Knee pain can be so brutal to deal with. Every step you have pain. You can’t walk long distances without taking a break. Standing for long periods of time is too much to bear. All of these take a toll on your body and make it so you don’t even want to move anymore. And not moving and staying sedentary is one of the worst things you can do for your body.
Knee pain is very tricky to fix. If you go to a medical doctor they’ll probably just give you some sort of injection to relieve the pain and send you on your way. But this isn’t really fixing the underlying issue. That is just covering it up. It’s like putting a sticker over your check engine light so you can’t see it anymore. You still need to check your engine. Something is still wrong even though the sticker is hiding it from you.
The knee joint is formed when the femur meets the tibia. It is surrounded by many ligaments and meniscus to help create stability and a place to move. You have a medial and lateral ligament that supports the outside and inside of the knee. And you have an anterior and posterior ligament that supports the anterior and posterior translation of the knee. In other words, protecting it from moving forward and backward.
The meniscus helps to create a barrier for the femur on the tibia so it’s not bone on bone. It creates a gliding surface for the joint to move more easily. The patella is a bone that sits on top of the knee joint to create a kind of lever to help bring the leg up. Without the patella, it would take a lot of energy and strength just to extend the leg.
For most people, they know exactly what they did that caused their knee pain. For instance, they had trauma to the area such as a ligament tear or sprain. Or maybe a meniscus tear. Some of these will need surgery for long-term relief. But, not always if it’s a minor injury.
For minor injuries, chiropractic care is a great tool to help treat knee pain. We use conservative non-invasive measures to help fix the underlying issue and get you back to your active life pain-free.
Stability vs. Mobility
One of the first things we measure at Carolina Spine and Sport is how well the joints above and below the knee are moving. The knee is a special joint where it usually takes all the beating from what the hip and the ankle cant do. If the hip and ankle aren’t moving well, then the knee has to move more to make up for it. If the knee moves more, it makes it unstable. An unstable knee is a knee waiting to be injured or cause pain.
See, the ankle and the hip move in all three planes of motion. You can do big circles with them because they are meant to move. You can’t do those same motions with the knee. Flex and extend is about the most you can get out of it. The knee is a stable joint and you need to keep it stable.
To help treat knee pain, let’s look at the hip and ankle mobility. To check your ankle kneel down next to a wall and place your foot about a fist-width away. Then try to take your knee and touch the wall without having your foot lift off the ground. If you can’t do this then you may not have enough ankle mobility. That means your knee is probably making up for it. This causes knee pain and discomfort.
To increase ankle mobility, stay in that same position to test the ankle and put a heavy weight on your knee. Then use that weight to lean forward into the ankle. The weight helps push you further into the stretch and helps mobilize the ankle.
Another way is to foam roll the calves. If the calves are really tight they won't let the ankles move into their full position. Start by putting a foam roller under one calf with your other leg on top to create some pressure. Then move it back and forth until you find some tender spots. Stop and hold and dig into those spots to relieve the tension. Then move to the next tender spot.
Both of these treatments will hopefully open up the ankle joint and be a great treatment for knee pain.
To check for hip mobility, grab something stable and try to get down into the deepest squat you can. If you cant get very low because your hips aren’t letting you, then you may have lost some hip mobility. This can also cause knee pain.
Foam rolling the hips is a great way to open the hips. Start by sitting on the foam roller and putting an ankle on the opposite knee. Whichever leg is crossed is the glute you will be working on. Then move back and forth on the glute until you find a tender spot. Hold and dig into those spots and then move to the next.
Next, you can foam roll the hip flexors and quads. Start by lying face down and putting the foam roller right under your hip. Roll back and forth until you find a tender spot and hold and dig into it. Then start to move down into your quads and do the same thing. The quads join together and that tendon goes over the knee. So by releasing some the tightness in the quads, you can help with your knee pain.
Since your knees are a stable joint they also take a lot of the weight and force when you are standing and walking. So another way to help treat knee pain is to lose weight.
All that weight pressing down on your knee every step and every minute that you’re standing can be too much. You may even wear down the meniscus and you’ll be just bone and bone. Then you’re in for a world of pain.
These are just a few treatments for knee pain. The best thing you can do is get evaluated to see what the best knee treatment would be.