Knee injuries stem from many different sources.
ACL, MCL and Meniscus Problems
The three most common knee injuries occur at the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the meniscus. The ACL is located inside the knee joint and stabilizes the joint by preventing the shin bone (tibia) from sliding forward beneath the thigh bone (femur). A hard twist or excessive pressure on the ACL can tear it, so that the knee gives out and can no longer support the body.
The MCL, located inside the knee, is another crucial knee stabilizer. MCL injuries often occur simultaneously with those affecting the ACL.
The meniscus is a wedge-like rubbery cushion where the major bones of your leg connect. The meniscus helps the knee joint carry weight, glide and turn in many directions. It also keeps your femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone) from grinding against each other.
While athletes often injure their ACL, MCL and menisci through twisting, pivoting and cutting motions that stress the knee joints, older people may suffer from knee injuries simply through the degenerative wear and tear. Remember that proper shoes and equipment – as well as ensuring that our floor surfaces are even and clutter-free – will reduce injury (Biomechanical Analysis of Tibial Torque and Knee Flexion Angle – Implications for Understanding Knee Injury).
Although not immediately connected to the knees, misaligned spinal bones (vertebrae) can wreak havoc on the body posture and spark a problem known as vertebral subluxation.
How do as vertebral subluxations affect the knees? Sacroiliac (SI) and lumbar (low back) subluxations may affect hip and leg alignment, making one leg “shorter” than the other. This puts disproportionate strain on the entire lower body, including the knees.
Improper spinal alignment can also negatively impact nerve control and function of knee movements and the coordination of healing at joints such as the knees.
Your doctor at Caledonia Family Chiropractic uses safe, all-natural maneuvers known as chiropractic adjustments to care for patients to help minimize how their spine and pelvis is impacting their body – Including their knee injuries and knee mechanics.
Clinical evaluation shows that anterior knee pain – at the front of the knee – is typically associated with SI joint dysfunction. This critical joint is located next to the spine and connects the sacrum (triangular bone at the bottom of the spine) with the ilium (pelvic bones).
The theory is that SI dysfunction may contribute to muscle inhibition, leading to knee pain. In a study of 18 patients with substantial muscle tightness and relates knee pain, all showed significant improvement after chiropractic adjustments to the SI joint
(Decrease in quadriceps inhibition after sacroiliac joint manipulation in patients with anterior knee pain)
(Conservative lower back treatment reduces inhibition in knee-extensor muscles: a randomized controlled trial)
Your doctor at Caledonia Family Chiropractic corrects SI dysfunction with specific chiropractic adjustments to the bones of the low back and pelvis, utilizing the Activator Method chiropractic technique.
Poor Knee Mechanics
Improper knee mechanics can greatly increase the wear and tear on your knees! It can also predispose an athlete to traumatic injuries affecting the ACL, MCL, and meniscus!
How do I know if I have poor knee mechanics?
Your Chiropractor will watch and test how your body moves to determine if your knee mechanics are moving well.
One test that I often do is a single leg standing test:
Stand on one leg and then slowly bend the knee you are standing on. Your leg should “track” straight forward and backwards ideally.
If it is “collapsing” inwards or shaking, your knee mechanics are in bad shape and need to be focused on from a chiropractic approach of improving your mechanics and reducing your bad habits. A Chiropractic check-up is in your immediate future!
What can I do about my poor knee mechanics?
A Chiropractor can help guide your efforts.
Commonly after addressing any subluxations in the patient’s pelvis and spine I have them work on their bad mechanics through training their one legged squat and keeping their focus on their knee tracking. In order to do this they have to watch their knee motion but focus on their body awareness at their hip and foot. Fortunately, efforts to improve your knee mechanics greatly impact your performance, knee pain, and help prevent further injury!
The foot impacts the knee mechanics as when the foot collapses due to poor foot arches the tibia rotates causing the knee to collapse inwards. Proper shoes and foot position are important. Sometimes orthotics are necessary to address weaknesses in a patient’s feet and ankles that can’t be addressed quickly enough through body awareness. Foot exercise strategies can also be helpful for some patients.
If the hip musculature is weak or impacted by poor spinal function, the femur will rotate in when the pelvis collapses leading to the knee rotating inwards improperly.
