Why 90% of the time your knee pain isn't really a knee problem

When there is direct trauma to the knee, then your knee pain is probably a knee problem.

What constitutes direct trauma? Imagine a linebacker tackles you from the side and completely takes out your knee; that’s a knee problem. A dramatic example, but the point is that in the vast majority of cases the knee itself isn’t the source of the pain; it’s just the innocent victim.

90% of the time a patient comes to me with knee pain, the knee isn’t the root cause.

Typically the knee is simply the victim of poor mechanics in its neighbors the hip and foot. When the hip and foot aren’t moving as they should be the knee is forced to compensate by moving in unnatural ways. This grinds the meniscus and places unnatural strain on the knee’s supporting ligaments leading to strains, sprains, injury and of course, pain.

Let’s explain with a quick anatomy lesson. Shown below are the bones and ligaments of the knee.

Knee Pain Diagram

The knee is a hinge joint. It’s designed to bend and extend and has a very little capacity for rotation. All the strong ligaments crossing the knee (pictured above) are built to prevent the knee from rotating or bending to either side.

The foot and hip, however, have huge capacities for rotation. When functioning properly, they accommodate almost all the rotation occurring from the hips down.

If the foot and/or hip aren’t rotating as they should, guess which poor victim has to do the rotation that it isn’t designed for? Your knee. The result? Knee pain.

So in the majority of cases the knee itself the root cause of the pain isn’t the knee but rather lack of motion in the adjacent joints. Consequently, when we restore normal range of motion to your hips and feet through ART treatment and therapeutic exercise, your knee pain goes away.

The bottom line:

In some cases, knee pain is a knee problem. 90% of the time it isn’t.

If your doctor recommends you surgery for your knee pain without checking how the regions adjacent and opposite the knee are functioning,  you should consider another opinion. Operating on the knee without fixing the underlying mechanism of your pain won’t solve the problem, it’ll only make it worse. That’s not to say that surgery is never an option, simply that anyone who recommends surgery without duly investigating the possible causes of the pain isn’t doing a thorough investigation.

If you’re suffering from knee pain come to see us at Performance Health and Wellness. We perform a full movement assessment to get to the true cause of your knee pain. The vast majority of my patients can be treated at the clinic with a combination of Active Release Technique and movement therapy and see significant improvements.

Movement is Health,
Dr. Christian Barney D.C., D.A.B.C.O., C.C.S.P., ART

How can Performance Health & Wellness help you?

  • Active Release Technique (ART) to the soft tissue structures to restore normal function, decrease stress to the injured area, reduce scar tissue, and promote healing;
  • Stretching and Exercises to prevent condition from returning;
  • Chiropractic adjustments to restore proper motion;
  • Cold laser to help reduce inflammation;
  • Kinesio taping to allow an athlete to continue to particpate in his sport plus augments the treatment.
  • Functional medicine with extensive nutritional based consultation, individualized nutrition programs.

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