In my last blog post, I explained how one of the common reasons people get off track from their New Year’s resolution is due to injury. I also highlighted that many of these injuries are, in fact, PREVENTABLE! They are preventable because everyone has muscle imbalances that are tell-tale signs of what injuries they will likely develop. So, how would a physiotherapist figure out what these muscle imbalances are?
The answer is relatively simple… we look at how you move. There are a few key movements that everyone needs to be able to do. Take for example the movement of doing a squat. Looks easy right? Well, you’d be surprised, it’s actually quite a complex motion as there are movements occurring at multiple joints. The ankles, knees, and hips all have to bend during the descent of the squat and then extend during the ascent. All the while, the lower back needs to remain in a relatively neutral position. Most people I assess have at least one or two parts of their squatting motion that are incorrect. These incorrect parts then point to the source of your imbalance.
But you ask, “I never do squats so what do I care if I don’t do it perfectly?” But you like to run right? Or maybe you like hiking instead? Well, do you need to use your knees to hike? (All should be nodding there head by this point) Well, let’s go back to that squat example above and address the most common problem I see with it, a problem I have dealt with myself personally. Take a look at the following video by clicking below:
See any differences between sides? How does that right knee look to you? Seems to be coming in towards the middle a bit more than the other one doesn’t it? Is this a problem? Well, it might not be at this point, but let’s say your new year’s resolution is to take up running. After about a month of running you’ll probably start to get a nagging pain in your knee that is only going to get worse with more running.
How can I be convinced of this? Well, this is where the muscle imbalance part comes in. The right knee moves inwards because some of the deeper muscles in your right hip are not strong enough to keep your upper leg from moving that way. So, if you start running and repetitively keep letting the knee do this every time you take a stride then guess what… it’ll bug your knee! The knee doesn’t like it because it will put an extra stretch on some structures on the inside of your knee – things like your meniscus and your MCL to name a few.
So, fix this muscle imbalance before it leads to pain and you won’t have to stop running! Want to see how I would treat this problem? Then, read my next blog, coming out next week!
Patrick Jadan, Co-Owner of South Cowichan Physiotherapy
Want to learn more about how he can help you?
Then check out his bio at: http://scphysio.v3client.com/about-us/patrick-jadan/