Pain of any kind is no fun, but knee pain that won’t go away, can be especially frustrating. Just when you think it’s getting better, you try to squat or run and that sharp pain grabs on again.
The good news is that you can get rid of knee pain once you understand what the pain is telling you.
Knee pain is diagnosed by many names: patellar tendonitis, torn meniscus, arthritis, and many others. Very often these names are listed as causes of the pain, when in fact none of them are. In fact, these “diagnosis” pertain to the symptoms of an overlying dysfunction rather than a cause. They are merely descriptions of the condition or dysfunction of the joint when what we need is an explanation of how it got that way to begin with.
The term dysfunction refers to misalignment of the knee, foot, pelvis and even the shoulders. The pain is the body’s message that this dysfunction is present and you need to fix it.
Take a Look
To find out if there is a misalignment in your body, take a look at your foot and your knee in the mirror. A foot that doesn’t point straight ahead is a sign that the kinetic chain between your feet, knees, hips and shoulders has been broken. This means that major rotation and torque has been added to a joint that isn’t designed for it.
Another way to see misalignment is to look at the knee itself. A functional kneecap points straight ahead. An internally or externally rotated kneecap is a sign that the knees are on their own and unable to get the help they need from the supporting and stabilizing muscles.
The quadriceps for example, both extend/straighten the knee as well as stabilize the knee at all positions of the joint. However, when the knee is out of position, the quadriceps can’t do their optimum stabilizing and moving job. Now the joint becomes vulnerable to injury (for example, meniscus, ACL injuries) and premature wear and tear.
The Bottom Line
The moral of the story here is re-align your body with specific exercises such as hip lifts, frog and groin stretches, and sitting knee pillow squeezes, that address the issue. As your knee and foot get straighter, you’ll be able to go back to doing all the things you love to do without that nagging knee pain!
Adapted from David Smith’s blog at OutdoorFitness.com — Thanks, David!