Remember that your positive efforts to improve your knee mechanics will greatly impact your performance, knee pain, and help prevent further injury!
Poor mechanics and old injuries can erode protective cartilage in knee joints creating the disabling and painful condition known as osteoarthritis. When this occurs, bones rub against each other, causing pain, bone spurs and degenerative changes.
Restricted movement is a major result of osteoarthritis. Fortunately, regular chiropractic care optimizes range of motion, reducing the painful and disabling effects of osteoarthritis and allowing you to continue living well.
Knock Knees and Bow Legs
Knock knees and bow legs can lead to knee problems in the future. The cause of knock knees and bow legs is quite complex and while most children outgrow these conditions, they may instigate future knee problems lasting into adulthood.
Fortunately, regular chiropractic visits help encourage optimal posture and healthy knees. (Postural assessment of girls between 7 and 10 years of age)
Chiropractic is for kids too and good efforts done early in life will help ensure the health of a child in the future.
A healthy weight is also important as it supports a healthy posture and healthy knees. (Problems of Childhood Knock knees and bow legs)
Osgood-Schlatter disease is a generally benign, self-limited knee condition most commonly found in rapidly growing and athletically active adolescents. (Osgood-Schlatter disease)
The good news is that almost all patients respond well to nonoperative treatments that include rest, icing, activity modification and rehabilitation exercises. (Osgood Schlatter syndrome)
I suffered with Osgood-Schlatter’s when I was young. I was very active and it was definitely difficult for me to slow down. Fortunately, proper shoes, orthotics, and chiropractic care helped me stay in the game despite having Osgood-Schlatter’s. – Dr. Callum Peever
Add antioxidants to Your Diet
Antioxidants are chemicals in foods that scavenge and destroy disease causing free radical chemicals. (Effect of antioxidants on knee cartilage and bone in healthy, middle-aged subjects: a cross-sectional study)
Good food matters to your health, even for the health of your knees!
Seek Out Supplements
Supplements are another way to stave off knee pain associated with or osteoarthritis. Organic sulfurs like MSM and DMSO may be effective for pain relief and prevention. (Sulfur in human nutrition and applications in medicine)
Glucosamine and chondroitin are other products that may be effective for those with moderate to severe pain not caused by osterarthritis. (Calcium plus Vitamin D Supplementation and the Risk of Fractures)
Remember to consult health experts such as your Chiropractor and Naturopathic Doctor when developing strategies to enhance your health. Discussion with your Medical Doctor to avoid any negative interactions with any disease you may be suffering is also a great idea.
Exercise is also vital to maintaining healthy bones and knees. Even impact sports, which are often thought to cause knee pain, may actually prevent knee osteoarthritis as long as training is not done to excess. (Does Long-Distance Running Cause Osteoarthritis?)
You need to listen to your body!
While training it is important to have regular Chiropractic checkups to look out for any potential pitfalls and bad body mechanics that you may be creating. Through the Activator Methods Technique analysis, I am not only able to deliver a great chiropractic adjustment, but it allows me to get a snap shot of the patient’s body mechanics – the goods and bads that can give a patient insight into their training and what to modify and to focus on.
Regular chiropractic appointments keep the body in top shape, enabling patients to stick to fitness routines, which prevent not only knee injuries but also a plethora of other ailments.
Caring For Knee Injuries
If knee injury does strike, immediately follow emergency care (RICE is a common acronym) protocol and call the office to schedule an appointment.
R = Rest the knee from the painful injury.
I = Ice the affected area for 20 minutes three times a day.
C = Compress the painful area with an elastic bandage.
E = Elevate the leg.
Beware of medications used to relieve knee pain, which can do more harm than good.
Injections of lidocaine (cortisone) for instance, accelerate degenerative changes in turn leading to osteoarthritis. (Increased joint loads during walking – A consequence of pain relief in knee osteoarthritis)
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are linked with intestinal disorders and some chronic conditions.
Studies have also shown that reducing the inflammation in a knee joint with NSAID’s (Tylenol/Advil etc.) can reduce the healing ability of the joint and impact future function! This is because the inflammation is actually the body’s healing mechanism. Unfortunately inflammation also hurts… So support your body naturally from a chiropractic approach as opposed stopping/stalling your body’s healthy attempts.