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When there is a problem with your legs most of the time we can relate it to your knees, ankles or hips. Now let's break this down further most of the time it is within the knee but why??

The knee is out of the 3 joints the least moveable as it can only extend or flex. Going from straight to bent, it is very limited in rotation and any side to side movement. Therefore, if you are ever in an awkward position your knee undergoes immense pressure and stress to be able to handle any time period under that force.

So how can you prevent injury or overall pain in the knee if it is hard to move it around?

The answer might shock you but improving knee mobility while it is a step is probably the least effective at decreasing pain and reducing injury risk. Most people have fully moveable knees and can fully bend or extend them but still have pain. The pain originates from another location let us start with the hips.

Mobility Training

Hip Mobility Training

The hip can do a variety of movements and is highly moveable. You can go into full rotation, flexion and extension of the hip. There is not many movements the hip can do and this is both a positive and negative thing. Positive as you are not limited in movement. Negative as due to high movement it becomes a lot easier for injuries to arise, higher chance of weaknesses to be shown, sticking/friction points, imbalances may arise.

Now high movement increases the chance that, if not worked on, can increase friction which will lead to decreased movement ability. If you don't move the joint you will over time start to lose function. Think of a long hospital stay where you are bedridden for an extended period of time. Once you rise you will lose lower body function, be tight and unable to bend, extend or even walk normally.

How does improving hip mobility lead to an improvement of knee pain or relate to decreased injury risk?

By improving your hip mobility you will have more movement in your hip... obviously. This means your hip will take load off of your knee when you walk, jump, run or do any of your daily activities. Meaning you can do more with your hip rather than relying on your knee to do work it does not necessarily have to do. Most of the problems that are caused within the knee relate to the knee joint doing more than it is supposed to do.

Ankle Mobility Training

Similarly the ankle joint is a highly moveable joint, it may not move around as fluidly as the hip however you can create a full circle with your ankle and toes right? Well if it is not injured or immobile it should be able to create a circle.

Now over time you will notice if you become more active, your walking or running has increased or even you don't move your ankle around much it will become stiff and immobile. This means you will not be able to move it functionally in the same way. What happens if your ankle is tight and is not able to move the way it should? Your knee takes upon 2 roles... the role of the knee and the role of the ankle. This means your knee is doing more than it should and will become increasingly susceptible to injury and immobility.

So one way to prevent knee injury or pain is to ensure your ankle is highly moveable and strong to prevent the knee from doing more than it should be!!

In Summary...

The way to prevent most injuries that occur at the knee joint is to ensure you are keeping the joints that surround it strong, flexible and overall more mobile. Keeping them mobile will keep the knee doing exactly what it should be doing extending and flexing and not taking on a role it does not have a purpose doing. Let the ankles be ankles, hips be hips and knees be knees. This way you reserve the joints to do their own job.


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