If you have been suffering from chronic knee pain you’ve probably seen multiple specialists from Rheumatologist’s to Orthopedist’s perhaps Physical Therapists and sometimes more than one of each. What often happens is the treatment is aimed at symptoms rather than the underlying biomechanical problems that of course take some time and understanding to cure.
There are many causes that can be attributed to chronic knee pain such as Osteochrondtiris Dessecans, a Torn Meniscus or joint effusion, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupis and more. Clearly these serious conditions should be ruled out however, faulty biomechanics MUST also be a part of the differential diagnosis and many practitioners just don’t pay attention to their patients biomechanics, this is often overlooked.
We develop faulty Biomechanics through our daily activities of living mostlly due to bad habits. Many of us slouch, sit for hours with our legs crossed or stand on one leg while chatting to our friends. These things can attack our core musculature, alignment of the pelvis and low back, the hips and the knees. There is something called Serial Distortion that is often a factor. Serial Distortion is caused when any joint is not doing its job. The joints above and below become affected and don’t perform as within their design parameters.
When we use improper mechanics, our bodies start to compensate or in other words, adapt to these stresses we are placing on ourselves. As a result, muscles, ligaments and tendons start to wear out at an accelerated rate and it is this wear and tear that patients experience as pain. If you are one of these people the pain will not go away until the Biomechanical stresses are corrected. Meaning you need to work on your biomechanics to attempt to get them closer to original design parameters.
When you have issues of posture and improper biomechanics, it takes time to correct and you have to know what it is you are trying to do to assist yourself and these practices need to be consistent daily alterations in your routine. Things that can help knees in particular are: Standing on both your legs evenly as opposed to standing on one leg. Engaging your core musculature both when standing and sitting. Thinking about stretching your body vertically as if there was a rod running through the top of your head into the earth. Trying to “Align” your back, hips, knees and feet in a straight line as much as possible when standing and walking.
There are a series of exercises meant to stabilize the knees which are also helpful that may be the source of a future article. There are both gym oriented ones and also ones you can do at home with the rubber band. You can also get this information from competent personal trainers or physical therapists and these may also be available online.
The first step in correcting these issues is understanding that they exist. Then practicing these changes in mechanics on a daily basis. If you do there is a VERY good chance you’ll reduce or eliminate your chronic knee pain.
Dr. Camp can be reached at his San Francisco office at 415 922 2225.