The knee can be a challenge. The few times I’ve been left with any sort of injury I know right away I’m thinking for a brief instance…. ‘oh no – how am I going to keep up with my practice, the kids, and how in the world am I going to lift weights ever again?!?!’
But, the neat thing is you are capable of so much more than you’ve ever been led to believe. You see your cells are able to replicate and divide to repair your tissue. No magic lotion of potion does this for you. It’s just important you give your body what it needs to thrive.
I’d love to share 5 things you can do on your own in this piece. But, first I must share with you one really important thing that we often forget. Your body’s master control system! If it’s distorted in any way it can play a role in how you function/heal/recover. All the messages for how your muscles/organs work must come from your brain and travel down through the extension we call your spinal cord. If there’s any SHIFTS in your spine it may cause poor communication between the brain and what’s at the other end (i.e. the knee). The only way to know if something like this may be affecting you is to have it checked by a Neuro-Structural Chiropractor.
In the mean time – what’s something you can do on your own?
1 – Understand a little more about how the knee works.
Most of the movement in the knee is for what’s called flexion and extension. If you start to demand more of your knee than it’s actual capacity it often means injury. The side to side motion should come from the ranges in your hip and ankle. In the diagram you’ll notice it’s designed for the most part to bend and extend. Most extension of the knee is done by the quad muscles on the front of your thigh and most of the bending of the knee is done by the hamstrings on the back of the thigh.
2 – The hip must move or else.
Consider Helping your hip move better when trying to improve how your knee works. Some of the movements I really like to help mobilize the hip:
3 – The ankle must move. This means your range of motion in your ankle should be great. One particular thing I’d work on is bringing your toes to your nose (dorsiflexion position). If you can dorsiflex better you won’t have to get ALL the range of motion at your knee – some more range can come from your ankle.
4 – Your low back must move properly. (or not at all?)
The core’s job is to remain stiff while your hip, knee and ankle do the work. So, your core can be trained this way. Instead of doing endless sit-ups, just practice controlling your midsection while in the plank position.
Focus on slow and steady breaths. Aim for a certain number of smooth breaths while in the plank position… when you start to wimper in your breathing your time is up. Work to progress it.
5 – Soft tissue the tendon/muscles right around the area.
You’ve probably learned by now that for self-care I am a fan of the foam roller.
If you are experiencing knee trouble I want you to focus on the areas right above the knee. The area where the quad and hamstring come down. Roll these areas, find any trigger points and just breathe. When the trigger points release / rolling gets easier then you have done your job.
Begin to use these movements regularly (i.e. daily) if you’d like to see measurable change. Small, consistent action steps lead to one bigger change down the road.
Give these a try and let me know how it goes?