The simplicity of knee pain

from anatomy in motion

How does it feel to have knee pain? It’s limiting isn’t it?

Imagine what it would feel like to not have it at all? Imagine if you knew what the cause of it was and what to do with it?

Now that would be a gift wouldn’t it?

The knee is a seemingly complicated structure: I once heard the phrase “When God made man he forgot about the knee”… WRONG… our knee’s are perfect, as is everything in our body. The body deserves ultimate respect.

If there is a limitation to the knee it’s that we deem it to be a complicated structure. Let’s simplify things:

The knee is primarily a one dimensional structure – it flexes and extends, with five degrees of lateral rotation (the screw home effect) and no frontal plane movement. Forgetting the small amount of rotation available, it basically spends it’s time flexing and extending.

Standing upright: if you flex the knee, you’ll notice the ankle flexes as well – if it doesn’t then you would now be in a wall squat type position – or on your arse! So knee and ankle flexion are linked. Interestingly both the knee and ankle are one dimensional joints (the ankle can only flex and extend too).

The three dimensionality arises above and below these two joints at the sub-talar joint or ‘STJ’ (3D) and at the hip (3D). It is this three dimensionality that gives the appearance of excessive rotational and frontal movement at the knee. For example if your client squats and their knees turn in – it’s not the knee that’s turning in: it’s the hip and the STJ that are entering excessively into 3D Motion (pronation & internal rotation) – the knee continues to simply flex…

The motion at the STJ, the ankle, the knee and the hip should be finely linked together through timing and awareness of each other’s movement potential.

Now, when you stand and bend the knee; watch the foot – you might notice that the foot dictates the movement of the knee? The rear joints in the foot open pushing the heel out, the ankle flexes but in a new direction (towards the inside) and the knee follows over the ankle. Biomechanically, that is a weak position. Weak positions cause pain…

If you have pain in your knee you can be pretty damn sure that the foot is dictating the movement that causes the pain (raising the question of why we bother to treat the knee in isolation at all?).

The good news is that by ‘fine tuning’ the movement, action and reaction of the foot and ankle in connection with the appropriate movement patterns throughout the rest of the body, you will reduce the pressure and/or tension that surrounds the knee creating space for healing to occur.

Pleasantly the pain will disappear…

The limitations go along with it; replaced by your unlimited potential… now that is a gift!


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