Good day, everybody. It’s after hours here at the office… I often see patients come in and they have a particular concern. Today, I wanted to do a little at talk and just briefly show you a few things about knee problems. So many people are needing knee replacements because they have osteoarthritis.
There is a point when you might need surgery to repair it, and we’re thankful we have that. But that said for a lot of you out there, let’s say you’re maybe you’re 25 years old, maybe 35, 45, 55, maybe you’re not ready for that replacement yet. Of course, they also won’t do it because you’re too young and the wait list in Edmonton is long. So, the biggest thing to watch out for is what you’re doing on a daily basis. Of course, if you’re kneeling a lot, get some knee pads. Secondly unless you had a lot of damage in the past (you played a sport or you failed in an accident…maybe you tore some knee ligaments… the great part about the knee is that in most cases, no matter what you’ve done to your knee, the vast majority of knee conditions respond well to some very basic fundamental exercises and and treatments. I want to highlight a few of those things because they’re just totally easy to do and you should be doing exercises daily if you’ve got knee problems.
One of the things that is really really important is improving the nerve flow. What the heck does that mean? So, it’s how your brain controls the muscles surrounding the knee goes hand-in-hand with a healthy knee joint. You can’t really affect one without the other.
Knee Exercise #1:
One exercise I recommend that everyone do daily is the single leg balance. Okay, so you’re balancing on one leg and with your eyes open to start now. With eyes open, for a minute straight, balance on one leg (the bad one first) for one minute… set your iPhone timer or whatever timer that you’ve got for a minute each leg and do that.
Now a better way to do this exercise is with the eyes closed! That said, if you’re older or you have poor balance to start with, doing it with eyes closed can be tough. In this case, just make sure that you’re close to something so that you don’t fall over of course. But for those of you like myself, I do with eyes closed every day- just one minute each side..and I do both legs. Now, it’s not that I even have a lot of knee pain or problems, but I don’t want any!
Knee Exercise #2:
Number two is actually doing the daily back exercises that are is on our YouTube account as well. The reason is, it will help work your butt muscles…weak butt and back muscles can impact a knee. If you want to be sent to that video right to you cellphone, just text the phrase “daily back exercises” to the phone number 69922, and it will send you a direct link to the short 4 minute video. That’s something that some of you are a lot of you might already be doing, so if you’re doing the daily back exercises, don’t stop!
There’s a few other things that you can do for painful knees.
- Spinal adjustments: we can adjust your knees but we’ll probably do less knee adjusting than you’d think. Most often, we’ll work on adjusting your ankles and feet in addition to the sacroiliac or lower back joints. The reason is, the nerves from your lower back go down and they control the glutes (your butt muscles) and control the muscles surrounding the knee. If you’ve got irritated or injured nerves in your lower back, they could be buggering up all the muscular control around your knee which is making your knee worse! So, to just treat the knee without treating the lower back is not wise. So that’s why it’s important get the lower back looked at, and adjusted accordingly.
- In normal walking, the foot is supposed to hit the heel first on the outside and roll inward. But some of you guys are a bit older or perhaps you’ve had a prior foot injury/fracture or something like that. In that case, the foot doesn’t roll and absorb shock the right way. Because the foot is rigid, there’s a bunch of extra shock and stress (*that normally is absorbed by your foot and ankle) that’s going to go right up to your knee and making in worse! So, we also adjust feet and ankle joints to make sure that there are freely movable.
The more freely movable your ankle and foot is, the less stress and strain is gonna go to your knee.
In summary, for knee pain, you must look at:
Back, foot and ankle function. Knee exercises. And the last thing that I usually recommend to people with knee pain is custom orthotics. The reason why is because you might have really flat feet. Your ankles might be tilted inward so that you’re constantly walking on the instep of your foot. Normally, feet should have a relatively nice arch to absorb shock.
When your feet are flat, your knees will turn in (see the video link below) and start damaging the knee cartilage, not to mention give you pain on your heels and bottoms of feet. You’ll also stress the joints improperly contributing to more foot, ankle and knee osteoarthritis. So, if you’ve got flat feet, they must have better alignment and we help that by prescribing custom foot orthotics?
We don’t recommend the really hard plastic orthotics in the vast majority of cases because they don’t give all that much shock absorption. The ones that we prescribe in our office give the right amount of arch support, and yet allow for enough foot and ankle movement to absorb the shock of walking and running. If we can prop your arches up, and you do the simple exercises we recommend, it’s going to allow your ankles and feet to be more comfortable. You also probably won’t get as much plantar fasciitis (pain along your heels and bottom of feet). By following our recommendations, you’re also going to reduce the wear and tear on your knees and hips.
So let’s say you’re the type of person that’s having ongoing knee pain, you aren’t wearing any special foot orthotics and you’re not doing the proper exercises regularly for your muscles around the knee…. and you haven’t had your back and other joints assessed by a chiropractor…. That’s a perfect storm…. And it ain’t a good one. If that describes you, you’re going to run into a knee, ankle or foot problem nearly guaranteed at some point. So, if that’s you, then talk to us next time you’re in our office and will address it for you. We’ll see exactly what we can do to help solve that nagging knee pain. That said, here’s some links for the exercises I described earlier.
Related exercise videos
Daily back exercises: https://youtu.be/XHEayzvDIPA
One leg balance exercises: https://youtu.be/MULqwsAS6JU