Do you struggle with knee pain when doing stairs, or perhaps squatting down?
Knees can often be the victims of poor alignment between the hip and the foot.
So what does your leg’s alignment look like when you bend?
Find a mirror and have a look .
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and your feet parallel.
Your knee caps should be in line with your second toes. A good way to check this is to imagine a string dropped down from the middle of your knee cap – it should drop straight down to your second toe.
Now bend your knees as you do a half squat. (pretend you are going halfway to sit in a chair)
Do your knee caps stay lined up with your second toes?
Or do your kneecaps fall further inwards than your second toe?
If they fall inwards, you could be dealing with muscle weakness or tightness of your hips or feet. These are two areas that often lead to the knee not staying neutral and increasing the wear and tear on the knee structures. If your knee is not staying neutral and you re getting knee pain, its a good idea to come in for an assessment.
If this is happening when your feet are parallel, theres a good chance it will happen when your feet are turned out as well. Squats done with feet turned out need to be checked in the mirror to ensure that the knee once again stays over the second toe.
This becomes even more important when we do exercises on one leg, such as lunges, one leg squats or step ups. And in daily life such as climbing stairs. The amount of force through the knee joint increases hugely when we perform exercises on one leg, so it’s important to make sure the forces are as balanced as possible.
If you tried the test mentioned above and you managed to keep your alignment, you could do a second test which challenges your leg more during one leg standing. (NB Don’t do this test if you were not able to keep your alignment or if you had any pain during the first test)
Stand on one foot in front of mirror, and repeat the above bending test.
Check that your hip, knee and second toe stay aligned one above the other. (if you were to drop a string from your hip through your knee cap and your second toe, would it form a straight line?) If not, it could once again be weakness or tightness through your hip and foot on that side.
If you re having knee pain and are struggling with either of these tests, come in for an assessment so that we can loosen any tight muscles and tailor make an exercise and stretching programme to help you keep your alignment and protect your knees.