By Kate Caetano
When the pain just won’t go away! You’ve stretched, you’re taking fish oil and wearing your sport shoes everywhere you go, but your knee pain just doesn’t get better. Maybe it’s not your knee? The knee is part of a chain 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.
The body doesn’t work in 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 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 and on. During gait or activity, the knee is the most common 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 can not only allow the knee to heal but we can help prevent other injuries and issues that are milling in the background. To have your body working together and moving insync not only can help the knee pain but increase the muscle endurance, speed for recruitment, balance and faster deceleration/acceleration for multisports.