While this can be quite a broad topic, this blog will serve as an overview. Speaking about common conditions, what we can expect and more importantly how we can fix it through movement!
Knee pain may present to us in a multitude of ways, this may look like:
- Patellar Tendonitis
- Ligament strain, tear or rupture – ACL, MCL, PCL, LCL
- Arthritic Changes (osteoarthritis)
- Meniscus Damage
Would you believe me if I told you each of these knee issues are most commonly from a mechanical breakdown?
This means, outside of trauma (direct contact such as getting knocked in the knee) we can prevent this pain from happening!
As you can see in the above images, a lot of muscles attach and act upon the knee. Different movements require different muscles. Sometimes we need multiple muscles working together, this is what we call a co-contraction (coordination contraction). Basically, this means that when one muscle works, we want another muscle to work with it.
Take walking for example, during walking as we are about to land with our heel on the ground to step forward, we want our calf, hamstring, quad, glute to work together, specifically our calf (lower limb) and hamstring (back of your thigh). When this doesn’t happen, our body compensates.
Now compensation isn’t always bad but if we are starting to get pain with walking, climbing stairs, jumping, standing and the like chances are our muscles aren’t do their job, other areas are compensating and we are now getting pain in an area like our knee.
To fix this, we must look above and below the knee.
What is happening at the foot?
What is happening between the tibia (shin) and femur (thigh)?
What is happening at the pelvis and rib cage?
These areas can tell us a lot!
At the foot, we may see a reliance on the inside (pronation) or outside (supination) of our foot
At the tibia and femur, we may see rotation occurring causing inward (internal) or outward (external) motion of one of the bones leading to our knee becoming twisted
At the pelvis and ribcage, we may find that we are tilted forward (anterior tilt) or backward (posterior tilt)
Each of these can affect the knee and surrounding structures.
So, what’s the fix!
- Restore your normal range of motion – find the relative ‘centre’ for your joints as each position – the foot, the tibia and femur and the pelvis / ribcage
- Engage the muscles that work together such as your calf and hamstring through isometric exercises – the hook lying position is great!
- Gradually load your knee with adequate movement – key point this should be both inwards and outwards