Knee pain can be frustrating, not only because of the pain and discomfort, but the effects it has on the other parts of your life.
Whether it’s limited mobility stopping you from exercising and getting around, swelling or bruising that’s got you hiding your legs or an unstable joint that’s left you afraid to play sports, the flow-on issues caused by knee pain can be extensive.
However, there’s one particular issue that’s worse than all the others. When your knees are painful due to arthritis, ligament injury or other joint problems, they can cause other parts of your body to become painful and injured too. The hips are particularly vulnerable here, as they form part of the kinetic chain along with your knees and can be thrown out of alignment when the knees aren’t functioning properly. So how do you protect your hips and knees at the same time?
The kinetic chain
To take care of your hips and knees, it’s important to understand how they interact. Your body forms something known as the kinetic chain, starting at your ankles all the way up to your neck. The knee joints are connected directly to the hip joints in this chain, with a change in one often leading to change in the other.
Knee pain is most often the result of repeated strain/stress on the knee, usually due to a malposition of the knee. When the knee is out of alignment this way, even if it’s only slight, it can lead to a tilt in the hip and pelvis, causing a “kinetic chain reaction” that leads to pain across your body, in particular your hips.
Put simply, misaligned knees = misaligned hips.
Straightening it all up
Hip pain caused by knee issues often starts with a stiffness and ache the comes and goes in the groin and thighs closer to your hips. From here, it can start to lead to more muscle pain and issues in the lower back as well. If left untreated, it can throw off your shoulders too. To make sure not only your knees and hips are taken care of, but the rest of your body too, taking care of the cause of the pain is crucial, treating the pain alone won’t help your body long-term.
Here’s three key ways to take care of your kinetic chain for a happy and healthy body from head to toe.
From the feet up
Your kinetic chain starts at your feet, and getting it right with your foot and ankle posture makes a world of difference to your knees and hips. With more than two thirds of the adult population suffering from flat feet or high arches, correcting the posture of the feet often provides a high amount of relief. Bauerfeind have a range of insoles for any foot and lifestyle.
Wearing suitable footwear that properly supports you in active movement also helps a lot in this regard.
Support the knees
Using a medical knee support often makes the difference in effective and lasting recovery from injury. Whether it’s a mechanical hinged support to stabilise the joint, or special gel pads with compression to help the muscles in the knee support and guide the knee properly, finding the right knee support will help your knees, hips and the rest of your body.
Right on target
While supports and insoles help, for those who have been dealing with ongoing pain or have previous injuries, physiotherapy and clinical help are always recommended. By having a physiotherapist or other clinician assess your body properly and work with you, they can help to provide targeted exercises to strengthen and realign your body to take care of pain, knees, hips and all.
Read more: Foot pain while running? Treatment tips
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