Specifically, weakness in the glute medius and other external rotators can predispose us to valgus stress at the knee…. which if you remember: you don’t want to have this!! Try these clam shells to get your glute muscles firing:
There are many other reasons why you may have knee pain, but these are some of the most common we see in the clinic. Instead of straining the knees with your movements, why not work on moving properly through the ankles and the hips to take the pressure off them and prevent future injuries? Want to get your knee pain assessed? Contact us today!