HOW TO AVOID KNEE PAIN
If you’re reading this, let’s assume you are suffering from knee pain or want to avoid suffering from knee pain. Let us show you how to avoid knee pain. According to a recent study highlighted on https://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/755656, “…frequent knee pain affects 25% of adults, and osteoarthritis is the most common cause of knee pain in adults age 50 years and older.” Assuming this is true, 1 out of every 4 people will have frequent knee pain. However, there is a silver lining to this news. Much like Uncle Benjen Stark, who keeps showing up to save Jon Snow from trouble, we are here to let you know there are things to do to help the overall health of the knee and to prevent knee pain. This includes 3 strategies which help address the 3 major components of knee pain – the hip, the knee (obviously) and the ankle/foot complex. In just 3 minutes per day you can become the ruler of your knee’s future and become Lord of the Seven Kingdoms.. well.. let’s just say Lord of your knee pain. See below for your 3 tasks.
If you look at the anatomy of the knee, then you will see why you must activate the hip properly to decrease stress on the knee. The top half of the knee is the femur or thigh bone, the lower half of the knee is the tibia and fibula or shin bones. So if 50% of the knee joint structure comes from a bone that inserts at the hip, then we can help improve mechanics at the knee by activating the hip appropriately. Thus, we want you to perform the glute bridge exercise to help activate the glute maximus and reflexively loosen the hip flexor to improve hip mechanics. Better mechanics of the hip = better activation of the hip stabilizers. This directly improves the mechanical stress in the knee when moving. See the below video for how to perform the glute bridge properly as most of you have seen and heard of this before but just do not know the why or how. We recommend 3 sets of 10 reps for those looking to just activate the hip.
When you look at the knee the most important piece of information you can have is how to spare the knee. Or in plain terms, what to avoid. The main position we know that overstresses the knee is when it’s driven past the toes. I know.. I know. When do you do this and why is this important? Do you ever take stairs or step up onto the curb? Just think of every time you take the stairs or step onto the curb as an opportunity to alleviate excessive stress through the knee. You want to aim to put your weight through the heel so that you feel the work in the hamstring and glute instead of the quads and front of the knee. This is also an important thing to keep in mind when performing lunges at the gym. The other time to be mindful of your knee is when you are standing for longer than normal periods (ie. security line at the airport, grocery line & waiting for your Lyft). Keep in mind that we all tend to put more weight through the right side of our body due to our anatomy. So try not allow yourself to dump all your weight into your hip and leg on one side. Also pay attention that the feet are not overly turned outwards (10-15 degree’s is fine but don’t have them pointed straight out to the side). Now that you not only know how to decrease stress on the knee through activation of the hip, but also through movements to avoid, let’s move onto the last component – the foot/ankle complex.
ANKLE MOTION/FOOT CONTROL
Below the knee, we need a stable foundation which is controlled by the arch of the foot (we will call these the small stabilizing muscles within the foot or intrinsic muscles) and the mobility of the ankle. Lack of foot control or lack of mobility in the ankle both lead to increased stress on the knee. Lucky for you we have one exercise that addresses both of these concerns. It’s called “Vele’s Forward Lean”. The running joke about this is that it looks like the Michael Jackson lean but you’ll have to watch the video below and be the judge. We recommend 3 sets of 10 reps for adequate ankle mobilization and foot priming.
AVOIDING KNEE PAIN PLAN
So there you have it. This is the most simple way to incorporate a knee pain plan into your daily life. You have to address more than one component, therefore you will be addressing the hip (glute bridge), knee (sparing strategies) and the foot/ankle complex (Vele’s Forward Lean). Are these the only recommended tools? Is it enough? The answer is that we are betting you are just like us. If you get a recommendation that is key for your health but requires you implement 10 things and 15 minutes of dedicated time per day you will most likely find this hard to complete. If you find a simple plan that takes 3 minutes per day and some mindfulness throughout the day, now this is feasible. If you find that you like this content but need more details or want more knowledge than follow us on social media ( Facebook) (Instagram). We will be posting follow-up tools to this blog there and will include other additional hints to help you lead a more FUNctionaly correct life.
In Health and Motion,
The Kinetix365 Team