The knee is the largest joint in the body and has a lot of moving parts. This means it has a great susceptibility to both injury and age-related degenerative conditions like arthritis.
We not only rely on our knees for athletic pursuits, but also for simple everyday tasks like walking, bending down, and climbing stairs, so chronic knee pain can dramatically affect our overall quality of life.
The most common causes of knee pain result from overuse or trauma from sports or falls, with many patients reporting months or years of escalating pain before finally tearing a meniscus or ACL.
Addressing the pain early means you can often drastically reduce and eliminate your discomfort before it reaches this critical stage, and chiropractic care can be a key component in this effort.
Knee pain usually begins with minor aches, pains or tenderness associated with certain movements, making attempts to exercise or even get up and down from a seated position difficult.
But what many don’t realize is that absent a contact injury, fall or other accident, pain in the knee is very often the result of an alignment issue or lack of flexibility somewhere else in the body, notably the areas surrounding the hips, knees, and ankle joints.
It’s true that “the hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone,” etc. and that kids song actually provides a great explanation for what I’m talking about.
The thighbone and shin bone are connected at the kneecap with ligaments, tendons, and fluid-filled sacs called bursa. When the hip muscles are too tight, a very common problem, they tend to be short, instead of long and pliable, where they crossover the kneecap. Over time, with strenuous activity or a particularly awkward movement such as a fall, the soft tissues of the knee can twist and pull until they become inflamed or torn.
The same thing can happen in people whose feet roll inward when they walk or in those with extremely tight calf muscles. Because of undue pressure on the knee joint, other parts of the leg must overcompensate in the body’s attempt to provide balance and strength.
Chiropractic care is an excellent way to assess body mechanics and alignment to determine the cause of nagging knee pain.
Thorough evaluations of muscle strength, balance, and flexibility, as well as an analysis of how, when and where the knee hurts, chiropractors help to restore body alignment and prescribe complementary exercises specifically designed to address the lacking areas and help maintain healthy function of the knees.
If you’ve already experienced a torn meniscus (and all that that entails,) there are still many reasons chiropractic care for knee pain is beneficial:
- Physical therapy following knee surgery is generally geared toward strengthening and rehabbing the muscles around the knee. This is obviously important but doesn’t address the tight hip muscles or other underlying issues that lead to the injury in the first place, meaning you may be destined to re-injure the knee. Chiropractic care uses a variety of deep, soft tissue manipulation techniques as well as manual stretching of the whole leg to assist in overall rehabilitation.
- Issues that caused problems on one side of your body are generally present on the other as well, so protecting your healthy knee is a key concern.
- Tight muscles and balance issues are main factors in falls while performing easy tasks (getting out of the car, stepping off of a curb). Addressing them now is a good preventive measure.
Good body mechanics, along with regular exercise and strength training, is a huge factor in reducing your risk of injuring or re-injuring your knee, and preventing the unnecessary degeneration of the knee joint. Contact Whole Body Health to talk about how chiropractic care can help with your knee pain.