Is Your Knee Pain Really Coming From Your Knee?

Is You Knee Pain Really Coming From Your Knee?

A lot of people have been asking me what I would do for someone with knee pain. I tell them simply, it depends. It sounds like a brushoff statement, but truly, it depends on what the underlying cause is. If someone has pain on the outside of the knee and an MRI shows no damage to the LCL or meniscus, it doesn’t mean that they are making it up, it just means that those aren’t the problems. Traditionally, my examination for knee pain will start at the very bottom…the foot. The foot and the hip are the two controllers of the knee. If the foot is unstable or has joint restrictions it was cause improper force disbursement and the first place for those forces to go is the knee. Additionally, the gastrocnemius, soleus, and popliteus have attachments at the outside part of the knee and can produce pain if the muscles aren’t activating properly.

knee pain

Further up the chain is the hip joint which is comprised of the femoral head and the acetabulum. The hip joint is affected by over a dozen muscles and if even one of them isn’t doing its job, it can result in pain. Typically, the biggest culprit is the gluteal muscles. If the gluteals aren’t firing properly, the hamstrings tend to dominate and people get the tightness in the back of their leg.

The hamstrings are comprised of 3 main muscles, Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus, and Biceps Femoris. Problems with Semitendinosus and Semimembranosus commonly produce medial (inside) knee pain, while problems with the biceps femoris can cause lateral (outside) knee pain. However, its not their fault that they aren’t working properly, its the glute and its tendency to under activate. Another example of the gluteal muscles producing pain involves discussing the IT Band, which is controlled by the Tensor Fascia Latae or TFL for short. If the Glute Med isn’t activating properly (check with a trendelenburg test) then the hip tries to stabilize itself by over activating the TFL which contracts the IT Band and produces lateral leg pain as well as lateral knee pain.

Luckily, there are ways to correct all of these problems and here at Chiro Strong STL, it is one of our many specialties. So, come on in if you are having knee pain and we can work on it together.

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