Stuck between the foot and hip can be a bad place to live. Knee pain explained.
A common place to have pain in the body is the knee joint, ranging from serious injuries such as an ACL tear, to less serious injuries such as patella tendonitis. The first hurdle, like with any injury, is to distinguish what the problem is and this is often where people fall, at the first hurdle! This is because people leave their injuries for weeks, if not months before they go and see the doctor, and even then your a long time off getting something sorted.
Seeing a private sports therapist or physiotherapist is by far the quickest way of getting to the root cause of an injury. Consultation time is a valuable assessment time whereby your sports therapist will go through a thorough assessment to insure that a diagnosis is made. A good sports therapist will be able to provide you with correct treatment, correct exercises and a step by step pathway to becoming pain free.
Most knee pain that I see in the clinic is due to poor alignment. You see, the knee joint is a simple hinge joint, it can flex and extend with a small amount of rotation. It has one downfall though, it is stuck between the hip and the foot, a very risky place to be if one of them isn't working properly.
These are a few problems that have caused knee pain in the clinic over the last few months that have nothing to do with the actual knee joint itself. I have compiled the most common injuries and written a short statement that should help explain the cause of the knee pain.
🔷Incorrect hip function - The hip has some of the most powerful muscles in the body who unfortunately get a bit lazy. This can then cause the knee, and the muscles surrounding the knee to work overtime, which can cause aggravated tendons, bursitis and pain surrounding the area. A good way to counteract this is with massage and exercises. Sports massage will lengthen and break down the overused tired tissue. The exercises will counteract this problem and stop it from returning.
🔷Underactive glutes - When the glutes don't work, we get problems! Often knee pain, lower back pain or if your unlucky, both! The glutes are designed to be the power house of the body, and when they get weak other muscles will start to work in their place. Muscle imbalances are a very common cause of most pains in the body, sports massage has a primary focus on soft tissue and muscle mechanics, so if you are in doubt, contact a sports therapist.
🔷Weakness in one leg due to post operation or injury elsewhere - I have seen a lot of hamstring tears or knee surgeries that have gone on to cause problems in areas like the knee months if not a year+ after surgery. The problem can manifest a long time after the inital cause because you can progressively get weaker if you are not doing the correct injury rehabilitation. With something like this, I tend to use the phrase "the straw that broke the camels back" as a way of answering the big "why now?" question.
🔷Incorrect gait/ flat feet- The way that you foot operates has a direct correlation to the way that your knee, hip and back operates. If you have flat feet or you walk in a way that put more pressure on the inside or outside of your foot, you can cause knee pain as the weight through your leg is not distributed correctly. There are things that can help you regain correct foot positioning such as orthotics (although I do not believe this is always the correct answer), corrective exercise and correct footwear.
🔷Imbalance in the muscles around the knee - A weak medial quad and a very strong and tight lateral quad is something I see a lot, and can be very easily rectified by sports massage and exercise.
🔷Weak and unstable ankle from old football injuries - You footballers.. Forever in the clinic crying about ankles or knees. It turns out, they are often related. Football causes all sorts of injuries, one of the most common ones being of course, the ankle sprain that never gets treated properly. Over time a weak ankle is no foundation for the vulnerable knee.
Note: All of the problems listed above have been solved in the clinic with sports massage and exercise. It is very difficult to list each individual injury and the exercises, type of sports massage used to treat them. Each individual case is different and involves different treatment paths that can only be given after a full assessment.
In the event that you have any of these injuries you will be in good hands with a sports therapist. Sports massage is a fantastic way of helping bio-mechanic related injuries and the use of sports massage itself is a tool used to correct tight muscles.
A good sports therapist will be able to use a range of tests to rule out more serious injuries such as a meniscus tear, ACL rupture or severe osteoarthritis. In this instance, your sports therapist will refer you to your GP in order to get a referral to see a specialist consultant.