Got knee pain? Check your hips
In a two-year study, women who developed runner’s knee had much greater hip adduction, or movement of their hip toward their mid-line, than women who didn’t develop runner’s knee.
In the study, published in Medicine & Science in Exercise & Sports, researchers did a gait analysis on 400 healthy women runners, and then tracked the women’s incidence of knee injury and pain over the next two years.
The researchers compared the running mechanics of injured women with women who remained healthy. They found that the women who developed runner’s knee had much greater pelvic instability than the healthy runners.
When the women who developed runner’s knee ran, their hips collapsed toward the mid-line of their bodies instead of remaining level.
Numerous studies support to the growing consensus that hip function is the key determinant of whether you’ll develop runner’s knee.
The Overhead Squat Assessment (OHSA)
One of the best screening tools for assessing the risk of injury as well as muscle and joint problems that may be causing pain is the OHSA.
The OHSA is a dynamic movement assessment of the Kinetic Chain (muscles, joints and the nervous system). It demonstrates postural distortion patterns that are characterized by overactive and underactive muscles and joint dysfunction
There are 5 Kinetic Chain check points:
- Foot and ankle
- Lumbo-pelvic-hip complex
- Cervical spine
By observing each check point from the front, side and back, compensations can be identified.
1. Inhibit the overactive muscles with myofascial therapy and home self-myofascial release
2. Lengthen overactive muscles with stretching
3. Mobilize joints that aren’t moving properly
4. Activate under-active muscles
5. Integrate functional movement exercises
Sample exercises for knee pain due to knees moving in and hip abductor weakness:
1. Self-myofascial Release to adductor muscles, biceps femoris (outer hamstring), outer calf and outer quadriceps muscles
4. Integrate functional movement with lateral tube walking: 2 sets of 10-12