What causes knee pain?
- Direct or traumatic pain due to an injury (eg: torn ACL, etc.)
- Non contact injury (eg: Pain when you go to the bottom of the squat or when you walk)
Joint by Joint concept:
(Gray Cook has explained this in his book ‘Movement’ really well, concept spoken about in various journals by Mike Boyle and Dr. Aaron Horschig) Human movement is complex, it needs multiple muscles & body parts to work together in synchronisation. If a muscle doesn’t fire at the right time in a particular movement it will lead to inefficiencies leading to dysfunction over a period of time. One should look at the the body as a series of joints, stacked on top of the other, here is how it looks like:
A dysfunction in any of the parameters mentioned above, can potentially lead to unstable knees and pain thereafter. If ignored, can lead to an injury.
Coming to the topic – Knee Joint
if the knee is not aligned to the body in functional movements, it will have to handle a lot of uneven forces placed on the joint and in time it starts to wear out.
One needs to be mindful of the knee collapse phenomenon and if that’s happening, here is how to to fix it:
Work on ankle and/or hip mobility more often:
Your knee joint will definitely start to lose stability, if the body has stiffness in the joint exactly above or below. When there is stiffness in either of these joints, the knees will start to over compensate in movements and start moving out of alignment. There are very simple tests that can be done at home to assess ankle & hip mobility. Either way, mobilising the hip and ankle on a daily basis is anyway not a bad idea.
Build more stability in the knee:
- Reactive neuromuscular training (RNT): Using bands to force muscle engagement
- Unilateral training: Training on a single leg (eg: split squat, step ups, etc.)
What’s the take away?
Knee pain can often be caused by something that’s not at the knee (not the quads or hamstrings), it’s potentially a problem all the way up at the hip or down at the ankle which makes the knee go out of alignment.
Written By – Rishabh Telang