It is common for many people to be surprised to hear me ask;
“How are your knees, hips and back?”
I think it is not common for people to understand that the scope of podiatry extends all the way from the tip of your toes to the top of your hips. So as Podiatrist’s we are graced with the ability to extend ourselves away from the toes and help common complaints like, “My sore knees”.
So I wanted to give you some insight on how a Podiatrist can help you manage those sore knees.
There is a range of injuries that require surgical intervention like ACL injuries, meniscus injuries or even severe arthritis but these will also require prehab and rehab (strengthening muscles around your knee prior to surgery and also post-surgery).
What’s prehab you ask? Well, it is simply preparation to strengthen your muscle and prepare your body for surgical intervention. This can improve your outcomes once surgery is conducted and you are getting back to your feet. So essentially, we have PRE-rehabilitation which is before an event and then rehabilitation for after the event.
In saying all of that there is consistent research that clearly indicates that a large percentage of knee pain and symptoms are associated with poor muscle activation, strength and general function at the knee joint. Traditionally people look at the knee as a hinge joint like a doorway however the knee does have a rotational element which is VERY important to LOCK the knee in a SAFE POSITION.
So, when muscles do not function to allow this, HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM!
Let start with restriction of motion due to muscle tightness. This is very common with a large percent of the population having TIGHT HAMSTRINGS.
CAN YOU TOUCH YOUR TOES?
So, when you have a tightness anywhere in the body, the body must compensate by rotating, twisting or stiffening, creating an abnormal movement exposing the joint to wear and tear.
The second issue we commonly see is muscle weakness or dysfunction. It is common to see the VMO muscle or as I call it the tear drop muscle in the medial thigh, fail to activate when needed during movement. This can be the result of poor muscle conditioning leading to poor strength and also mal-tracking of the knee cap (Patella) or failure of the knee to LOCK SAFELY!
Finally the arthritic knee, ohhh how it aches and slows the clients down…BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO! As a result of pain the body responds by rotating your leg to move differently when walking, therefore moving away from the pain source, or you just start limping. Because of this we see abnormal function of the muscles and thus INCREASED LOAD on the knee joint. A simple 1 minute a day is all I ask of you. One minute of (isometric) exercises which load the muscle without over loading the joints can improve and restore abnormal muscle function.
So I say this, if you have achy knees or know someone who does and you are sick of listening to their complaints then call me at Stepping Out Podiatry because we can help you get back moving!
Dr Scott Greenbank (Podiatrist)