Adapted from an article by Kate Caetano, Podiatrist.
If you’re ever experienced pain in your knee that just won’t go away, you’ll know how frustrating it is! You can search online, compare your symptoms with other sufferers that you know, and you still don’t have an answer. You might even have tried various things like putting it up, icing it, stretching it, walking, cycling… and you’ve even tried taking things like fish oil and wearing your supportive sport shoes everywhere you go.
But, mainly you’ve just hoped it would go away. You are also now thinking that maybe this is serious! Maybe I need surgery or arthritis could have started because that’s what happened to your “best friends Mum” or “Dads cousin from Melbourne”… and your starting to panic, thinking about all the things you love to do which may now be out of reach for ever!
STOP! Don’t panic, and don’t give up hope just yet because there’s a good chance the pain is not even being caused by your knee! And there’s an even bigger chance none of the advice you received said “well maybe it’s not your knee!”.
Here’s why … the knee is part of a chain of structures in your body that includes the pelvis, hip, thigh and the lower leg, ankle and foot below. All of these work together and depend on each other for function and movement. All it takes is one link in the chain to be weak and the entire chain is compromised.
The body doesn’t work in single segments, it requires all parts working together. Whether its activation, counter action, stability, alignment, absorption or proprioceptive, the body uses layers, axis’ and levers to ensure muscle safety, endurance and activity so that appropriate motion can occur.
The knee works like a ‘hinge’, which primarily opens and closes, but can also rotate. When we jog, the body works on counterbalance between the chest vs shoulders and back, the back of the legs working with the front of the legs, left vs right side, and hips to knees to ankles. A jogging gait pattern needs to encourage a stable and straight-ahead direction by synchronizing non-crossing arm swing with non-twisting hips and a wide base.
More often than not, the knee takes on more jobs and stress by compensating for weak glutes, calf or hamstring tightness, reduced ankle or hip range of motion, poor big toe propulsion or balance … the list goes on. In fact during gait or activity, the knee is most often the area that has to adjust its function and thus becomes painful.
When we stand or walk or participate in activity and feel that knee twinge, usually we would think, “Something’s wrong with my knee…”. however, maybe it’s just the weak link in the chain of movement?
So, focusing on fixing the knee can just cover up the real underlying issue. Therefore, it’s important to review the symmetry muscle and walking default patterns, as this enables us to discover the core issue(s) and create a targeted and individualistic treatment program including gait retraining, neural connection patterning, footwear advice, and muscle strengthening and balancing.
When we look at the body as a whole and not just the segment that is painful, we not only allow the knee to heal but help prevent other injuries and issues that are milling in the background.
To have your body working together and moving in-sync helps the knee pain and also increases the muscle endurance, speed for recruitment, balance and faster deceleration/acceleration for a range of sports.
Give us a call if you think we might be able to help identify if your “knee pain” is really a problem with your knee after all!
Pondera West End, Phone: 3846 1488
Pondera North Lakes, Phone: 3188 9308