A classic movement pattern in everyday life, that you don’t even realize you are doing, can be the cause of your knee problems.
As a Doctor of Physical Therapy and movement expert, people often come to my clinic with pain or an injury, of which the cause or trigger is unknown. Upon questioning and observing movement, I might see a common pattern that can be the underlying cause of many issues. Because the dysfunction involves the entire lower limb, the pain may pop up anywhere along the kinetic chain, and is not limited to knee problems.
Dynamic valgus at the knee is most visible when the knee moves in toward the midline of the body during a functional activity, such as walking, running, climbing stairs, lowering to the ground, etc. It is preferable to keep the knee in alignment between the hip and foot when possible; but deficits in strength, neuromuscular control, and awareness can lead to difficulty maintaining such alignment.
Watch the video below and see if you can begin to recognize the valgus knee movement – sometimes subtle, and other times more obvious. Watch how the movement pattern can be improved by keeping the knee in better alignment between the hip and foot.
You might be wondering why this alignment is important.
When your limb is in optimal alignment, with joints generally lined up above/below each other, you have better muscle activation and firing potential, which will lead to better muscle balance across the joint to protect it. The joint forces will be distributed more evenly across the surface area, which leads to less pressure and higher capacity to handle more force.
Ultimately, good alignment through the limb leads to better efficiency of movement, better performance, and a lower risk of injury!
Do yourself a favor and start paying attention to how you move in everyday life activities. If you can recognize and normalize your movement patterns before they cause knee problems (or plantarfasciitis, shin splints, hip bursitis, SI joint dysfunction, or back pain), you may save yourself from an ACL injury, degenerative joint disease, or an overuse condition that could get in the way of doing what you love.
To find out how to fix these mechanics or protect yourself so they don’t lead to problems, we can help. Contact Us for one-on-one training or follow a simple online program with exercises you can do at home!