Updated: Sep 4, 2019
Knee problems are a common issue I see in the clinic, and I would like to help address some issues. There is some knee anatomy at the bottom for those interested.
Lower extremity joints
The knee joint is a hinge joint, and it is designed to move back and forth. It does have a tiny bit of motion in rotation too. The hip joint is a ball and socket and moves in multiple directions. The ankle joint is also a hinge joint, but unlike the knee, it is also designed to move inward and outward at the foot.
Knee Problems :(
Our body is a thief, and it steals motion from other joints if it is not getting it from itself, it can happen for many reasons; lack of use, movement thievery elsewhere, and old injuries to name a few. The knee will often pick up the slack for the hip and ankle. You start overusing the knee and when it finally decides its put in enough overtime, BAM injury. We need to remember you are not fragile, your body is designed to move, and it is excellent at adapting to change. That means we need to continually stress and load our joints for optimal joint health. This will help protect or joints from thievery and keep us healthy!
These are more generalized exercises and I will do more specific exercises based upon your need in the office.
Lower Extremity Motion
Knee Flexion and Extension- We still need motion through our knee joint, so this is an easy one. Holding on to something for support or laying on your back, bend your knee back and then straighten. Go as far as you can without pain.
Hip Range of Motion- Lay on your back and bring your bent leg up and rotate your hip out, creating a circle for a few repetitions. Next, do the opposite motion a few repetitions. Go as far as you can without pain.
Check out the blog post for ankle exercises.
Shoulder Bridge - Laying on your back, push your heels into the ground and lift your hips up and repeat. (Glutes and Hamstrings)
Clam Shells - Laying on your side with hips bent and knee bent slightly. Your going to lift your top leg keeping your ankles together. (Glutes)
Calf-raises- Standing push off your toes lifting your heels off the ground and relax. (Calves)
Wall Sits- put back against a wall and try to get in a position to where you are sitting in a chair. Only go as far as you feel comfortable, but work to get lower. End goal would be to get hips at 90 degrees and knees are at 90 degrees. (Quads)
Squat Series- Squats are one of my favorite diagnostic tools because they tell a lot about your motion. I suggest that people squat with their knees behind their toes and the knees track with the outside of the feet. Do not bend too far forward. If you are having trouble with the squat, then schedule an appointment
Chair squats: Slow and controlled and hips shoulder width apart, sit back into a chair and drive back up keeping the form.
Squats: Slow and controlled and hips shoulder width apart bend at hips reaching butt back, try and squat to 90 degrees.
My snobby fitness models would not continue with the exercise photo shoot ;).
These are just a few exercises that I like for knee problems, but there are a lot more we can do. If these are not working for you, schedule a visit. As always, movement is medicine, so keep your body moving, and all your joints will thank you.
Quick Knee Anatomy
The knee is a joint created by three bones: Femur (Thighbone), Patella(Knee Cap), and Tibia (Shinbone). The knee is surrounded by a joint capsule which contains our synovial fluid (joint oil) and our two shock absorbers the menisci. It is held together by several ligaments. The first two are the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments (ACL/PCL); they form an X inside the knee. They help to control the back and forth motions; the ACL has an added job of helping to control rotation in the knee as well. The next two are the medial and lateral collateral ligaments (MCL/LCL); they help to control the side to side motion. The main muscles groups are the glutes, hamstrings, and calves on the backside. The front side has the quads and adductors. We could get way more into this, but I will prevent you a nerd out.